Storm Chasers 2009 Entertainment or Science

“Storm Chasers” is a reality television series that premiered on The Discovery channel in 2007. Set in “Tornado Alley” in the  United States, the show has captured the hearts and minds of anyone who was fascinated by the 1996 film “Twister”, or who has experienced life in the region.  The series follows several teams of professional storm chasers who have differing techniques, goals, and motivations. Sean Casey teamed with the world class atmospheric scientist, Joshua Wurman, to make the 2007 and 2008 series.

The 2009 series filmed during tornado season in the late Spring and early Summer, following a filmmaker who had an obsession of sitting under a tornado and filming up inside of it for his work in large screen HDTV format films.

Sean Casey, Byron Turk, and Ronan P. Nagle are the leaders of the Tornado Intercept Vehicle, or “TIV” team. Sean Casey is a naturalist and feature film director who specializes in IMAX format documentaries about tornadoes and other natural phenomena. He produced  “Forces of Nature” in 2003, with most of the film devoted to tornadoes. Ronan is the executive producer of the 2009 season of “Storm Chasers”. Joshua Wurman developed the “Doppler On Wheels” Technology to collect storm data that could lead to better tornado warning systems, and has worked with Sean Casey from the beginning of the series.

The TIV team operates with a special vehicle that created much entertainment, as it was notorious for breaking down in past seasons. But the science behind the revolutionary design allowed the team to safely withstand high winds in a heavily armored vehicle that could anchor itself to the ground.

Another team is lead by Reid Timmer, a charismatic and somewhat risk taking young PhD student who somehow manages to catch tornadoes when everyone else is in entirely the wrong place, especially Sean Casey, who gets completely frustrated at running into Reid.  This year, Reid dominated history by using a model airplane to release probes that entered a tornado and stayed inside the tornado for ten miles. Tim worked with the “SRV Dominator”, a vehicle that was built to provide protection for teams who would not sit in tornadoes, but get as close as possible in order to gather data.

Team Twistex is a lot more conventional in their approach, but managed to make incredible accomplishments in getting close enough to tornadoes to actually release probes, use ground level Doppler radar, and to collect critical data that will better inform the scientists who want desperately to improve the tornado warning systems.

As a result, “Storm Chasers” has it all, education, scientific breakthroughs, and sometimes harrowing and heartbreaking tales of tornadoes, their impact on human lives, and of the heroes who cannot get enough of chasing down those meteorological monsters!

Wikipedia Basics

SRV Dominator