Storm chaser to share wild rides

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Nov. 10, 2012 at 5:10 a.m.
Updated Nov. 12, 2012 at 5:12 a.m.

Time does not stop for storm chaser Reed Timmer.

The professional storm chaser makes his living by watching weather patterns and keeping his foot on his car's gas pedal for hours at a time.

"We have teams all over the world that stream extreme weather," Timmer said. "It's a good warning tool, so people can see what's happening in their area, instead of listening for it on the radio."

The daredevil metrologist arrives at the Victoria Fine Arts Center on Thursday, as part Victoria College's Lyceum lecture series.

In a phone interview, as he helps one of his 30 storm chasing crews set up a mobile connection from Canada, Timmer jokes about the Mayan apocalypse prediction.

"I don't think it's the end of the world or anything," Timmer said. "We've just had a lot of crazy weather recently."

Frankenstorm, or Hurricane Sandy, which swept through the coast about two weeks ago, was described by many as the perfect storm.

"It certainly was a once-and-a-century type storm," Timmer said. "It was a weather anomaly."

The legendary storm chaser packed his equipment and headed east with his crew to document the storm from the blizzard's perspective.

"The blizzard section was largely uncovered," Timmer said. "At one point lightning illuminated the whole sky, it was creepy."

Footage from his crew's cold journey will be shown at his lecture on Thursday, Timmer said.

"I'll share the science, wind speed measurements, and talk about how we used technology and math," Timmer said. "Right now we're trying to get 3-D X-rays by shooting measurement projectiles into a storm."

For four years Timmer was the co-star of the Discovery Channel show, "Storm Chasers."

In the show Timmer consistently beat his reality television show rival, Sean Casey, to the storms.

"I'm sure he's beat me to a couple before," Timmer said. "We get along here and there, he's a good guy."

Casey premiered his long-awaited documentary, "Tornado Alley," on March 10, 2011 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

"I think my invite got lost in the mail," Timmer said.

The news of the reality show's cancellation came in January.

"The show was a great experience but it was nice to take a break," Timmer said. "Discovery made it possible for us to do the science."

Now Timmer and his crew feed their footage through their own website,

"We started streaming in 2006, but data networks have gotten so much better since," Timmer said. "We were trapped in a parking lot for three days streaming Hurricane Isaac."

The online media-savvy scientist said he believes the future of storm entertainment lies in web.

"We decided to take the opportunity to grow our web presence," Timmer said.

"The future is the merger between television and the Internet."



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