Sioux Falls State Theatre Sioux Falls, SD


Todd Heitkamp

Meteorologist in Charge, National Weather Service

Twister— Hollywood vs. reality—exploring weather science in film

Join Todd Heitkamp, the National Weather Service's meteorologist in charge, as he dissects Hollywood’s depictions of tornadoes, revealing the stark disparities between cinematic fantasy and scientific truth. Prepare to be both entertained and educated as Todd delves into the realities of recent extreme weather events gripping our region, offering invaluable insight just in time for a stormy summer season.

Sioux Falls State Theatre Sioux Falls, SD

Film Synopsis

Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the crosshairs of extremely violent tornadoes.

As a powerful storm approaches, university professor Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) and an underfunded team of students prepare the prototype for DOROTHY, a groundbreaking tornado data-gathering device conceived by her soon-to-be ex-husband, Bill (Bill Paxton). When Jo tells Bill that the device is ready for testing—and that their privately funded rival Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes) has stolen the idea and built his own—Bill rejoins the team for one last mission. In a race against time, the estranged couple finds themselves in the crosshairs of one of the most violent and powerful storms ever recorded.

About the Speaker

Todd Heitkamp is the Meteorologist in Charge for the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, SD. A native of Adrian, Minnesota, he received his Meteorology Degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1986. He began his career with the National Weather Service in 1987 holding positions in Waterloo, IA and Denver, CO before accepting the Warning Coordination Meteorologist in Sioux Falls, SD in 1994. He then was promoted into his current position in 2018. He has received two Department of Commerce’s Bronze Medals for his work in the development of NWS safety brochures, as well as his public outreach activities. He also received the National Weather Service’s Modernization Award for product development. He has three adult children and is married to his wife of 38 years, Roxanne.