Tornado captured on camera near Chugwater, Wyoming

The above feature photo was captured by Jordan Hall. Provided with permission. This nader wanted to celebrate Independence Day by roaming on the Plains!

A cone Tornado has been captured on camera near Chugwater, Wyoming – see in the photo below.

Photo credit: Jordan Hall

The photo was captured by Jordan Hall on the day the Tornado struck – yesterday, 4th July. Find more videos and photos of the Tornado below.

Find more of our articles on Tornadoes that have struck the state of Wyoming here.

RELATED: 2 Confirmed Tornadoes Touch Down in SE Wyoming [VIDEO]

A MUST READ! Storm chasing fatalities since the inception of chasing

Via a thread post on Stormtrack, Dan Robinson and Tim Vasquez have outlined storm chasing fatalities since the inception of storm chasing.

Graphic credit: Dan Robinson

The above bar graph graphic, produced by Robinson, illustrates all the storm chasing fatalities (which is fifteen) since the inception of storm chasing.

Robinson, with the help of Vasquez, wrote extensively about eight separate incidents which lead to the deaths of storm chasers’.

2nd April 1984: The first “in the field” chaser death, Christopher Phillips was a twenty-one year old OU meteorology student from New Jersey. Phillips died when he swerved to avoid a rabbit and his car rolled over into a ditch in Oklahoma.

11th July 2005: Norman, Oklahoma resident Jeff Wear was killed on Interstate 20 near Kilgore, Texas after he hydroplaned in heavy rain and struck a flatbed truck head-on. Wear was returning from a chase to intercept Hurricane Dennis.

6th June 2009:Fabian Guerra of Chicago was killed on Interstate 80 in Iowa when he swerved to avoid a deer, crossed the median and struck an oncoming tractor-trailer in the early morning hours of June 6th. Guerra was heading to Nebraska to meet up with two other chasers for a chase in the area later on that day.

4th February 2012: Andy Gabrielson was killed on Interstate 44 near Sapulpa, Oklahoma in a head-on collision with a drunk driver going the wrong way on the highway. Gabrielson was on his way home from a chase earlier on in Oklahoma.

31st May 2013: Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young were killed when the El Reno, Oklahoma Tornado overtook their vehicle. Richard Henderson, resident of Oklahoma, was killed by the Tornado when he went out near his home to observe the storm and take pictures. Something we didn’t know! A fifth fatality involving a likely chaser was uncovered by researchers studying the Tornado and its impacts.

12th July 2015: David and Mildred Frank were killed when a storm chaser ran a stop sign near the town and collided with their vehicle. We have to stipulate that the Franks were not chasers. The chaser survived with minor injuries and was later criminally charged, receiving a ninety-day suspended jail sentence and one year probation1.

28th March 2017: Corbin Jaeger, Kelley Williamson and Randall Yarnall died when the Yarnall/Williamson vehicle ran a stop sign near Spur, Texas and collided with Jaeger’s vehicle. This particular incident has been in the news recently, as Jaeger’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against The Weather Channel.

According to the thread post, Yarnall/Williamson were chasing and live streaming in “official capacity” for The Weather Channel at the time of the crash.

20th June 2019:Australian, world-renowned photography, Dale Sharpe died after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 2 near Harper, Kansas. You can read more about this accident here.

Thank you to Dan Robinson and Tim Vasquez for putting this together. We learnt a lot from it and we think others will as well. That’s why we’re writing about it! We recommend that you read the replies in the thread, it’s worth it.

FYA: There is another thread on Stormtrack which lists/memorialising all storm chasers who have passed on – read here. WE URGE YOU TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT!

1: A subsequent civil suit by the family yielded a one hundred thousand dollar judgement. Fatal accidents have happened at the same intersection before, and residents had submitted previous complaints. The chaser despite being in the vicinity of severe storms and posting about them to his Facebook page prior to the accident, states he was not “actively” chasing at the time of the accident.

THIS NEWLY-RELEASED STORM CHASING GAME IS INSANELY FUN!

WE’RE SO HYPED ABOUT THIS! The Tornadoes in this game look incredible.

Developed by Little Cloud Games, Storm Chasers is an early-access1, action-simulation game where the goal is to capture the best shots of Tornadoes without dying…

…An in-depth overview, produced by the developers, about the game can be read below.

Be one of those intrepid storm chasers that tracks deadly tornadoes in this online multiplayer video game. Your goal is to shoot the best twisters pictures without dying because of powerful winds and flying debris. Feel the challenge of correctly forecasting and intercepting storms with the optimal vantage points before other players. Get into your car, travel through a big detailed map, activate pods and get as near as possible to snap the best photos. The features of the game can be found below:

GAME MODES
– Single player missions to learn the game basis.
– Online 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2 or 4 vs 4 modes to play against other storm chasers.
– Multiple game mechanics: Photography, Outbreak, Tornado Control… etc.

ENVIRONMENT
– Realistic tornadoes physics with strong winds and props destruction.
– Big detailed map inspired by Tornado Alley landscapes.
– Changing weather conditions and time of day.

GAMEPLAY
– Complexe photographic evaluation algorythm: distance, focus, visible debris… etc.
– Multiple cars equipped with weather radars to spot storm activity.
– Tornado PODS with a flat base to measure wind velocity and direction at ground level.

Other elements of the game include:

  • Image gallery to manage all of your photos and share on Steam.
  • Editable online FM radio station to listen inside your car.
  • You may see a flying cow, just saying!

You can find all the system requirements here. Watch a brief Storm Chasers gameplay video below.

1: As you can see in the opening paragraph, this is an early access game. Essentially meaning, it’s on the market, however the developers are still working on it. HOWEVER…

…Having played it for a little bit already, we can firmly say it’s a lot of fun. We cannot wait to see the final product.

With that being said, You can purchase the game for yourself here. You can read more of our blogs here.

Night-time Tornado captured on camera near Goodnight, Texas

A damaging night-time Tornado has been captured on camera near Goodnight, Texas – north of Highway 287 to be precise – see in the images aka screen grabs below.

The screen grabs were captured by Jeff Piotrowski.

We can assume that Piotrowski captured these screenshots after reviewing his livestream of the Tornado which touched down last night – 22nd June.

Watch the above mentioned live stream below.

We have to mention this Tornado has produced damage – see in the photos below.

Find more of our articles on Tornadoes that have struck the state of Texas here.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CHASER #5 – BILL KRANSKI OF TWISTED EXPECTATIONS STORM CHASING

Please enjoy our interview with Bill Kranski of Twisted Expectations Storm Chasing.

What first got you interested in Tornadoes?

I first became interested in chasing tornadoes when I heard my first tornado siren go off as a young kid.  Like many other chasers, instead of going to the basement for shelter, I would go outside to look.

That day I did not see a tornado, but it was enough to send chills down my spine and really perked my interest. That was a day I knew for sure that I wanted to see a tornado in person.

How did you become interested in storm chasing?

I have always had a passion for anything weather related, and nature related, from a very young age I would go from window to window giving my mom constant updates as to what the clouds were doing.

This passion would continue all the way into adulthood when I would try to photograph lightning strikes, wall clouds, or any other cool looking clouds. Then the movie Twister came out and that really perked my interest that people actually go out and look at storms.

At first, I thought it was just a weird hobby that I had picked up and didn’t really ever see anyone doing what I was doing, at least not in my little area of Western Wisconsin.

How did you get into chasing?

I chased locally and regionally when I was a teenager and early on in adulthood. Back then it was a lot harder, you would look at radar data via dial-up internet and then decide to go chase a local area.

I never had radar data in the vehicle, just me, my car and a camera.  Then I really slowed down on chasing when I had a kid; I had a lot more responsibilities, and between work and raising a child I never made the time to go chasing.

Then as my child was getting older, he started showing some interest in it, and he was also getting old enough where I felt ok to get back into chasing. Plus, I also have an amazing girlfriend that would watch my son before he was old enough to stay by himself.

That was enough to really get me active in the chasing community. I started watching a lot of great videos, went to storm spotting class, and got first aid and CPR certified. Then I really got active again, eventually forming a team with Steven Solie, Twisted expectations, which we currently have six members on our team.

How long have you been chasing?

I have been chasing on and off for twenty five plus years. In the last 3 years I have become more active, but I started when I could first drive, unless you count going from window to window as chasing.

Why do you chase? Do you do it for fun or do you have a purpose?

I think seeing the amazing things that mother nature does is astonishing, anything from sunrises, to sunsets, tornadoes, snowstorms, lightning, squall lines, great landscapes of our country and everything in the middle is just one of the many reasons.

I also chase because I feel like if I am spotting and can get people five, ten, fifteen minutes more warning time, it could save lives. Radars work great, but there is still a lot that radars cannot see and that is why spotting and chasing is so important still.

Plus, the more people that are certified to help with injured people the better in my opinion as they may be the first person on a scene, and you could possibly be the difference in helping someone survive or not.

It’s suffice to say you must have been in some close calls. Have you ever been hit?

I have been in the outer circulation one time while chasing.  This is definitely not where anyone wants to be, but never in the main part of the tornado.

So, the question is. How close have you got?

This year while in Missouri on the Carl Junction tornado, I was working in from the western side of the storm, and we had just got done driving through an area with quite a bit of tree damage and also debris still in the air (small of course).

That’s when I noticed something very strange happening, along with all the wind, I was watching the front of my car and the rain actually started to be pulled up from under both sides of the vehicle, which is when I knew I was too close.

I pulled over and after reviewing my three sixty footage, I could see that what I was driving into at the time was a huge rotation and figured out for sure I was too close.  Another time I was too close, I had some very strong winds, just after a tornado had hit, and it was bending power poles quite a bit.

Last question we have to ask… Do you ever fear for your life?

There were only two times I have felt in danger while chasing, first time was when I had my son with and storms were moving north-northeast at fifty five-sixty miles per hour, we were north of Holmen, WI and I noticed a bear’s cage structure headed straight towards us. 

Which in a great road network is not as bad, you can pick an east road or a south road, but here in Western Wisconsin we have hills, curvy roads and lots of trees. I picked an east-northeast escape route knowing the storm was moving more north, well it took a right turn and kept heading straight toward us as we were trying to get out of the way, going through river valleys, wooded areas and lots of hills.

In the back of my mind I was thinking that I better not harm my son, my family would never let me down for this. The other time was when the telephone poles were bending over so much and there was no visibility on a gravel road, also with trees on the side, maybe not as scary as the time with my son but was enough for me to rethink how I chase. I studied more and started researching areas better before chasing.

This led me to take better routes and live to chase another day.

Thanks to Bill for taking the time out to talk to us. Links for Twisted Expectations Storm Chasing’s website, Facebook and other social media outlets can be found below.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

RELATED ARTICLES

19th June 2018 Prospect Valley, Colorado Tornado – relive the Tornado in video

The above feature photo was captured by William T. Reid. Provided with permission.

We’re going to get straight to the videos for this particular Tornado. However, we highly recommend Silver Lining Tour’s blog on the Tornado.

In the videos below, relive the photogenic Prospect Valley, Colorado Tornado that struck on the 19th June 2018.

Find more of our articles on Tornadoes that have struck the state of Colorado here.

New GoPro footage offers a different perspective of the May 2019 McCook, NE Tornado

The above feature photo is a screen grab which was taken whilst watching Greg Johnson’s video. The GoPro that captured the footage was mounted on the roof ofe the Tornado Hunters truck.

So, you get a storm chasing vehicle perspective, if you get the drift haha.

New footage of the McCook, Nebraska Tornado that struck on the 17th May of this year has emerged online. The GoPro-caught video offers a different and somewhat unique perspective of the Tornado – watched below.

The description for the video can be read in full below.

“This footage of two separate tornadoes on May 17 2019 in McCook Nebraska was shot with a roof mounted GoPro camera. The footage has been sped up to 4x speed.”

AND THAT’S A WRAP FOR THIS ARTICLE!

RELATED ARTICLES

Tornado captured on camera north of Kinsley, Kansas

Update: A close range video of the Tornado has now emerged online – watch below.

Original post: Ladies and gents! We’ve got a nader! A Tornado has been captured on camera north of Kinsley, Kansas – see in the photo below.

Photo credit: Paul Botten

The photo was captured by Paul Botten today. Botten posted the photo on his Facebook account. Find more shots of the Tornado below.

Photo credit: Gee Moore
Photo credit: Tyler Schlitt Photography – taken just west of Garfield, Kansas and just north of Kinsley, Kansas.
Photo credit: Blake Brown – taken northwest of Kinsley Kansas.

Should video emerge of this Tornado, we will post it. Find more of our articles on Tornadoes that have struck in the state of Kansas here

Tornado captured on camera northeast of Arlington, Colorado

The Tornado in the photo was one of seven that touched down. Should video emerge of any of them, we will post them.

A tall grey nader churning up the fields of Colorado! A Tornado has been captured on camera northeast of Arlington, Colorado – see in the photo below.

Photo credit: Jeff Piotrowski

The photo was captured by iconic storm chaser, Jeff Piotrowski on the day the Tornado struck – yesterday, 17th June.

Piotrowski posted an interesting tweet straight after this photo – find below.

Find more photos of the Tornado below.

Photo credit: Ursla Marie Martinez
Photo credit: Ursla Marie Martinez

Find more of our articles on Tornadoes that have struck the state of Colorado here.

Remarkable probe footage of one of the June 2014 Pilger, Nebraska twin Tornadoes

The video is a pretty long watch, however it’s well worth it. The twin Tornadoes struck Pilger, Nebraska on 16th June 2014 – five years ago yesterday.

FYI: The Tornado you will see in the video was the first one of the two that touched down.

In the video below, watch remarkable probe footage of one of the June 2014 Pilger, Nebraska twin Tornadoes.

The footage was captured by the probe produced by Outlaw Chasers – Randy Dean Hicks, Chris Rice & Lisa McGeough.

This isn’t the first time we’ve covered the Outlaw Chasers and their shenanigans – find our other articles below on the chase team below.

Large night-time damaging Tornado captured on camera near Putnam, OK

This video still illustrates the size of it perfectly! According to one chaser, this was one of four Tornadoes in the area. We will have more on that very soon.

A large night-time Tornado has been captured on camera near Putnam, Oklahoma – see in the video still below.

Photo credit: Chris McBee

The video, from which this still was taken from, was captured by Chris McBee last night. McBee posted the still on his official Twitter account.

Videos and photos relating to this Tornado and the damage caused by it can be found below.

Photo credit: Basehunters Chasing

Should more video or photos of the Tornado emerge online, we will post them. Find more of our articles on Tornadoes that have struck the state of Oklahoma here.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CHASER #4 – GABRIEL (GABE) COX OF TORNADO TRACKERS

Please enjoy our interview Gabriel (Gabe) Cox of Tornado Trackers.

What first got you interested in Tornadoes?

I’ve had an obsession with dark skies for as long as I can remember. My parents have a photo of me at 3 years old; I am asleep outside on the lawn after having spent hours watching the clouds. Apparently it was a common occurrence and, no doubt, the start of my love for the sky.

That transitioned into a full-on obsession with tornadoes when, as a kid, I heard reports on the news of towns being struck by these incredibly powerful storms. It just completely blew my mind that a cloud could turn into this larger-than-life force to be reckoned with.

I think the mystery surrounding them also peaked my interest and no amount of books or VHS tapes could satisfy my curiosity. My childhood room was a weather museum filled with posters, tracking charts, tornado experiments… really anything storm related.

How did you become interested in storm chasing?

Even though I had this full-blown obsession with tornadoes as a kid, it wasn’t until 1995 (when I was in fifth grade) that I was made aware of this group of people called, storm chasers.

It was a National Geographic special called ‘Cyclone’ which aired on TV that introduced me to the idea that people could chase storms… and sometimes even get paid to do it! I knew on that day what I was going to do with my life.

How did you get into chasing?

For me, the journey into storm chasing was a less conventional route. I knew in fifth grade what I wanted to do, but after graduating high school with less than stellar math SAT scores and being denied by meteorology programs in several colleges, I questioned my path towards a life of storm chasing. I began realizing that I was right-brain dominant (majorly).

That made me suitable for more creative endeavours, but it left me struggling with anything revolving around analytics or mathematics, which makes up the majority of meteorology. So I thought the dream had hit a dead end and I pursued a career in my other passion, film making, instead. Unknowingly, this set me up for storm chasing in more ways than one. 

How long have you been chasing?

I’ve been chasing storms since the first day I got my license. Having grown up in Maine it mainly consisted of sub-severe thunderstorms or blizzards. My first tornado encounter was actually while I was twenty one, working for a small independent film company in Jacksonville, Florida in 2009. I was sitting at my desk, facing the St. John’s River that runs through downtown, and noticed a funnel like shape above the tree line.

 I hoped on my bicycle and rode towards the river. Sure enough, a large waterspout was sitting 1/4 mile away from me. After it dissipated, and I had ridden back to the office, a second waterspout ended up moving onshore and directly over our building. It was my first tornado and my first opportunity to document one. It reawakened my determination to somehow make storm chasing part of my life.

Why do you do chase?

I really don’t think I could NOT chase. Before I could drive, I was chasing storms on foot with my point-and-shoot camera in the field across from the house I grew up in, letting storms roll in towards me while I watched wide-eyed. As soon as I got my license I was out chasing any cloud with a dark base. For me, there’s something intrinsic about it.

There’s always been a fascination. For a time, after I got married and had kids, I tried to tuck it away and bury it in the “I’m responsible now” folder of my mind. But I lucked out and married an amazing woman who called my bluff and pushed me to go out whenever I could. And I’m so glad she did! The feeling of being under a massive supercell, in close proximity to a tornado, or surrounded by the screaming winds of a hurricane are indescribable.

For me, storms are my cathedral; a place to experience awe and wonder but also to be reminded of my place in the world and to be humbled. There’s no way to fully describe the sensation of it.

Do you do it for fun or do you have a purpose?

It’s interesting that you chose the word “purpose”. There’s been a real journey for me revolving around that word. By nature, storm chasing is fun for me. I’m instantly 10 years old jumping up and down any time I’m under a storm and watching lightning streak across the sky. Part of why I’m out there is to share what I see with people who are, like I was for so many years, unable to experience that beauty and raw power for themselves. But then there are moments when storm chasing is not fun.

Like when I ran into a mile-wide damage path before first responders had arrived, or when I watched neighbourhoods being torn apart by a Category 5 Hurricane. That’s when the reality of what can happen when these beautiful monsters interact with humanity hits hard and I have to recon with why I’m out there in the first place. Enter: purpose. I’m not a scientist or meteorologist.

I’m not out to study how storms form. I’m there because something deep inside pushes me to be there. There’s been a massive amount of guilt coming home after some storms, where I drive away from communities who have lost everything and return to my family. Hurricane Harvey was a breakthrough moment for me though. I decided to sit that storm out. I had a gut feeling that I wasn’t supposed to go, and I’ve learned to never second guess those moments. But in observing the storm from the outside, I noticed something amazing.

 In the aftermath of the storm, the one thing that moved people from across the world to act in kindness to the victims of the storm were images. Photographs and videos were being shared across every available platform and the response from people was empathy, love, and generosity. It’s not really a hidden secret that images can be used to influence people, but for me it was an epiphany as to how important capturing those moments can be. That’s a huge reason I now often refer to myself as a weather journalist.

It’s suffice to say you must have been in some close calls. Have you ever been hit?

I have had two really close calls. The first was a rain-wrapped tornado that formed on the leading edge of a squall line at dusk. My chase partner and I pulled off the road immediately when we noticed rotation on radar.

The blinding rain and fading light made it impossible to see, but within a minute I saw the rain curtains quickly shift directions and knew to hold on. The tornado moved directly over us, rocking the car back and forth, and it was over in a split second. We were extremely lucky that it was very weak, otherwise our car would have easily been tossed.

The second close call was in Canton, TX during the April 29, 2017 outbreak. Through a series of unfortunate events, my car ended up in a flooded ditch with me alone and no way to communicate or receive information. The last radar scan and report I had seen showed a confirmed rain-wrapped mile-wide tornado heading towards me.

I was convinced I was going to die that day and filmed a goodbye video to my wife and kids. Miraculously, the tornado turned north and then north-northwest causing it to miss my location by just over a quarter of a mile when it was at it’s widest and strongest point (EF-4). Had I not slid into the ditch, I likely would have blindly driven into it after losing my means of communication and radar.

Two other tornadoes moved near my location while I was stuck; one lifting just to my south and the other (an EF-3) tore through Canton less than two miles to my east. It was definitely a day I won’t soon forget and, as is the case with every chase, it was a learning experience.

Last question we have to ask… Do you ever fear for your life?

The close calls I wrote about above are truly the only times where I have feared for my life, and they proved to be invaluable lessons for our chase team. There have been moments of concern over my safety, but not to the extent that I’ve feared the worst like in those two instances.

For the most part, fascination and excitement are the dominant feelings when I’m out chasing. With the proper experience and precautions, storm chasing can be a safe and enjoyable endeavour. There is certainly always the risk of danger (lightning strikes for one *shiver*), but those risks can be minimized with education and safe practices.

Thanks to Gabe for taking the time out to talk to us. Links for Tornado Trackers website, Facebook and other social media outlets can be found below.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

RELATED ARTICLES

Watch a Tornado in Cozad, Nebraska tear a barn apart!

The motion on this nader is quite something! Watch a Tornado in Cozad, Nebraska tear a barn apart in the video below.

The video was captured by Gage Shaw on the day the Tornado struck – last month, 17th May. Shaw posted the video on his official YouTube account.

Find more of our articles on Tornadoes that have struck the state of Nebraska here.

A tribute to Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young: Produced by Jeff & Kat Piotrowski

Beautifully narrated by Kat Piotrowski

This is the most fitting tribute to three incredibly talented men. No words needed, just watch and listen to the video below.

Jeff & Kat, you did a wonderful job with this tribute. I know Tim, Paul and Carl will be looking down on you two with one big smile!

Gone but never EVER forgotten! RIP Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young. Our thoughts, prayers and love continue to be with the Samaras and Young Family. <3

On the topic of the storm chaser. You can find more of our articles relating to storm chasers and storm chasing here, here and here

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CHASER #3 – COLT FORNEY OF BASEHUNTERS CHASING

Please enjoy our interview with Colt Forney of Basehunters Chasing.

What first got you interested in Tornadoes?

Growing up in Kansas, severe weather was always a part of my life in the spring. I’d say when I was five years old, I would have to run over to our neighbour’s house to use their basement during a Tornado warning. From that point forward, I was hooked on Tornadoes.

How did you become interested in storm chasing?

I would read books and watch videos on storms and Tornadoes and wanted to see them first-hand. It’s safe to suggest I probably owned every Tornado VHS tape ever made including home videos.

How did you get into chasing?

Before I got my driver’s license, I would have my parents drive me to a hill outside of town to watch storms approach. Once I got my driver’s license, I was chasing every chance I got. For the first few years, I just chased locally, within a couple counties from home. I then expanded to chasing tens of thousands of a miles a year in 2008.

How long have you been chasing?

I have been chasing since 2005, almost fourteen years already. Wow, time flies when you’re having fun.

Why do you chase? Do you do it for fun or do you have a purpose?

I chase for fun and as a hobby. I submit reports to the National Weather Service as often as I can as well. I have chased on a research project once back in 2012 – Project ROTATE with Center of Severe Weather Research out of Boulder, Colorado.

It’s suffice to say you must have been in some close calls. Have you ever been hit?

Oh yes, I have had some close calls. In 2011 after dark near Appleton, Wisconsin, we narrowly missed getting hit by a rain-wrapped Tornado. Another instance was when we got stuck in a wheat field. Our dirt road failed to continue east after all maps showed it did. We ended up stuck with several other chasers whilst several Tornadoes narrowly missed us. I could write a book that day! As for getting hit, no.

So, the question is. How close have you got?

There have been a couple instances where I have been right on the edge of the outer circulation of weak Tornadoes.

Last question we have to ask… Do you ever fear for your life?

Honestly, no. A few instances made me a bit nervous for a while like the two mentioned above. I was worried we might get flipped or hit with some debris, but never got that feeling like I was going to die.

Thanks to Colt for taking the time out to talk to us. Links for Basehunters Chasing’s website, Facebook and other social media outlets can be found below.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

RELATED ARTICLES

New Chevrolet commercial features renowned storm chasers

We had to write about it! In the video below, watch a new Chevrolet commercial which features renowned storm chasers, Roger and Caryn Hill.   

You can read the video’s description below.

“Roger Hill loves severe weather. And over the past three decades, he has personally witnessed more than 650 tornadoes – more than anyone on earth. After years of chasing in his free time, he turned his passion into a career, starting Silver Lining Tours. Now, together with his wife Caryn, he guides groups across the country to witness severe weather.

 It’s his dream job, but it’s also demanding; during storm season, Roger and Caryn are on the road for more 100 days straight, driving hundreds of miles per day in pursuit of Mother Nature.

But before the season begins, they go storm chasing as a couple. It’s a promise they made to each other, a yearly adventure that takes them driving across America’s stunning landscape. Watch as Roger and Caryn Hill traverse several states hunting the perfect storm.”

The video was brought to our attention by Roger Hill, however the commercial was posted by CNN. The commercial is currently unlisted on YouTube.

You can read more of our blogs here.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CHASER #2 – TIM MARSHALL

Please enjoy our interview with Tim Marshall.

What first got you interested in Tornadoes?

I was always interested in the weather and kept daily weather observations when I was a kid. However, a Tornado struck my town on the 21st April 1967. I was ten years old and the destruction I saw (F4/EF-4) made me want to study Tornadoes for the rest of my life. The track passed about one mile north of my house. My house was not damaged, but a neighbour on the block lost some siding.

How did you become interested in storm chasing?

I heard about storm chasing back in the 1970s. They were doing that the University of Oklahoma (OK). On the 23rd May 1974, storm chasers tracked down a Tornado that hit Union City, OK. I really wanted to see a Tornado from a distance instead of being in one.

Photo credit: Ryan McGinnis

How did you get into chasing?

My first ever chase was in 1976 in northern Illinois. I didn’t get serious about chasing until 197 when I went to Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas (TX). I saw my first Tornado in May 1978 near Edmonson, TX as I drove to Lubbock to attend graduate school.

Just to clarify, how long have you been chasing?

Since 1976. I have chased every year since.

Photo credit: Ryan McGinnis

Why do you do chase? Do you do it for fun or do you have a purpose?

It’s safe to suggest I chase for many reasons. To challenge myself forecasting, learn about Tornadoes and of course, photograph them. I’ve been a part of five projects with the Center of Severe Weather Research (CSWR) where we dropped instrumented pods in front of Tornadoes. We had great success on the 9th May and 24th May in Sulphur, OK and Dodge City, Kansas.

It’s suffice to say you must have been in some close calls. Have you ever been hit? 

I’ve been close but not hit directly, thank goodness. On the 9th May 2016, we deployed a pod cat close range and as we were leaving, a house lost a roof next to our truck + power lines went down. Lucky enough! We drove away just in time.

Photo credit: Ryan McGinnis

So, the question is. How close have you got?

Outer circulation

Last question we have to ask… Do you ever fear for your life?

Not really. I know what I’m doing and I get serious and focused when a Tornado is near…

Photo credit: Ryan McGinnis

Thanks to Tim for taking the time out to talk to us! Please be sure to read Tim’s short bio – which you can download and read by clicking the download button below.

RELATED INTERVIEWS

Breathtaking video of last month’s powerful Tipton, Kansas cone Tornado has emerged

The above featured photo was captured by Pecos Hank. Permission granted to use thumbnails previously.

1: The video features extensively in Pecos Hank’s new vlog, WILD TORNADOES!!! Close Intercept by Scientific Research Team 5-28-19 Tipton Kansas.

Breathtaking video of last month’s powerful Tipton, Kansas cone Tornado has emerged online in the form of the above mentioned vlog1 – watch and enjoy below.

The video was captured by Pecos Hank on the day the Tornado struck – 28th May. Hank posted the video on his official YouTube account.

BELOW! Watch another relating Tornado vlog, produced by Skip Talbot.

Find more of our articles on Tornadoes that have struck the state of Kansas here.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CHASER #1 – BRANDON CLEMENT OF WXCHASING

It’s all about the chaser is a new series of interviews we conduct with storm chasers – in particular those who chase Tornadoes.

To start the series, please enjoy our interview with Brandon Clement of WXChasing.

What first got you interested in Tornadoes?

I moved from southern Louisiana (LA) to central Mississippi (MS) in 1997. In southern LA, Tornadoes weren’t really common. It was Hurricanes that had my interest. Once in MS, I kept hearing all these Tornado warnings. One day when I was in college, they had a Tornado warning. College staff tried to force everyone into hallways that just wasn’t for me. I ran outside and could see this huge, well-structured supercell bearing down on me.

In all honesty, I had no clue what I was looking for but damn it, I wanted to see it. I made my way to my car, figured out the wall cloud was the area of interest and ended up following it almost a hundred miles. Never saw a Tornado, really have no idea if it was all that close to producing but really enjoyed what had just happened. It was at that moment that I wanted to know everything there is to know about severe weather and Tornadoes.

How did you become interested in storm chasing?

Living in southern LA, Hurricane Danny hit in 1985. I was five years old at the time and spent the entire day/night glued to the window. My parents had to appreciate the babysitter they had just found but I found a passion for life. From that moment on, I was always interested in storms. I watched The Weather Channel all during Hurricane season, hoping I would get a visit from one. That passion grew and in 1992, I had a friend with a driver’s license take me to the outer edges of Hurricane Andrew during its landfall in LA.

In 1995, I finally had my driver’s license and drove to Pensacola, Florida to intercept Hurricane Opal. From that point forward, I’ve missed very few Hurricane landfalls in the U.S. In May 1995, the New Orleans area and the Northshore had record rainfall that produced some pretty incredible flooding. I found myself fascinated and driving around to different areas to see it. I’ve always had a secret passion for flooding. The passion for extreme weather quickly grew into Tornadoes and relating-events.

How did you get into chasing?

It was just a natural progression for me. I loved weather, watching it and wanted more than any one place received. As soon as I got my driver’s license, I knew the next logical step. Go to the weather, instead of waiting for it to come to me. I’ve also always craved knowledge about things that interest me. At a young age, I began reading and learning about everything and anything I could.

How long have you been chasing?

I’ve been actively chasing since the late 90’s, so a little over twenty years now. I didn’t get really hardcore into chasing until 2003. This was when I started to really prepare chase vehicles and take off to chase weather anywhere and anytime I could.

Why do you do chase? Do you do it for fun or do you have a purpose?

First, it’s just a passion of mine. I have a love for witnessing Mother Nature’s power. I love the challenge of a forecast, positioning and then the pay-off. Getting the best possible of a big Tornado or a Hurricane. Over time, I figured out how to make money to offset expenses. As the income grew I finally decided I could make a full time out of doing what I love most. So now I’m getting paid to do what I love and it’s just wonderful!

It’s suffice to say you must have been in some close calls. Have you ever been hit?

I like to be close but also understand there is a time and place for a close intercept. Many of the Tornadoes I’ve tried to get really close to, I have. One of the days I wasn’t trying to get close was also the day I got closest. The El Reno, Oklahoma (OK) Tornado in 2013. I was observing the Tornado from a couple miles away before a series of unfortunate events unfolded. When trying to reposition as the Tornado approached a road that was on Google maps simply wasn’t there. This wasn’t really a big deal, however I had to reroute, costing me a couple minutes. The Tornado grew into a monster and picked up forward speed. The next route involved getting south of the Tornado on the main highway.

Unfortunately when we got to the main highways, Oklahoma State Police (OSP) blocked the appropriate exit. Even when we tried to go around them, they pulled the car in front blocking us. It was at this point, I knew I was in trouble. As OSP forced traffic from a four-lane highway onto a one fifth gravel road, it became quite congested with traffic. Having sat in traffic for a couple minutes, I concluded that if I didn’t take any action, the Tornado would hit us. I tried to drop south on a gravel road and should have had plenty of time, however I didn’t realise the winds around the Tornado hadn’t condensated yet. I was in the Tornado far before I thought I would be.

As I’m driving south on this gravel road, the gravel started getting pulled off the ground. My car was getting pulled off the road, a wheel barrow came flying across the road and into the Tornado. It was at that point where I knew I had to find a place to try and ride it out. I was very lucky. Other than the El Reno, OK Tornado, I’ve been hit numerous times by quick spin up Tornadoes in a line of thunderstorms. None have been of any significant, most just fun.

Last question we have to ask… Do you ever fear for your life?

In the El Reno, OK Tornado, I thought it was all going to come to an end. Mental preparation from the years of chasing and a lot of luck was all that saved me.

Thanks to Brandon for taking the time out to talk to us. Links for WXChasing’s website, Facebook and other social media outlets can be found below.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Thanks for reading our first It’s all about the chaser interview, stay tuned for the next!

Wonderful read! Thoughts from a Twister-era storm chaser

RELATED (FIRST) ARTICLE ON SUBJECT: The growing past time of storm chasing is raising concerns in the scientific community

Original post can be found here. Like Meteorologist Tony Laubach’s Facebook page here.

Meteorologist Tony Laubach has given us permission to turn his Facebook post in an article. It’s a much-needed read for chasers that head to Tornado Alley from across the world + homegrown ones.

So with that, enjoy the thoughts from a Twister-era storm chaser.

Originally posted: 23rd May 2019.

This will get a little personal, so bare with me. Somewhere over the years, I’ve lost the ability to really get things from my head into words, so this may be much more ramble than I intend it to be. But it’s important for me, and thus I am going to give it a whirl between arm-chair chasing this moderate risk.

(this was published the day after that event)

Over the last few years, I’ve seen a change in my storm chasing philosophy. I come from the Twister-era generation of chasers, and that’s kinda by circumstance as that movie came out around the time I was learning to drive. I consider myself an “Enemy Wind” guy (1992), which was really the first tornado special I saw that introduced me to the concept of storm chasing. In the years between that and Twister, I accumulated a bunch of tornado VHS tapes, and a lot of those had some parts that talked about the idea of storm chasing. I learned, read up, etc, and fortunately my first opportunity came to me in my backyard back in Ohio where I had success on my first chase in 1997 (almost a year to the date of Twister’s release).

Photo credit: Tony Laubach

Back then, there was no social media, barely any world wide web, and you actually had to KNOW Meteorology in order to have any kind of success. After my chasing debut and first tornado in ’97, it took three years before I nabbed number two in Oklahoma (during my one semester living in Moore), then it was another three years before I nabbed my next five during the 2003 season. My breakout year was the following year in ’04, which included amazing chase days on May 12 and May 29, both here in Kansas. Things took off from there.

Photo credit: Tony Laubach

Point being, it took a LONG time before I got to a point where I felt comfortable with chasing, and lets face it, remotely could consider myself a “good” chaser. And because of the lack of social media, I was forced to actually engage with other chasers in the field. I met many in my early years, and they all took me under their wing. We had short caravans of vehicles that prowled the plains, often only a couple of those vehicles having mobile data of any sort in the car. I got my HAM radio license so I could communicate, and that’s how it worked. I listened to their observations, how they navigated storms, and it brought me to a new level. All this while struggling through a Meteorology degree, which I ultimately would FINALLY get many years after starting.

Photo credit: Tony Laubach

It took patience, it took persistence, and it really took a HUGE investment not only in money (which lets be real, was probably the least of the investments when compared to the others), but in time and effort. If you wanted to be good, you wanted to see tornadoes, you had to know what they hell you were doing. And it took years to get to a level where I felt I could say that with some confidence. It’s called patience, earning your way… it’s a lost art in so many areas these days. Kind of like the art of storm chasing…

Between Twister (1996) and the Discovery Channel era (2007), I think there was a lull in the increase of chasers. In fact, I ponder the notion of knowing how many Twister-era chasers survived that stint. With lower success rates and freelancing video had not yet exploded into what it is today, I wonder how many regulars back then made it. Sure, there was probably a slow incline in the numbers, but I recall most of the people I saw were the same groups year-after-year. I think tornado tours originated during this time as well, but they, too, were very limited in numbers.

Photo credit: Tony Laubach

So then came Discovery Channel, and thus storm chasing became mainstream. Social media was becoming a thing, and forecast models had increased in their accuracy. The boom had begun. And I think this is also when you really started to see storm chasing become a business. Multiple tour groups sprang up, freelance video companies multiplied, and access to earning money to offset costs was much easier. Success rates were also going up, and the introduction of “spotter network” combined with updates from the field allowed a lot of novice chasers to follow others, and suddenly the newbies were enjoying success by literally riding coattails. And better forecasting models made it much easier to forecast where to be.

Discovery was a trigger, arguable THE trigger, and when it introduced people to storm chasing, it was a wildfire out of control. And it just grew, more people got their gas tanks filled through video selling, models got better to the point where people didn’t have to know Meteorology, and suddenly there it was. And the trend that has not slowed since. Now high-risk days are more about navigating traffic than seeing storms and tornadoes, and what once was a enjoyable down-time post-chase activity of watching a couple tornado videos from an event has turned into 100 of the same views of tornadoes from people, whom a majority of, don’t know how to shoot video in any real capacity to make it an enjoyable viewing.

“But Tony, you were on Discovery Channel. Didn’t you contribute to this process?” , In a word, yes. I was on Discovery Channel as part of Team TWISTEX for three seasons (well technically two, I was in the opening credits for the fifth and final season, but never appeared in an episode; a topic for later over a drink in a bar). We had a mission that was focused on science, and we took advantage of the chance to gain some exposure for our work, and lets face it, get some funding for a project that did not have the luxury of the exposure that groups such as VORTEX 2 had. We did our best to portray ourselves in the most professional light we could. We were not parading around as “Extreme Meteorologists”, and the work that was done in the field during TWISTEX has actually be published in countless peer-reviewed papers and academic journals. We took the risks we felt were necessary and as comfortable as we felt we could. We did not intentionally drive into tornadoes for “research”. We tried, even against the odds of favorable editing in post-production, to portray our group in the most professional, respectful manner to which we could. And we did so in a way that allowed the least amount of opportunity for production to later dramatize us. And I think we did a damn good job, even into the last season which was a gratuitous stretch of reality, lets be real. We took advantage of the stage we were presented in hopes we could display a side of chasing that I think really needed to be displayed. Did it ultimately work? That’s arguable. But it’s my hope that a few of those out in the field are doing good work because they were inspired by Tim’s passion and work-ethic to better the sciences, and do so in the most professional, respectful, and passionate way possible.

Photo credit: Tony Laubach

The passion, though, has been replaced with something else… I don’t even know what to call it anymore. The need to sell video, the need to garner social media followers, the need to do something. I don’t know… there’s a term for it, and it’s escaping my mind. It’s different, it’s much different. And it’s not good, let’s be real. Storm chasing is now a sport, and it’s a sport where the players as a whole are not very good. It’s about competition, who can get the most extreme video the quickest, who can get the closest, get more social media likes, whatever. I’ve fallen off the grid over the last couple of years, clinching to my close friends and long-time chase partners I’ve accumulated over the years. My social media following is much larger than I would come to expect given the relative lack of posting I do in the grand-scheme of things. But it’s something I’ve built over the years, and something I am proud of. But even still, my lack of posting is apparent is a lot of instances outside of my day-to-day chasing.

Look, I’m not trying to denounce people (I do denounce highly the dangerous behavior and carelessness exhibited all-too-frequently). I know this has carried a largely negative tone, but I’m happy to a point that we’ve inspired people to pursue this. And it’s not my place to judge others by their motivations behind pursuing storms. I’m expressing my thoughts on the matter. But where I am coming from is probably that of an old man perspective. The ability to simply be able to do something does not translate into one actually doing it. The lack of experience clogging roads has become dangerous, and it’s both the new and old. When you factor in those reasons I stated above, it makes anyone dangerous in the wrong circumstances. And it’s truly a miracle of miracles that incidents like what happened in Texas when long-time chasers recklessly killed a young chaser haven’t happened more. It’s truly a matter of time, and it’s not anywhere out of the realm of possibility that a much larger scale incident will occur due to the excessive amount of people being out on higher end days.

I’ve adapted… and not in the way I wanted or even envisioned to. A lot of people come back at me and say “if you don’t like it, don’t chase”. And while it’s not to accommodate their requests in any way, here I am sitting out a moderate risk day (started this on 5/22) to type this because I’d rather not go out of my way to chase a high-stress event. I’ve definitely come into a different place in regards to my chasing in recent years, and sitting out higher-end days is not something that bothers me as much anymore. Does that mean I will sit out every high end event from here through the end of time? No, of course not. It just means I am going to be highly selective on those I do opt to take part in. And these last last couple, in the midst of a very busy pattern with plenty of opportunities coming down the pipe, I decided to sit out.

It helps living in the Alley now, which was one of the reasons why I came out here. I’m not limited to a “chasecation” any more. I can be move selective, the opportunities will come to me. It’s called getting older, the idea of being out for dozens of days in a row just doesn’t have the appeal as it once did. I will get scattered chances to see storms all year long, and that’s a big reassurance. I’ve settled down in life a bit, it isn’t about how many tornadoes I can cram into a week, or how many miles I can drive (which trust me, still add up faster than I can keep up with), it’s about enjoying the storms a bit more. I’ve focused on picking up my Nikon more, filling up my wall with beautiful storm structure, lightning and tornadoes. I still have a job to do around that, but for me now, I just want to return to something earlier where it was about the storms, and get in those moments between work. Which is much harder to do when you’re in a high-end, higher-risk situation.

Photo credit: Tony Laubach

I’ve enjoyed very much the lower end days, the rewards of seeing beautiful storms and tornadoes and have done so in environments that allow me more focus on the skies and less on trying to survive the masses. I’ll have plenty of opportunities for higher end setups as a result of the job I work here in Kansas, but the days of going out of my way for those types of intense setups are highly numbered. And as much as it amazes me to say it, I’m not bothered by this nearly as much as the younger version of me once was. There will be other storms, other tornadoes, and I will see more than my share in the years to come. I’ve taken that step back, and have really come to appreciate that more in the last couple of years. I want to enjoy the weather again as close as I can to how I once did when I started.

Photo credit: Tony Laubach

Look folks, higher risk days are NOT the days to try to get your first tornado. They’re not the days you go out on if you’ve only chased a couple times, and certainly are not the days you want to venture out solo if you’re chasing experience can fit into a shot-glass. Baseball players who swing a bat in batting practice in the minors and drill a home-run on a slow hanging slider don’t immediately get to start in the World Series. They start small, and for many, it takes years to get to a point where they can make that start. I know many of you do not understand the idea of patience, persistence, actually taking the time to learn something. But that experience grows, and it will get to a point where you won’t be a liability on higher-risk days. There are ALWAYS going to be tornadoes, and the ones you really want (the photogenic, non-damaging rural tornadoes) tend to gravitate toward lower end risk days, and they always have fewer people. Remember, learning about chasing is knowing the weather, and it is VERY difficult to focus on the weather when you’re constantly navigating traffic and have your heads in a computer screen. And look, there is more to chasing than just tornadoes. Seriously, let that sink in a little. There is so much you’re missing out on.

Photo credit: Tony Laubach

Go chase, enjoy mother nature. By all means, please do. But start small, learn it. Appreciate it. Grow with it, and eventually you’ll get there. I did, lots of us did, and I enjoyed the journey, even as it took years to get to that point. You have so much more at your disposal than I, or many of us early-generation chasers did, tools that can help you grow and learn. Don’t just use it. Absorb it. Take a step back and think about those days you go out, do you know why? Do you understand how the forecast works? Or are you simply driving to the center of an outlined bulls-eye? Think about that, wouldn’t it be cool to understand WHY you’re chasing something. Then again, maybe you just wanna see tornadoes, and that’s cool too. But you have no idea what you’re missing, and it’s a blessing and a curse. If you truly understood what myself and others have invested over the years, you’d be as envious of us as you would lucky you weren’t us. Because it hurts to see what chasing has become in the last few years. It was never meant to turn into what it has today.

My final piece of advice… obviously I am not your father, nothing I have said here as advice is meant to be an order and probably has gone in one eye and out the other. And while you don’t have to listen to all that, please be sure to listen to this. Be respectful out there, be professional. While the practical obligations of chasers are largely up for debate, I feel we all owe it to ourselves and others to treat this activity with respect and professionalism. I understand how one can get caught up in the moments, and I am as guilty in this as anyone from time-to-time, but you have ALL THE CONTROL over what you put out for public consumption. If it’s your first tornado, or your 500th, act like you’ve been there before. Remember that many times over, these acts of nature that you may be rooting for and cheering on like a bunch of drunken high school students are doing awful things we cannot imagine to others. No one needs to see the levels of disrespect that are flung across the medias of the world now-a-days. Respect this craft. Respect the laws. Respect others. Be professional, and perhaps we can all go out there and do this thing and enjoy the moments while actually contributing something productive to the science and in some other ways, aid those in the paths of these things. Above all, be safe and be smart. And remember, your actions out there are not only being captured by you, but by every single other person out there with a camera. And if you’re acting carelessly, doing stupid stuff, you’re going to get called out for it. And you should! And when that happens, don’t get defensive, don’t go off in a huff, LEARN FROM IT. We’re all guilty of those moments, we’ve all been there. But for God sake, LEARN!

No storm, no tornado, NOTHING is worth your life out there. There will be plenty of storms, plenty of tornadoes… you don’t have to see them all, you don’t have to sell them all, you don’t even have to be there for them all. Know your limits, respect your skill set, and grow them all over the years you’re out there. No one is asking you to stop chasing, we’re just asking you respect the craft a little more, take a step or two back and appreciate and respect what Ma-Nature has to offer. This coming from one of the old guys in the craft now. Happy Hunting out there!

Photo credit: Tony Laubach

Thank you Tony for allowing us to publish your excellent piece to a wider audience. Take a look at some of Laubach’s work below, it’s worth it!