Discovery's "Storm Chasers" with Timmer airs tonight
Discovery Channel's docu-drama Storm Chasers kicks off its fourth season tonight at 10 p.m. ET. The Capital Weather Gang and readers submitted questions to "extreme chaser" and program star Reed Timmer. Timmer responds...
Capital Weather Gang (CWG): What training did you need to become a storm chaser?
Reed Timmer: Well a love and passion for weather is first and foremost. I've also been studying meteorology my entire life and I'm close to completing my Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma. To become a great storm chaser you really can't go wrong with some extensive study in the field.
CWG: What websites or tools do you use to pinpoint potential storm/tornadoes?
Timmer: Twisterdata.com is an awesome resource!
CWG: I want a storm chasing experience. How do I do it and do it safely?
CWG: What are some of the key questions about tornadoes that chasing investigations can help answer?
Timmer: Besides our love for weather, we ultimately want to save lives. The data we are collecting will hopefully allow engineers to construct more sound structures to prevent massive damage and we hope to create an effective warning system which will warn residents if a tornado is about to hit their area.
CWG: Can you comment on the VORTEX 2 project? I know your team wasn't involved but you definitely have some insight to the personalities on the team. In your opinion, was the VORTEX 2 project a successfully run operation?
Timmer: VORTEX 2 has a large group of people so when there are that many individuals coordination is going to be your biggest challenge. An example of that is on May 22 which was a perfect opportunity for chasing that wasn't capitalized on. The funding for supreme storm chasing is certainly there. Hopefully there will be a bit more success on their end at some point soon.
CWG: Also, can you comment on the "Chaser Convergence" issue that took place in Oklahoma in late May. In general, there was a lot of controversy surrounding bad driving behaviors (including the Discovery crew) that prevented the researchers from getting into position. What's your take on all this?
Timmer: I was in Mississippi at that time so I actually wasn't there. Team TVN was getting the radar and cannons upgraded for the Dominator [the team's storm chase vehicle]. Generally when Team TVN chases there isn't a crowd and scenarios like chaser convergence doesn't happen.
CWG: What can we look forward to in Storm Chasers 4th season, and why should we watch?
Timmer: This season is our best yet. ... [W]e saw more storms than any other year. The drama between the teams is just as intense as the storms we see out in the field. Episode one shows us the first on the scene at Yazoo City, Mississippi where the damage was so extreme and the entire area was completely devastated. We were the ones that actually called in the report to emergency services in order to alert the area that a major storm was on its way.