Reed Timmer survives wild close-up encounter with powerhouse tornado in Nebraska By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer What's it like to be inside a tornado as it's forming? Few people, if any, have experienced such a sensation, but Reed Timmer is now one who has -- and lived to talk about it after an extraordinary up-close encounter with a tornado on Friday evening. Timmer started off on Friday with the goal of intercepting a tornado in his Dominator 3 vehicle, and by 6 p.m. CDT, he was staring a tornado in the face just west of McCook, Nebraska, amid a rapidly developing vortex.. "I was unable to get back to the vehicle and couldn't see it, so I just turned my back to the wind and hoped for the best until it passed," Timmer said. A wall of dust and debris kicked up by the tornado that landed on Reed Timmer on Friday afternoon near McCook, Nebraska. As the twister bore down, Timmer could barely see more than a few feet away due to the amount of dirt, dust and debris whipping around. Amid the whirlwind, Timmer's hat went flying off his head and became part of the tornado. “ just intercepted the tornado on foot,” Timmer yelled after the twister had passed overhead. Timmer was left covered in dirt, as was the inside of his Dominator 3 vehicle, from the doors being left open as the tornado blew through. A photo of a dirt-covered Reed Timmer after he was hit by a tornado on Friday afternoon west of McCook, Nebraska. This was one of the biggest days for severe weather in the central U.S. so far this year, and Mother Nature shows no signs of stopping. "Tornado Alley is certainly waking up with significant severe weather," Timmer said on Thursday while commenting on the impending outbreak of storms. Little did he know, a tornado was going to wake up right on him. Timmer, who holds a Ph. D. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma, is no stranger to close encounters with big tornadoes. Three years ago, Timmer captured spectacular close-up footage of an enormous EF2 tornado swirling in Wray, Colorado. The footage of the monster twister proved to be a sensation online, going viral and sparking awe-inspired headlines by many news sites. YouTube video of the tornado has amassed nearly 30 million views since it was posted three years ago. In the past, he has acknowledged the inherent risk of what he and other storm chasers do. "Life is incredibly fragile," Timmer remarked recently, adding, "and I hope storm chasers continue to work hard to practice their hobby safely during this storm season and beyond."