Dr. Reed Timmer is an extreme meteorologist and storm chaser who specializes in intercepting the most powerful storms on the planet to collect valuable scientific data.
Graduating with a PhD in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma, Timmer is not only a hardcore storm chaser, but also a scientist driven to unravel the mysteries behind these destructive storms and how they are changing over time. With a life devoted completely to storm chasing and extreme field research, Dr. Timmer has intercepted nearly 1000 tornadoes and dozens of hurricanes over the last few decades and is one of the few people in history to document both an EF5 tornado and Category 5 hurricane. He considers the up-close chasing of tornadoes an artform that is perfected over decades of experience. The famous, tank-like storm chasing vehicles, called the Dominators, were invented by Timmer in 2009 for the purpose of recording data inside these most dangerous storms.
Still in full operation today, the Dominators are outfitted with state-of-the-art meteorological sensors, and protected by an aerodynamic, armored outer shell that can anchor to the ground with hydraulic spikes. Reed has pioneered delivery mechanisms for deployment of sensors into tornadoes and hurricanes, such as ground-based probes, drones, balloons and even model rockets.
Timmer’s most memorable storm chases include the intercept of a strong tornado in southern Nebraska with Dominator 1 on June 17, 2009, with on-board sensors and mobile radar measuring a 140 mph wind gust from inside the vortex; and last year, when a trackable sensor was launched by model rocket into a mile-wide EF4 tornado in eastern Kansas using the roof-mounted rocket launcher of Dominator 3. The sensor as attached to a parachute, was lofted up to 39,000 feet by the EF4 tornado at speeds of up to 190 mph, while recording unprecedented high-resolution (10 Hz) meteorological data throughout the 30-mile journey inside the vortex. Notable hurricane intercepts over the last 20 years include Hurricane Katrina in Slidell, LA, Rita in Orange, TX; and category 5 Hurricane Michael in October 2019.
In addition to field science, Dr. Timmer also provides life-saving reports and content while storm chasing through both traditional and social media platforms. Presently, he is storm chasing for the National Geographic Channel and the RadarOmega application.
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