Hundreds of real-life storm chasers paid tribute to the late Bill Paxton on Sunday, February 26, hours after news broke that he died at the age of 61.
The chasers spelled out the actor’s initials “BP” using GPS coordinates on a map across the “tornado alley” in Kansas and Oklahoma. The “tornado alley” boundaries are not clearly defined, but it does spread across 19 states.
The nod to Paxton, who starred opposite Helen Hunt in the 1996 drama Twister, was coordinated by Spotter Network. According to John Wetter, who works with the National Weather Service, storm chasers have never spelled out the initials of a non–storm chaser before.
“There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of meteorologists today — myself included — who were impacted by the movie Twister and the role Bill played in that,” Wetter told the Associated Press. “Twister was kind of the first time in a mass media place the meteorologist became cool, if only for a little while.”
As previously reported, Paxton passed away on Saturday following complications from heart surgery. “A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker,” his rep told Us Weekly in a statement. “Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”