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Special Report: The tornado trackers: inside storm chasing

Ever get up-close and personal with severe storms? Probably not as close as these Illinoisans.

When severe weather strikes, you’ll find the weather tracker team in the WEEK studio keeping you safe, but there are some forecasters who’s roles take them out into the elements.

We took the front seat with Illinois Storm Chasers, a company out of Peotone, Illinois that spends time getting up-close and personal with Mother Nature.

Whether it is in the Land of Lincoln, or the southern plains, this group will go wherever the severe potential takes them.

You may think storm chasing is a thrill-ride, but most of the time it is actually quiet.

“That’s only about two percent of storm chasing,” said Adam Lucio, Illinois Storm Chasers co-owner. “Most of it is a lot of hard work, and forecasting, and driving. … And, trying to figure out where the storms are going to happen. Its actually very boring 95-percent of the time,” added Lucio.” So there’s a common misconception there, that storm chasing is a constant thrill ride. Its not.”

Storm chasing is not something you should do, unless you have the meteorological background to support you out in the field.

The crew says, without that understanding, you could end up in extreme danger.

However, those skilled chasers that put in the effort, say you almost become one with Mother Nature when chasing.

“You’re able just to kind of push the radar away, because you have to go by what you’re seeing in person,” said Nick Bartholomew, Forecaster for Illinois Storm Chasers. “You can’t always rely on the technology that you have in your hand,” added Bartholomew; saying, “you have to actually use your eyes … to really get an understanding of, ‘is that storm going to produce a tornado?’ If it is, am I in an okay spot, or do I need to re-*position?”

Ever wonder what a day in the life of a storm chaser is like?

Watch Meteorologist Jesse Guinn’s must-see special report: Storm Chasers, to find out.

Jesse Guinn

Catch me on the air with central Illinois’ forecast on WEEK 25!

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