Extreme Meteorologist Comes to Naperville

A popular storm chaser showed high school students how he uses technology when grappling with Mother Nature.

Discovery Channel’s Reed Timmer recently came to Naperville Central High School to present the science of extreme storm chasing. He talked about how science, technology, engineering and math play into his life-threatening career, hoping to inspire the next generation.

“It’s a very important time in middle school and high school when kids need to get inspired by science,” said Timmer. “That could lead to a career where they could advance their field and you never know, it could be one of the students here at Naperville that could uncover some of the mysteries behind tornados.”

During peak tornado season in the Spring, Timmer travels at least 50,000 miles around the country every year, tracking down twisters. Armored vehicles protect his team from the elements and make it possible to capture video from inside a tornado. Then they collect data such as wind speed and direction in order to better understand the devastating phenomenon and to engineer more durable houses.

“I just thought it was pretty astounding,” said Jon Walters, a Junior at Naperville Central High School. “They must be pretty gutsy to go out there and do that.”

“I thought it was awesome and really well put together,” added Autumn Muckenheirn. “When he was showing us the videos and whatnot, I think it really drew in the audience.”

Timmer has documented more than 200 tornados on video since beginning his career. This year gave him plenty of opportunity, as it was the worst tornado season since 1936 and April had nearly 900 twisters, the most ever for any month in the United States.

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