Who is Tempest Tours?
Founded in 2000, Tempest Tours is a Texas-based company specializing in storm chasing expeditions. Much of our staff began chasing storms between the 1970's and early 1990's. We have established an exceptional tornado intercept history and a solid safety record. Tempest Tours emphasizes safety, education and professional conduct.
What's it like chasing with Tempest Tours?
See our latest photos on the Tempest Tours Facebook page Watch "Chasing a Tornado Outbreak with Tempest Tours" 8 minute video
Is Tempest Tours safe and responsible?
Yes, we place safe and responsible conduct above all else. Our staff receives an annual orientation which centers around strict safety guidelines. All guides must be approved by our insurance company prior to each season. We have maintained commercial insurance since the start of our company in 2000 (required for National Tour Association membership). All members of our team are licensed radio operators and trained storm spotters. We relay reports of dangerous weather to the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management. In addition, members of our staff have developed storm spotter training materials used by the NWS to train storm spotter groups nationwide. Spotters are the first line of defense for communities against dangerous weather. Other contributions members of our team have made to our community include: severe weather education presentations to emergency management and forecasters, research which has led to longer warning times for the public, and assisting NWS with tornado event confirmation.
Why chase with Tempest Tours? Click here How do we count tornadoes? Click here
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Martin Lisius, President and Founder
Martin Lisius, "The Storm Whisperer," began tracking storms in the mid-1980's. He is a cinematographer, producer, director and founder of StormStock, the world's largest storm footage library. In addition, Martin founded and chairs the Texas Severe Storms Association (TESSA), a national non-profit dedicated to severe weather education and mitigation, and host to the National Storm Conference. Martin produced, directed and wrote several television programs relating to severe weather including "Chasing the Wind" (1991), "Beneath Stormy Skies" (1994), and "The Chasers of Tornado Alley" (1995). He directed, co-produced and co-wrote "StormWatch" for the National Weather Service, which employs it nationwide as their official storm spotter training video. Martin worked as a technical advisor on the 1996 Warner Bros. blockbuster movie "Twister" and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show with the cast and crew. In 1998, he photographed the first-ever violent class tornado on 35 mm motion picture film at Spencer, South Dakota. In 1999, Martin teamed with Chevy Trucks to help create their "Storm Chaser" commercial for S-10 pickups. He recently produced two short films titled "Mountains on the Prairie," selected by VideoFest 2015, and "Tempestuous Skies." Martin has shot and provided Super 35mm and HD storm footage for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, "Independence Day," the Academy Award-winning "An Inconvenient Truth," "The Avengers," "Into the Storm," "Cinderella" and "Tomorrowland." In his spare time, Martin works as a storm tracker for the KXAS-TV NBC5 Weather Team (see Martin's NBC5 Promo). He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington and member of the legendary "Spencer 4." Martin, is also our risk manager. He is known throughout the storm chasing community for being tough on safe and responsible conduct. He recently authored "The Ultimate Severe Weather Safety Guide," a book he wrote to mitigate the risks of potentially dangerous weather. See his video about tornado safe rooms called "Gimme Shelter."
William T. Reid, Senior Tour Director - Climatologist
Tracking storms since 1991, William Reid is arguably the best storm chaser on the planet. He possesses all the right attributes including exceptional forecasting and logistical skills, a dedication to safety, and an uncanny ability to find good storms even on marginal days. Bill is a member of the Texas Severe Storms Association Board of Directors. He acquired a Masters degree in Geography, with emphasis on Climatology, from California State University. He has worked for 16 years as a climatologist for Continental Weather and Earth Sciences, Inc. and has contributed materials used by the National Weather Service for storm surveys and to train storm spotters nationwide for 20 years. He is a member of the legendary "Spencer 4." Be sure to visit Bill's Storm Bruiser web site to see incredible storm shots, and to read his insightful storm chase summaries.
Chris Gullikson, Tour Director
Chris began perusing storms in 1996 and was able to document his first tornado in May of 1998. An electrical engineer by trade, he is self taught in the aspects of severe weather forecasting. Always armed with a camera, his beautiful storm photography has appeared in books, magazines, art work and training material. Taking a hiatus from his work in 2004, Chris began working with Operation Migration and the endangered Whooping Crane. Each year he helps raise a new flock of young birds and leads them from Wisconsin to Florida with an ultra-light aircraft.
Dr. Bob Conzemius, Tour Director - Wind Meteorologist
Bob earned his Ph.D. from the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma where he chased two seasons with the Doppler on Wheels crew. He has been fascinated with storms since the age of six, and has chased since 1991, intercepting storms from Minnesota to Colorado to Texas. His career in meteorology has included two years as chief meteorologist for KEYC-TV in Mankato, MN, a year of teaching meteorology courses at St. Cloud State University, and a year doing research as a postdoctoral fellow at Colorado State University. Outside of the chase season, he works for WindLogics, Inc., a company specializing in wind energy resource assessment and forecasting.
Dr. Charles "Chuck" Doswell, III, Senior Lecturer - Research Meteorologist
Dr. Charles "Chuck" Doswell III is a former research meteorologist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), and is considered one of the top tornado scientists in the world. Dr. Doswell earned degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Oklahoma, all in meteorology. He has been a dedicated storm chaser since 1972. He has lectured on severe thunderstorms and weather forecasting at the request of the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization. He is an Adjunct Professor with the University of Oklahoma's School of Meteorology and occasionally teaches various courses, including his own course in Advanced Forecasting Techniques, at the graduate level. He wrote the benchmark paper on safe and responsible storm chasing titled "Storm Chasing with Safety, Courtesy and Responsibility." Dr. Doswell currently works as a Senior Research Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS). Dr. Doswell will lead the Lecture Tour, presenting a comprehensive discussion on storm chasing. He will share his insight on forecasting, logistics, and safety. This special tour is ideal for meteorology students and those who simply want to learn from the best. Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to chase with one of the great veterans of tornado science and the storm chasing discipline.
Chuck Doswell's Homepage
Rook Andulas, Guide
Rook has driven for Tempest for over a decade. Over the years he has earned three Special Service awards from the NWS for work in microclimate research
in the western San Fernando Valley area (of Los Angeles County). Rook was the project manager on the NOAA Global One exhibit at the NWS office in
Oxnard, CA, and has worked on and built remote automated weather stations (RAWS) across southern California and the Channel Islands. An avid
researcher, Rook has presented original work on microclimates at the Channel Islands Symposium. His other interests include world travel, ancient
history, pre-Greek mythology, and cosmology. In 2015 he participated in a ground-breaking documentary on the early universe. A jack of all trades,
Rook works as a contractor for the DOD, and he runs his own photography and tutoring businesses. He also gives talks on ancient history and various
science topics to high school students in the L.A. area.
Justin Pletsch - Guide - Meteorologist
Justin graduated from Northern Illinois University in May 2011 with a BS degree in Meteorology. He is a die-hard Cubs fan who firmly believes his team will win the World Series.
Rob Petitt, Guide
Rob has been fascinated with weather since his earliest years, reading about ball lightning before he could walk. He grew up in weather-starved Southern California, built his own backyard weather station at the age of eleven, and began chasing storms in Tornado Alley in 1993. In 1997, he obtained his ham radio license to assist with storm chasing. Rob relocated to Washington state in 2001 and became a weather spotter for Skywarn, where he chases locally whenever the skies appear interesting. Hired on with Tempest Tours in 2005, he has seen several tornadoes on the Great Plains, and is always on the prowl for the Holy Grail of tornadoes
Marcia Perez, Guide
Marcia has long been fascinated by severe weather. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma (which we forgive her for) and an accomplished photographer. When not tracking severe weather, Marcia works as a licensed architect in Dallas-Ft. Worth.
Bob Smith - Guide
Bob has been chasing and photographing severe weather in northern California and southern Oregon for 25 years, and on the Great Plains since 2007. His fascination for thunderstorms started as a child in Arizona where some of his earliest memories were of Monsoon thunderstorms and haboobs. Bob is retired from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and is an Oakland A's and San Jose Sharks fan.
Tom Trott - Guide
Tom Trott lives in London, England, and he will be working Tour 3 this coming spring for Tempest. Tom is a self-employed builder, husband to Alison and dad of two fabulous children, William and Olivia. Thank you, Alison, for permitting Tom to work for us every spring! Tom has been hooked on supercells and thunderstorms since watching "Twister" 20 years ago, and he loves chasing them down and photographing them.
Danny Gonzales - Guide - Meteorologist
Danny has been fascinated with weather ever since he was a child. During the summer months, Danny would observe the CU towers going up to his east during the late summer months, thanks to the southwestern monsoon, and would tune in between AM stations to detect lightning static. Danny majored in Atmospheric Sciences at UCLA.
Jon "Woody" Watson- Guide
Jon is a former deputy sheriff (K-9, SWAT, etc.) for Sonoma County, California, and when not serving as a guide for Tempest Tours (since 2006), he works as a police academy instructor in Santa Rosa and hunting and fishing guide. Since being with Tempest, Jon has photographed several tornadoes, supercells and other dramatic weather elements. He completed a course in meteorology at Santa Rosa JC, and is a licensed HAM radio operator.
Brian Hastings - Guide
Brian has been fascinated with storms from childhood. In middle school, a science teacher told him about researchers traveling the Plains to study and
observe tornadoes, which was about the coolest thing he'd heard of. He never thought he'd have a chance to do something like this, until tagging
along with a storm chasing friend in 2005. He's been chasing every year since, combining a love of photography, travel and learning new things.
Brian serves as a pastor in Fond du Lac, WI, where he and his wife have lived since 1999.
Steve Pekich - Guide
Steve has been an avid amateur weather observer from way back. His interest in weather started in his teenage years, despite the rather unexciting
climate of his home in coastal Southern California. He is a former president of the California Weather Association and a member of the American
Meteorological Society, and is an officially trained spotter for the National Weather Service. Steve began working for Tempest Tours in 2013,
and he expertly navigated us safely from the very large El Reno, OK tornado that year.
Jennifer Dunn, Guide - Meteorologist
Jennifer has chased with Tempest since 2005. Her storm chasing career began while at Texas A&M University where she received a BS degree in meteorology. When not chasing with Tempest, she works as a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Ft. Worth. Aside from forecasting and her interest in severe weather, she spends time on outreach efforts (educating the public about weather, severe storms, and weather safety) and hydrology. Jennifer has published two papers on case studies of severe weather events. "Bow Echo and Mesovortex Evolution during the 2 May 2007 North Texas Derecho" was recently published in the EJSSM (Vol 6, No 4 at http://www.ejssm.org/ojs/index.php/ejssm/issue/view/29).
Bill Schuessler - Guide
Bill is a native Southern Californian who spent 31 years in law enforcement and 9 years as a Paid Call Firefighter/EMT. A self taught weather fanatic, Bill has been chasing on the high plains for nearly 10 years. When home during the off season, flying, camping and traveling are his hobbies until the next chase season rolls around.
Tempest Tours is a corporate member of the National Weather Association and National Tour Association. Storm footage can be licensed through StormStock. We support and contribute to Autism Awareness and the Texas Severe Storms Association. Trademark and Copyright © Tempest Tours, Inc.