KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Notable meteorologist and storm chaser Reed Timmer is in Kansas City Tuesday evening to talk about being eye-to-eye with twisters.
While Timmer will be speaking at Wednesday's "School Day at the K," he's also speaking out about friends killed in the most recent tornado in Oklahoma -- and how serious storm chasers need to take these storms.
"The big mystery of tornado science is what the wind speeds are right near the ground and that's why we built these vehicles, so we can get close to the tornado."
Those vehicles -- what he dubs the "Dominator" -- are 8,500 pounds of steel, built to get close enough to monster tornadoes.
The armored tank, and the team behind it with tornadovideos.net, are in Kansas City talking about an issue that's generating a lot of debate in the chasing community.
"Generally, it's safe. It's a very safe venture, but it is trending toward being more dangerous. It seems like people getting close to tornadoes and driving into circulations."
At the end of May, Timmer's good friend, scientist and chaser Tim Samaras, who has a reputation for being very conservative, got a little too close to the El Reno, Okla., tornado.
Samaras, his son Paul and chasing partner Carl Young died. But Timmer said he left beind some very important information.
"They're heroes. I mean, they went down measuring data that no one was able to collect and that hopefully will save countless lives in the future."
Timmer said even though just three storm chasers have died directly from chasing in the 40 years or so years of the industry, if you're not trained, don't do it.
"For storm chaser safety, don't go out there and try to get that extreme video. It's not worth the $300. Trust me, it's just not worth it."
And Timmer hopes it serves as a reminder to everyone.
"They [tornadoes] need to be respected because they're deadly and if you don't know what you're doing and don't know storm structure, you can easily lose your life."