KIRKWOOD, MO. (KPLR) - Reed Timmer is one of the best known storm chasers around and he ended up in St. Louis ahead of our winter storm.
"I couldn't have planned it better timing wise in terms of being a storm chaser," said Timmer. "I want to be ahead of the storm."
Timmer's reason for coming to St. Louis was to speak at St. Louis Community College at Meramec Wednesday night. Students from the college's Sky Club extended the invitation. The club is made up of students interested in meteorology and astronomy.
Timmer said his career started before it was a career.
"I unofficially started storm chasing in 1996 when I got my driver's license," said Timmer. "My mom didn't know about it."
Timmer grew up in Michigan and started chasing lake effect snow squalls whenever he could. He moved to Oklahoma to study meteorology and get at first hand look at tornados.
You can see some of his work through TVN Weather.
Timmer uses an armored vehicle to stay safe and record date at the same time. The vehicle is called a Dominator. A new and improved Dominator #3 is like a custom tornado car.
"With the armored vehicles we can safely get up close and measure data that other people can't safely collect or aren't willing to collect," explained Timmer.
One of the big mysteries he hopes to unlock is learning more about wind speed on the ground when a tornado hits the surface. It's difficult to measure safely.
"Our goal is to take that data and provide it to the structural engineers and other scientists and just try to better understand the complex dynamics of tornados," Timmer said.
Timmer is also an author. His book is available on-line.
Proceeds from Timmer`s visit to St. Louis will benefit the head start program of the YWCA.