• Safety Tips from a Storm Chaser

    FROM THE Spring 2014 ISSUE

    Weathering the storm with Reed Timmer.

As the host of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers, and creator of the popular web series Tornado Chasers, Reed Timmer has been interested in weather since his childhood fear of thunder and lightning turned into an engrossing curiosity. "I grew up a major science nerd; being a Science Olympiad was pretty much the highlight of my middle school,"

Timmer says, noting that he always wanted to be a storm chaser. "I would ask teachers how I could get a Doppler radar on my vehicle when I was 12 years old." Timmer’s curiosity took him to the University of Oklahoma, where he has studied meteorology for 15 years and recently earned his Ph.D. in seasonal climate prediction. A guest expert on Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper’s talk shows, and Good Morning America, Timmer gave Illinois Meetings + Events some exclusive tips on weathering the storm as you hit the road for a summer of meetings and events (and a vacation, if you’re lucky).


  • Be prepared! Get severe weather info before you hit the road. The Storm Prediction Center website has regularly updated weather outlooks.



  • Have a travel safety kit in your car. It should include food, batteries, heating packs, a prepaid cellphone that’s always charged (in case your regular phone dies), matches and water.


  • Get the latest apps. Apple and Android phones both have helpful weather apps you can access while on the road. Search "radar" in your network’s app store.


  • Radio is your friend. A charged NOAA weather radio is your best bet (they’re good for home, too); or at the very least, listen to local stations on your car stereo for updated warnings.


  • Have an escape route. If you dare venture out in risky weather, make sure you have a backup plan and know the area’s roadways to get around the storm.


  • Stop driving in hail. If you’re in a bad hailstorm, pull your vehicle over. If you continue driving, you’ll just add momentum to the storm and can blow out your windshield.


  • Don’t stop under an overpass. Strong winds can be funneled through narrow spaces, such as under the freeway, and can even accelerate its speed.


  • Stay in your car, unless you’re nearing a tornado. In most cases, you’re safest in your car. BUT if a tornado is bearing down, find the nearest ditch or low point and cover your head.


  • Don’t try to outrun the tornado. If the tornado is moving side to side, across your field of view, you’re in a safe position. Don’t try to outrun a tornado, as you don’t know how fast it’s moving, how close it is or if it will change direction.



Check out Timmer’s storm chasing videos at TVNweather. If you’re really brave, try one of his Extreme Tornado Tours.

IF YOU HEADED SOUTH FOR THE WINTER, consider heading north for the spring and summer. Just across state lines in Wisconsin are the lush 1,300-acre grounds of the AAA Four-Diamond Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. It’s now easier than ever to get there with a new chartered helicopter service out of Schaumburg, but that’s just the beginning of what awaits. Fly or drive, here’s 10 reasons why you should get to know this all-season resort.


WHEN IT COMES TO SPECIAL EVENTS—if it’s not documented, it’s like it never happened. Powerful photography and videography are often at the forefront of the agenda for planners. So we connected with Cara Nava of Carasco Photography to snap some key terms you should know.

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