GREENVILLE — When Reed Timmer drives straight toward a tornado, he is after the thrill of the chase and the science of weather.
The vehicle he drives isn’t your average street car. It’s a custom-built armored car, dubbed Dominator 2, armed with the latest weather sensing gadgets.
Timmer, a West Michigan native, is bringing his one-of-a-kind storm chasing to O’Connor’s Shoes, 120 S. Lafayette St. in downtown Greenville, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The public is invited to check out his four-ton storm chasing mobile and talk about the exhilarating work Timmer does chasing tornadoes.
Timmer and the Dominator 2 are the stars of the Discovery Channel’s “Storm Chasers” TV series, launched in 2007. He has captured hundreds of hours of extreme weather conditions on video for the show.
“I love storm chasing, and have been doing it since I was old enough to operate a video camera,” Timmer said. “As a kid, I used to run outside to witness the giant thunderstorms rolling into West Michigan and would try to get it on film. It’s always very thrilling. The weather is so unpredictable and has so many variables, that there’s always something new to learn.”
Timmer currently is living in Norman, Okla., where he is pursuing his doctorate degree in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. Through his studies, he hopes to break down some of the mystery behind extreme weather systems.
“My goal is to learn as much as I possibly can about tornadoes and how they develop by capturing actual data during the storm, some of which could ultimately help engineers design safer structures that can better-withstand tornadic winds,” Timmer said.
Dominator 2 captures and records all kinds of data with its new probe-launching system. It can even capture high definition video from inside the funnel of a tornado.
“I’m fortunate that I have been able to turn my interest in the weather into an exciting career and very meaningful work,” Timmer said.
Click here to read more about Timmer and his storm chasing: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/storm-chasers/teams/reed-timmer.html