GQ Magazine: David Yeomans explains what movies get right, wrong about weather — including ‘Twister’

Weather
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Meteorologist David Yeomans reports from Sabine Lake in Port Arthur (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Weather and Hollywood movies go hand-in-hand, but most of the big blockbusters go so grandiose with special effects and “creative liberties” with natural disasters, they often get the actual science behind weather completely wrong.

To help correct the motion picture industry’s ways when it comes to weather, GQ enlisted the help of someone you may know from a certain news station in Austin — KXAN Chief Meteorologist David Yeomans.

David partnered with the magazine’s digital division for its web series “The Breakdown,” and went in-depth and investigative on some of the biggest weather-centric movies out there.

The whole episode is 47 minutes long, so get the popcorn ready if you’re in this for the long haul.

Yeomans tackles the meteorological stylings of a bunch of movies. They are, in no particular order:

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Day After Tomorrow
  • The Crown
  • Only the Brave
  • Twister (his favorite)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • War of the Worlds
  • The Impossible
  • Dante’s Peak
  • Everest

While he explains why natural disaster scenes in these films aren’t realistic, he tips his hat to some of the scenes that are, for the most part, true to science.

‘Twister’ helped inspire David’s career

David said the special effects in Twister, the movie that helped inspire him to pursue in meteorology, hold up pretty well to what couple potentially happen in real life.

KXAN Chief Meteorologist David Yeomans

“This got a whole generation of people into the weather, including me,” he said in the piece. “There’s a very realistic tornado, some debris spinning around on the ground or whatever else is chewed up by the tornado, and the condensation funnel is basically the tornado itself.”

David said the movie’s premise holds up to the real world with the storm chasers following the storms and attempting to get instruments into the storm to learn more about them.

Why GQ sought out David Yeomans

But how does a Central Texas meteorologist get involved with a GQ project? Just like with most things in the current age — Instagram. David said producers found his account, asked him a few questions and then decided to make him their expert to explain everything.

Stay connected. Download the KXAN Weather App. (Apple | Android)

“It was surreal to be selected as GQ’s meteorology expert and critique how accurate the science is in movies like Twister,” he said. “I first saw Twister as a kid and must’ve watched it 40 times on VHS. To go from watching it then, to watch it in this setting, it dawned on me that I have fully realized my childhood dream of being a meteorologist.”

Once you get him talking about weather, as viewers and his social media followers may know, it’s tough to get him to stop.

“It was a blast. They basically had to kick me out of the studio,” he said. “I could have stayed there all day talking meteorology in blockbuster films. The hardest part was figuring out what to wear, it being GQ and all.”

To learn more about what causes weather events, go to KXAN’s First Warning Weather University page and to see all the lessons.

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