Forty-eight lives were lost on May 3, 1999 in the Moore, Oklahoma F-5 Tornado. Reed Timmer was less than a quarter mile from the beast, filming the whole thing. It wasn’t his first storm chase and certainly would not be his last. Since then, Timmer has chased more than 1000 tornadoes and hurricanes, becoming one of the world’s leading experts on severe weather forecasting, research, and safety.
For Dr. Timmer, it’s more than just experiencing extreme storms. Reed launched Extreme Tornado Tours in 2007, offering weather enthusiasts from across the world the opportunity to safely experience the most extreme weather on the planet from custom vans with bullet-resistant windows. Timmer has also masterminded several online storm resources that have informed the public about life-threatening weather systems. His YouTube channel now has over half a million subscribers and serves that purpose while sharing extreme content to be marveled and enjoyed.
For Timmer, the ultimate goal is to better understand the complex dynamics behind tornadoes and other extreme storms so safer and stronger structures can be designed to withstand their destructive power. When he’s not chasing storms, he can often be found in university lecture halls and civic auditoriums speaking on severe weather preparedness and the science of extreme storm chasing, or researching the seasonal climatology of severe weather and its teleconnections with the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and Gulf of Mexico.