Chris Kridler, award-winning winning writer, editor, photographer and videographer-turned-storm-chaser, spoke Saturday, Aug. 4, at the Flagler County Public Library.
Kridler, who grew up in Pennsylvania, had always been fascinated by tornados and storms in general. She recalls being a young girl and hearing the tornado warnings go off.
“I remember running to the basement and wanting to see the tornado really badly,” she said.
The theatrical production of “The Wizard of Oz” also fueled Kridler’s obsession with tornados.
In 1997, Kridler got her first chance to do what she thought only scientists could do: chase a storm. Through Cloud Nine Tours, in Oklahoma, Kridler took a storm-chasing tour and from that point on, she was hooked.
“To me, it’s the visual experience of actually seeing the storms,” Kridler said. “Even though I’m not a scientist, I have scientific curiosity about them, and I learn something every time I chase a storm. I love the traveling, I love the freedom of it, I love the idea that you’re just following nature and going wherever it leads you.”
But storm chasing is not just about the thrill. It’s not screaming and driving into tornados like seen in movies and on television. The most extreme part of it, Kridler said, is the driving.
It’s also about safety. Since storm chasers are often the first to see a tornado, they also report their sighting to the National Weather Service.
“It’s a really humbling experience,” Kridler said
Kridler's storm chasing adventures can be found at www.skydiary.com.