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Caught up with the Storm Chaser

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The closest I came to experiencing a tornado was in 1972 while living in Charleston, IL. My grandma and I were giving me the ‘Summer Blonde-from-a-bottle-treatment’ over the kitchen sink.

My hair was full of the stuff when the tornado warning sounded. All of us in the house beat feet to the basement.

As we waited, my grandma turned on the washing machine, had me lean over and she rinsed out my smelly hair. Didn’t miss a beat.

And we were not slammed by a tornado.

However, thousands of people are not so lucky, losing homes, businesses, neighbors, loved ones and pets.

If you’ve seen the new IMAX film Tornado Alley, you’ve seen the bravery and camera skills of Sean Casey who has been chasing, not running from, tornadoes since 1999.

Storm Chaser Sean Casey in front of his Tornado Intercept
Vehicle at IMAX Theater

Internationally acclaimed storm chaser and IMAX movie producer Casey and the TIV were in front of IMAX Theatre today on K St. He answered questions, signed autographs and watched youngsters crawl around the Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV), inside and out.

The Tornado Intercept Vehicle

When tornado season rolls around he leaves his Sonoma CA home and family while he and the crew are in the field, typically May and June.

He says they go "wherever the weather is." They are equipped with internet so they can follow the ever-changing conditions on the road.

Their ‘ride’ is the TIV. It’s an imposing tank-looking thing on wheels, low to the ground, surrounded by armor and weighs over 14,000 pounds.

Casey watches a kid in the front seat of the TIV

Its previous life was as a 2008 Dodge 2500 4 x 4. Now it’s a specialized vehicle capable of withstanding the gale force winds at a tornado’s core. Read more about the TIV – CLICK HERE>>>

Red steel spikes are near both front doors. When hunkering down to ride-out a tornado, the spikes are hydraulically pounded into the ground.

Casey and fellow storm chasers have had some memorable and close-call kind of days undoubtedly.

His wife Jennifer and their two daughters, four and six years old, were with him today.

When asked if she worries about him, she says she’s used to him being out there amongst the tornadoes.

She says they’ve been together since 2001 and he began chasing in 1999.

"I knew when I met him that this is a big part of his life," Jennifer said.

She has gone on the road with him in the TIV four years out of the ten they’ve been together.

She says she is "really proud of Sean and that he is only a handful of people who could pull something like this off."

The IMAX camera photographs through the turret on top
A young boy below the turret.

For more information about Sean Casey CLICK HERE>>>

Esquire IMAX info HERE

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