Chris Kridler is an award-winning journalist and photographer as well as a 16 year storm chaser, having pursued storms in Tornado Alley and Florida. On Saturday, July 21, she will describe what storm chasing is really like through videos and photos. Utilizing the Science On A Sphere station, she'll also talk about the extremes and dangers of Florida weather.

Chris took some time to speak with us about her storm chasing experience.

How did you become interested in storm chasing?

I’ve always been fascinating by tornados even from a young age. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I remember seeing quite a few tornados and hiding out in the basement. And perhaps seeing The Wizard of Oz one too many times sparked my interest as well.

What’s the most amazing or terrifying weather related experience you’ve had?

On May 12, 2004, I was chasing storms with a group of friends when, about a half mile away, a tornado began tearing the roof off of someone’s home. As a storm chaser, destruction is something you never want to see. Luckily though, the family was safe. That tornado was one of about three we saw that day. Though our close proximity was not intentional, the sight of both the tornados being so close and their destruction was pretty terrifying.

What have you learned the most from chasing storms?

I’ve learned a lot about how the atmosphere works, how tornados form. Every storm is a new lesson for me. It’s also given me the adventure and opportunity of seeing America in my travels.

What excites you the most when chasing?

It’s an incredible visual experience to watch a storm develop into different shapes, sizes and colors. As a photographer, I am always amazed by the different spectrum of light and ever changing forms these buildings in the sky can take.

Do you have any advice for future storm chasers out there?

Absolutely! First of all, it’s not all excitement and tornados all the time. There’s quite a substantial amount of driving around involved and not every day is going to be a rollercoaster of excitement and tornados. Secondly, be safe and learn about the weather and storms. You need to have a good understanding of how these storms work.


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