Eye on the Storm

“There’s something that’s very relaxing about watching a storm just spinning away over the high plains of Colorado and watching it drop hailstones,” says John Allen. Credit: Brad Hannon
Storm clouds gather near El Reno, Okla., in May, 2013. Credit: John Allen
Storm chasers learn to take close calls in stride. Once, south of La Junta, Colo., both of John Allen’s back tires blew out as a tornado bore down. No one stopped to offer a ride. Credit: Brad Hannon
Huge lightning strikes near Graham, Texas in May, 2012. Storm chasers are the safest people to be in a car with when a storm strikes, says Allen. Credit: John Allen
Having a thorough understanding of how storms work means that Allen rarely encounters hail unless he chooses to do so. “A lot of people take hail dents as a matter of pride, whereas I think it’s stupid to get hail dents on your car for no particular reason." Credit: John Allen
Near El Reno, Okla., in May, 2013. “There is this tendency that people go for the ultimate viewing angle, which in some storms happens to be unsafe,” says Allen. “The reality is that the arms race market of video for trying to get closer and closer has to come to an end.” Credit: John Allen
A supercell drops rain over farmland in Oklahoma, 2012. Credit: John Allen
A tornado near La Cross, Kan., in May, 2012. Credit: John Allen