Rick Toracinta, Polar Researcher and Severe Weather Enthusiast, passes away

Dr. Rick Toracinta passed away Tuesday, November 22 at his home in Columbus, Ohio. Rick had lived in Columbus for the past five years, working as a research scientist for the Polar Meteorology Group at The Ohio State University's Byrd Polar Research Center where he performed numerical modeling of the meteorological conditions at the onset of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, the last major glaciation that covered most of Canada and the northern U.S. about 20,000 years ago.

Rick was a very active member in his community. He volunteered his time each Wednesday for the past several years to deliver hot meals to the elderly through the Meals-on-Wheels program. He also raised funds for programs such as the Lance Armstrong Foundation for those afflicted with cancer.

Rick was an avid cyclist, frequently riding his bike to work even on days with poor weather. There is no doubt that his biggest meteorological passion was severe weather. Rick was frequently asked to lecture to meteorology courses at OSU about thunderstorms and tornadoes. Each year he would spend his vacation guiding severe weather tours on the Great Plains for groups of less-experienced weather enthusiasts who shared his passion.

Rick was a unique person that pursued all aspects of his life with zeal and dedication. He was patient and selfless, willing to go out of his way to help others. Those of us who were colleagues of Rick's will greatly miss him.