A Bat-Mobile on Steroids

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It takes a certain kind of person to drive headlong into a tornado and a certain kind of vehicle. Bob Redell hops inside the truck that's made for chasing tornadoes. (Published Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011)

    Nearly 80 people got to experience the wildest tornado storms from  the edge of their seats at San Jose's Tech Museum Tuesday morning.
        The museum screened "Tornado Alley," a new IMAX film by Sean  Casey, a filmmaker and professional storm chaser, and his colleague Marcus  Gutierrez.

        The film depicts the adventures of the duo as they spend months  chasing storms for scientific data across Tornado Alley, a group of  Midwestern states that stretches from South Dakota to Texas. The area is  known as the origin of some of the world's most violent tornadoes.     Casey, who also stars in the Discovery Channel's Storm Chaser  series, carries out his search in the Tornado Intercept Vehicle, a  17,500-pound custom-built armor-plated tank.
        The tank has wind-resistant flaps, anchor spikes, bullet-resistant  windows and can withstand winds up to 190 mph. The vehicle's military-style  turret allows Casey's crew to capture tornadoes from 360-degrees.
        "It's like the Batmobile on steroids," said Roqua Montez, a  spokesman for the museum.
        Casey and Gutierrez made an appearance at the museum Tuesday  morning to give guests a sneak peek of the new film and an opportunity for a  dozen people to ride the TIV. Casey talked about his work and the science and  technology behind understanding weather, patterns and safety issues during  violent storms.