Storm chaser Reed Timmer’s drone footage of Utah flooding

Reed Timmer storm chaser drones utah flooding

If there’s a significant storm pretty much anywhere, you can bet Storm Chasers are on the case. One of the best-known is American Reed Timmer, a meteorologist who starred in the Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers. Reed is still chasing, gathering data and video, and experiencing the immense power nature can unleash. His latest posts include drone footage of recent flooding in Utah.

I once had the opportunity, while working at the Toronto Star, to accompany storm chasers on a trip to Tornado Alley in the American Midwest. I spent a week with them, getting up at or before dawn, watching them crack open their laptops, and start predicting – with the help of weather modeling software – where the most likely spots would be for a supercell, immense rotating storms that can spin off a tornado.

And while some people consider storm chasers adrenaline junkies (and there certainly was adrenaline some days), most of them are first and foremost weather experts who love to experience and capture intense weather events. Many – if not most – are part of storm-spotting networks, relaying valuable information to weather authorities that can actually save lives.

And Reed Timmer? He’s at the top of the heap.

Drones, rockets and more

As a meteorologist, Timmer is interested in the science behind the storms. As a result, he’s fired small rockets into tornadoes to capture data, and has a drone in his toolkit. He’s also known for a series of vehicles called the Dominator – heavily reinforced and designed to withstand hail, debris, and extreme winds.

Just one in a series of “Dominator” vehicles designed by Timmer. Image by Hydrargyrum; CC BY-SA 3.0

Storm chaser Reed Timmer uses drone to capture Utah flooding

With that background, we’ll get to the video. Timmer used a drone (brand not disclosed) to follow as flash floods began coursing through parts of Utah following some 3 inches of rain. The video also documents a “debris plug” in the coursing water, which we assume means a pile of debris interfering with the natural course of the water.

The video’s pretty interesting; if you’re into weather, you’ll appreciate how quickly this flash flood grows:

Wait, there’s more!

While perusing Reed’s @ReedTimmerAccu account, we came across a pretty dramatic RT from a different location in Utah, but presumably triggered by the same intense rainfall:

DroneDJ’s Take

Storm chasers are a unique breed. They generally know a ton about how weather works, and a lot of the chasers we know hold degrees in meteorology (hello, @StormhunterTWN!). Increasingly, many of them are carrying drones with them (along with a ton of weather-related sensors) during their chases.

If the idea of storm chasing appeals to you, get connected with some experienced chasers before running off in your car. This passion is not without risk, and even some highly experienced chasers have died while chasing storms. Walk before you can run.

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