“Storm Chasers” was an American documentary reality series that premiered on the Discovery Channel on October 17, 2007. Over the course of 5 seasons and 36 episodes, storm chasers like Joel Taylor, Chris Chittick, and Reed Timmer drove directly into the path of an incoming storm to document the ferociousness of tornadoes.
Each year, these bold risk-takers headed to the central United States, known as Tornado Alley, during late spring and early summer, to shoot the series until its unfortunate cancellation in 2012. But here are some badass pics that will make you appreciate what they all went through.
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19 These Chasers Made Viewers’ Hearts Jump Out of Their Chests
But these storm chasers weren’t simply putting themselves in harm’s way because they had some sort of death wish. They were doing it to study these deadly storms.
But while they seemed absolutely fearless, viewers were on pins and needles as they watched storm chasers like Taylor and Timmer drive into a storm.
18 Inspired to Build a Vehicle That Could Stand a Beating
To get inside a tornado, they needed a vehicle that could withstand the brutal hits from a powerful storm. So, Sean Casey built two armored trucks called Tornado Intercept Vehicles to drive into the center of a tornado.
And these cars were like miniature tanks that kept the chasers safe from the force of the storm.
17 No Fear
Every episode put the viewer in the passenger seat as the team went looking for a storm. In this shot, a team of storm chasers were prepping their cameras outside of a truck just as a massive black cloud swirled over them.
But to call this the calm before the storm would have been a serious understatement.
16 Fully Equipped Dominator 2
The storm chasers had the Dominator 2 at their disposal, which was a huge advantage. They grabbed a GMC Yukon XL and heavily fortified it with steel plating.
They also added some nifty features like air cannons and extra windshield wipers, which made it easy to drive into a storm and out of it alive.
15 He Couldn’t Resist Taking a Closer Look
Over the years, Timmer has seen his fair share of tornados, which is why he did a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new documentary series called “Tornado Chasers.”
The show premiered in 2012 and had 2 seasons and seven specials. Each episode showed Timmer’s unrelenting pursuit of the most terrifying storms.
14 Try Driving Through This Whopper of a Storm
Although the storm chasers had modified windshield wipers equipped to their vehicle, visibility was a total nightmare on the road. It didn’t matter if it was day or night.
When a storm hit, it was like venturing into sheer and total darkness. But most of the time, they made it through without as much as a scratch.
13 They Were Able to Bask at the Beauty of a Terrible Storm in the Horizon
Over the years, these storm chasers discovered that Mother Nature can be both terrifying and beautiful all at the same time.
In this photo, one chaser is pointing towards an approaching storm. Its black clouds are illuminated only by the sunlight the storm is slowly blocking.
12 But Driving at Night Was No Picnic Either
Anything can surprise you when you’re heading into a storm. It could be a tornado or a slippery road on a cold rainy night. But an indirect lightning strike in the middle of the road can also be very dangerous.
Not only could it have hit one of the vehicles, but it could have caused one of them to swerve and crash.
11 Then There Are Sights Like This Rainbow
In the midst of a very dark thunderstorm crossing the plains from Kansas to Colorado, is this beautiful rainbow. Although there’s no silver lining in this storm, there’s a multi-colored arch that makes this photo so spectacular.
But it probably didn’t appease the locals who saw the horrifying storm approaching.
10 Getting Close to a Supercell Generated by a Tornado
A supercell is a thunderstorm in the presence of a cyclone. And in this particular image, a supercell was generated by a tornado near Piedmont, Oklahoma.
The Swirling updraft is basically a rotating thunderstorm, which the storm chasers managed to capture on camera.
9 Supercell Storms Are Just As Strong Than A Hurricane
Running into a supercell is rare. Bu the rotating weather phenomenon can be stronger than a category 1 hurricane because it can sustain winds higher than 92 miles per hour.
But the chase is happiness for these people, and fortunately, they had a camera handy to capture this gut-wrenching sight.
8 Haboob Cloud
A Haboob cloud is made up of dust that gets picked up by high winds. Being stuck in the middle of one can feel like millions of needles poking your skin.
Fortunately, storm chaser Scott Wood had no trouble capturing the spine-chilling storm as it approached like a predator.
7 Other Days That the Storm Chased Them
The show was called Storm Chasers for the obvious reason that these guys chased storms. But the one thing they learned over the years is that there were times when the storm appeared to have a mind of its own and started chasing you.
In this photo, there were two cyclones seemingly chasing after these vehicles as they raced away to avoid it.
6 One Hail of a Drive
This photo was taken while chasing a storm in Colorado and as you can see, the road is completely covered in hail.
And while the show’s tornado intercept vehicles and dominators were designed to withstand a punch, it must have been quite a challenge driving through this road.
5 Intense Lightning Storms
Lightning storms are easy to see when you’re living in Denver, Colorado. Lightning strikes are also pretty common, so the storm chasers had to be very careful.
Although they usually walked out of their vehicles to take photos and videos, finding shelter inside their vehicle would have probably been a better idea.
4 Some of the Storm Chasers Lost Their Lives
Chasing storms is dangerous work. Unfortunately, some storm chasers met their end doing what they loved most, like Carl Young and Tim and Paul Samaras, who lost their lives because of a tornado. But others, like Joel Taylor, who was Reed Timmer’s chase partner on the show, lost his life battling his own personal storm.
But we salute all these brave storm chasers who came before and those who will continue to chase the thrill.
3 Shooting in the Middle of a Storm Was Just Another Day at the Office
In this photo, Joel Taylor, Chris Chittick and Reed Timmer proved just how far they were willing to go to face an approaching storm.
Notice how they didn’t even bother to shoot from inside the vehicle. They just squatted behind the car while one of them did their best to keep the camera steady while recording.
2 And They Were Always on the Lookout for the Next Major Storm to Go After
Various Storm Chasers have come and gone over the course of the series. But there was no shortage of bravery among this team as they drove through Tornado Alley, aka the central United States, or Dixie Alley in the southeastern United States, searching for the next major tornado.
1 They Were on a Mission to Drive Up and Shake Trouble’s Hand
Timmer is an extreme weather meteorologist, and his team always had their cameras handy and their laptops ready to track a potential storm.
But sometimes, the best way to know if there was trouble ahead was to look out the window because one could never tell when a random tornado might form in the blink of an eye.