THE sTORM wHISPERER
Martin Lisius grew up in Texas, where more tornadoes occur than anywhere else on the planet. “We had a lot of tornado warnings and dark, swirling clouds, which made the weather interesting for me,” he said. “I actually built a weather station on the roof of my family’s house.”
Today, Lisius earns a living as a storm chaser and extreme weather cinematographer. Still living in the Lone Star State, he is the founder and president of Tempest Tours, Inc., and hosts storm chasing expeditions for non-chasers who want the experience.
Lisius’ black Subaru Outback has braved muddy, rocky roads to help him intercept more than 35 tornadoes since 2007.
“The most exciting thing for me as a storm chaser is when my forecast verifies and a tornado develops where and when I thought it would hours before a storm even exists,” he said.
Being in the right place at the right time is a matter of logistics and luck.
“I need roads to allow for a rendezvous with the storm, and I need that to happen before dark. It’s a space-time challenge,” he said.“Some tornadoes are only on the ground for a few seconds. I have to be there to see it. It’s almost a superhuman task to do it on a regular basis.”
To stay out of danger, Lisius carefully tracks each storm and remains acutely aware of how it evolves.
“I am close enough to take great pictures, but not in harm’s way,” he said. “It feels like I am one with the storm, never fighting it but rather ‘with’ it as it flows like a leaf in a stream. I guess I’m sort of a storm whisperer.”
Learn more and view Martin Lisius’ November 7, 2011, storm intercept at www.tempesttours.com.