Reed Timmer Extreme Meteorologist’s Tornado-Mobile Looks Like It Came Out Of the Mad Max Universe - SUV VEHICLE

Reed Timmer Extreme Meteorologist’s Tornado-Mobile Looks Like It Came Out Of the Mad Max Universe

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Summary

  • Reed Timmer chases tornados using custom Dominator vehicles for intense footage.
  • The heavily modified Ford Super Duty is equipped with armor and gullwing doors.
  • Dominator 3 resists lift with skirts and spikes, while carrying a rocket launcher for data.



If you’ve always been fascinated by natural disasters such as blizzards, hurricanes and tornados, and find yourself watching the movie Twister on repeat too often, then I highly suggest you start following Reed Timmer Extreme Meteorologist on your social platforms or on YouTube.

The man’s made a reputation for chasing Mother Nature’s most extreme weather events, all in the name of science and research. His specialty, though, is tornado chasing, where he grabs live footage allowing us, viewers, to experience what it’s like to be close and even inside some of planet Earth’s largest tornados.

That’s right, inside. How does Reed do it? Using his custom-made Dominator tornado intercept vehicles that allow him to resist even the gnarliest flying debris. His latest creation, the Dominator 3, is the stuff of nightmares.


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Dominator 3 Is A Heavily Modified Ford Super Duty Pickup Truck

Reed Timmer's Dominator 3 Tornado Tank 009
Reed Timmer’s YouTube channel

Tornado intercept vehicles are nothing new. They’ve been conceptualized by storm chasers for over two decades now. If you ever watched the documentary TV series Storm Chasers, you’re probably familiar with the TV1 and TV2 tornado-challenging machines.

Reed Timmer’s setup is, however, a much more Skunk Works affair as it appears to have been put together with considerably less budget by a couple of dudes inside a private garage. Yet, it still has everything you’ll need to survive a tough twister.

The rig itself is basically a heavily modified Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup truck powered by the 6.7-liter Powerstroke turbodiesel V8. The bed has been removed, giving it that odd short wheelbase appearance.


Reed’s team then reinforced the truck with an extra-thick, high-strength steel shield and a highly resistant, bulletproof kevlar coating to ensure it doesn’t get bruised by, you know, a flying tree or something. Dual-glass roll-down windows and a polycarbonate windshield help seal this bad boy shut.

You may wonder why the Dominator 3 has gullwing doors. These came from experience with Dominator 2’s standard hinged doors. Due to the thick reinforced steel armor, when the rear doors were open, it was impossible to get the front ones shut.


During panic situations when the team needed to GTFO, those doors proved too clumsy, problematic and not exactly safe. The gullwing setup therefore frees up all door areas, giving the team a lot more freedom of movement during stressful moments.

Lift Resistant Skirt And Spikes To Keep It Locked In

Reed Timmer's Dominator 3 Tornado Tank 005
Reed Timmer’s YouTube channel.

In order to resist a tornado’s intense winds, Reed’s team engineered a wind skirt that stretches all the way down to the bottom of the tank. When driving around, that skirt is slightly lifted to avoid snagging it against obstacles. Once parked, a hydraulic system lowers it to ground level, preventing any air from flowing underneath the rig, preventing lift.

For added measure, Dominator 3 is also equipped with spikes to lock it in place on the ground. This, according to Reed, ensures that the entire team can monitor the storm in real time without fear of flipping over.


Reed Timmer's Dominator 3 Tornado Tank 006
Reed Timmer’s YouTube channel.

What are the benefits of a tornado-mobile, you ask? Reed explains that in the past, they tried installing still probes on the ground to capture the tornado’s characteristics. The problem with a still object is that if the tornado suddenly decides to change its path at the last minute – which they tennd to do a lot – that probe basically recorded no data at all.

Reed’s team therefore decided to create a moving probe out of a truck, allowing them to follow the tornado’s unpredictable path in real time, all while capturing what he calls “valuable high-definition content”.


Reed Timmer's Dominator 3 Tornado Tank Rockets
Reed Timmer’s YouTube channel.

Finally, Dominator 3 is equipped with a rocket launcher. Yes, a rocket launcher! Tiny rockets with incorporated sensors and parachutes are launched inside the tornado to record its internals, as well as a whole set of important data such as temperature, speed and everything else required to adequately understand these monsters.

Tornado season is just around the corner in the US Midwest. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of footage Reed and his team will grab using this Mad Max-inspired contraption.

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