Nobody wants to be close to a tornado. Actually, scrap that, because it seems quite a few people are willing to put their lives on the line to document what’s going on inside the potentially very dangerous eye of the storm so that smart people can better predict future weather events.
Some of you might remember an ill-fated TV series called Storm Chasers, where the protagonists did exactly what the title said: chase storms. And as you might expect, there was a vehicle involved to help the brave meteorologists survive their perilous journeys.
One of the vehicles that appeared on the show was called the SRV Dominator (SRV stands for Storm Research Vehicle) and had three generations, with the latest one – Dominator 3 – taking shape in 2013 on the bones of a 2013 Ford Super Duty, including the diesel V8 powerplant, four-wheel drive with locking rear differential, and automatic transmission.
But while the TV series got cancelled in 2012, the vehicle lived on in the hands of storm chaser Reed Timmer, who didn’t stop pursuing his passion for severe weather, as the video embedded above clearly shows.
Titled “BEST Tornado Intercept in History,” the 8-minute long video production documents how the so-called Team Dominator managed to get inside the Spalding, Nebraska tornado about a week ago, intercepting it with the help of the Dominator 3.
The four-person team chased the storm for quite a bit of time before going on a piece of road where the tornado was about to cross. With its 16-gauge steel body, polycarbonate shatter-proof windows, and aftermarket air suspension capable of lowering the body very close to the ground, the Dominator 3 protected everybody inside and kept them safe during the adrenaline-filled seconds when the storm crossed over.
Towards the end of the video, the Dominator’s cool gullwing doors can be seen wide open, as well as the Super Duty’s original headlights hidden under a protective cover. The vehicle’s stock interior can also be seen at one point in the video.
Nobody got hurt and the team led by Reed Timmer managed to collect important data that will help meteorologists better understand how tornadoes work.
Storm chasing isn’t for the faint of heart, as the data collected by the crew during this latest tornado intercept pointed to a maximum wind speed of over 140 miles per hour (225 kilometres per hour), which can only be described as brutal.