What Dorothy Gale endured in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ doesn’t hold a candle to the deadly twisters that Discovery Channel’s ‘Storm Chasers’ met up with this past spring, which was one of the most violent storm seasons on record. Fancast invited Reed Timmer, Team TVN’s lead storm chaser, to share a glimpse at the serious drama swirling for Season 4 (premiering Wednesday at 10/9c), reveal the importance of buying bulk toilet paper, and field a few slightly silly questions.
Over three seasons, we’re inclined to think that you – and thus we – have seen it all. Prove us wrong. What sort of “WTF?!” moments are ahead?
Well, this season we really see how the impact of the storms affect real people. In the first episode it shows that we were the first responders on the scene at Yazoo City, Mississippi. This was a tragic tornado that affected so many people and we were able to save lives because we alerted the proper authorities immediately.
Will there be any specific instance where we might catch you thinking, “Maybe I shouldn’t have bought those green bananas?”
That’s pretty much every day on the road. Team TVN is all about bringing “nature” back to “nature,” so oftentimes we are in pretty rural areas chasing storms – and sometimes there isn’t always a clean and sanitary restroom available. That is why we buy our toilet paper in bulk, keep it in the back of the Dominator, our storm chasing vehicle, and when nature calls- we let it rip! Literally…
The movie ‘Twister’ of course raised the question of just how much can be learned from stormchasing. What have been the most recent advances in technology?
We have top-of-the-line radar on our stormchasing vehicle, as well as cannons which we just installed. When we intercept a tornado we deploy the cannons which then shoots probes into the tornado which then relays important data about weather patterns and pressure from inside. Some say it sounds like elephants mating when the cannons go off – and honestly, I agree.
Watch a preview of the ‘Storm Chasers’ Season 4 premiere, then read on:
What might we be surprised to know about The Dominator, your formidable transport into the madness? That it gets more than 10 mpg?
And it also is the largest mobile transport of Slim Jim beef jerky in the continental U.S. That’s Team TVN’s favorite snack. We have loads of it in the back.
And what’s your vehicle of choice off-screen? I don’t see you motoring around in a wimpy Honda Civic.
Actually, my first stormchasing vehicle was an old ’85 Reliant which is what I took out when I was 16, chasing my first hail storm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My mother wasn’t too worried because the muffler made so much noise neighbors often reported hearing it more than 10 miles in any direction when the car was mobile.
Have you ever caught up to a storm only to realize it was merely an atmospheric disturbance caused by a UFO?
Yes! But by then it was too late and the probing had already begun….
Have you ever accidentally chased ESPN reporter Hannah Storm?
We actually almost caught her once, but then she pulled a fast one on us, pointed in the other direction, and then dove into some bushes. But I am sure our paths will cross again. She sounds like the ideal life partner for me.
The ‘Storm Chasers’ have quite the fan base out there. What is a typical – or most unusual – request/question you’re hit with?
People really want to know how many times we have “almost” died. It is eerie when you think about it. I’m often times tasked with providing dates of my near-death experiences while chasing. I’ve got more than a dozen under my belt, which makes life insurance pretty impossible to secure.
Wrapping this up on a serious note, how has being a Storm Chaser changed your world view?
Not to sound cliché but stormchasing has afforded me the opportunity to see how great and beautiful this country truly is. There is nothing like driving on the open road in a kick-ass stormchasing tank equipped with bullet-proof glass and protective rhino lining!