"Storm Chasers" star comes to Victoria College (Video)
Nov. 15, 2012 at 5:15 a.m.
Updated Nov. 16, 2012 at 5:16 a.m.
A man known to local college students as "the modern day Indiana Jones" debuted riveting clips Thursday of his many trips down Tornado Alley.
Reed Timmer, the star of the Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers," was the second speaker of the Victoria College's Lyceum Lecture Series.
The metrologist described for about 100 people at the Victoria Independent School District's Fine Arts Center how he got his start at age 12 destroying the family's camera filming golf ball-sized hail.
And although his show was cancelled just a year ago, his love of all things science continues to grow. He just collected data about Frankenstorm, or Hurricane Sandy, and is still marveling at the recent tornado outbreak in Dixie Valley, an area he said where large trees get snapped like twigs and contribute to the storm cells' growth.
"I will always chase storms. I don't know anything else. I kind of have a limited skill set," Timmer said, jokingly.
He described to the crowd how one could be lured into a fall sense of security with the technology now available. While parked in the middle of a seemingly small tornado, a window blew out in his 7,000-pound, 16-gauge steel armored vehicle, the "Dominator."
That storm, he said, went from having winds of 8 mph to 138 mph in mere seconds.
"You begin to realize you're not in Kansas anymore," he said, adding the weirdest thing he's seen flying in a tornado's funnel was miniature donkeys.
Timmer hopes his work will help people finally understand why tornados destroy some homes but skip others. He and his crew are also now first aid and CPR trained.
"This definitely increases your respect for Mother Nature," Timmer said.
Lucrecia Hubbard loved the presentation.
"It's a pity they don't put him back on the Discovery Channel," she said.
Martin Kallus, also an avid fan, clamored to get his picture taken with Timmer.
"I was here during (Hurricane) Carla," Kallus said.
Kallus has seen every episode. His only hiatus from the show was while he served in the Marines.
"There's just something so powerful about bad weather. It fascinates me," he said.