When deadly storms arrive, here’s why we run toward danger

Braving hail, sandstorms, and tornadoes, we photograph nature at its rawest—and most beautiful.

When you are storm chasing, most mornings start off in a cheap hotel sipping bad coffee and trying to remember where you had ended up the night before. If all goes well, you know that later that day you’ll be racing headlong into chaos. You hope that you’ll also catch a moment of the sublime.

On this particular morning, we were in Wichita, Kansas, midway through a project to photograph the dramatic and destructive weather that barrels across the middle of the United States every spring. Nick Moir, our expedition leader and weather sage, sat stooped on the edge of the bed, poring over a litany of apps and online radars in search of a good storm cell for us to pursue. Nick is fluent in the subtle hieroglyphics of location forecasting, which are incomprehensible to almost everyone else.

“This is it,” he said, waving his phone at the rest of the crew—photographer Krystle Wright, videographer Skip Armstrong, and me. “Let’s roll out.”

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