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That time when Reed Timmer came to North Dakota. (It wasn't my first tornado week.)

I’m sure Reed Timmer is a nice guy, but when you see him and his Dominator vehicle in your town, it’s not a happy thing. It means the weather is about to get ugly and people are going to be hoping for exciting storm footage even though that comes at the expense of those who have property in the path of the storm.

Quite happily this time (at least) it wasn’t a worst-case scenario, a small miracle considering the crazy tornado season the U.S. is having.

Nevertheless, there was that time I was caught up in the tragic story of an indoor tornado.

It was April 30, 2013 (or thereabouts).

To celebrate Tornado Week—because if sharks get their own week why not—The Weather Channel decided to treat their interns to some in-office winds. This was not a natural tornado, but a Tweet-powered one.

Yes, this was back when I had a Twitter account. And worked for a startup. Both are necessary ingredients for using your time unwisely.

Every time people tweeted with the hashtag #TornadoWeek, they would increase the fans and wind in the office where The Weather Channel interns were working. Not only that, but they were broadcasting the fiasco live on the internet for the world to see. It was hilarious.

weather channel youtube page

They were also displaying some of the funny things people were tweeting at them.

I don’t recall getting a lot of work done, but I did spend significant time eating up bandwidth to keep that feed going, watching those interns drag in massive fan after fan, papers flying everywhere.

“They brought in another fan!” I’d yell when enough tweets had pushed the indoor storm up a level. Someone would flip it on, papers would go flying, and the interns would chase the paper to try to bring order even though it was impossible. I would frantically tweet the hashtag some more, watching their attempts to work and keep a straight face. They were such good sports.

I made several drawings, including Angryman Cartoon® in the same situation. They asked if they could use it.

cartoon of windy day in office

Absolutely he could use it for his cover photo. He’d provided hours of fun (and very little work); it was the least I could do.

facebook cover image

Though I didn’t grab a screenshot of it, at one point they printed out another cartoon I’d drawn, and hung it on their set. It was one of cows and critters flying through the air, reminiscent of the line from the movie Twister “we got cows!”

And speaking of movies, this is coming out in a week or two:

When the first movie came out, there were several very exciting things:

  1. The movie itself, with its almost living tornadoes that seemed to growl and breathe like animals.

  2. The introduction of the new Dodge Ram trucks with those incredibly powerful-looking sexy front ends that we are so used to seeing now but were new then.

Two actors from that movie have since died (Bill Pullman and Phillip Seymour Hoffman), and what I thought was a really fun ride at Universal Studios Florida (though probably too tame for today’s thrill seekers) is now gone.

And, after being completely terrified after going through an early-morning derecho on Father’s Day 2005, back at the farm, seeing the dining room plate glass picture window look like we were in a submarine and emerging from the house to find barns, trees, and part of the town elevator destroyed, I have a thorough terror of severe summer storms.

He’s a nice fellow, I’m sure, but I was glad when Reed Timmer headed to Nebraska and left the state.


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