Storm Chaser Interview: Savannah Weingart – Twister Hunter

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Name: Savannah Weingart

Storm chasing name: Twister Hunter 

What influenced you to start storm chasing? 

Weingart: I grew up near Jarrell, Texas. Seeing firsthand what the F5 tornado did to that town in May 1997 had a huge impact on my life. 

How many storm chases have you been on and what’s your favourite to date?

Weingart: I have lost count years ago. Easily in the hundreds. My favorite chase was the Bennington, Kansas tornado on May 28, 2013.

During a chase, what excites you the most?

Weingart: The longer I’ve chased, the harder it’s gotten to get excited. It’s also been a pretty slow spring with a lot of driving, so I’m probably a little jaded right now.

What is the most dangerous thing you’ve had to deal with whilst chasing?

Weingart: Jason and Matt Phelps lol. I’m just kidding, mostly. They’re really good at what they do but they like to get a little closer than I want to. 

Photo credit: Savannah Weingart – Twister Hunter

– LET’S DISCUSS CHASING IN DETAIL –

When do you start planning for a chase?

Weingart: Usually the night before or even the morning of. It’s a little different running the tours, we are out here regardless of the pattern so it’s always just about getting to where we need to be that day. 

What steps do you take to plan out where your severe weather (tornado) target will be?

Weingart: It depends on what region we are chasing. Sometimes terrain or road networks dictate the target as much as the forecast itself. The HRRR is pretty good but we like to see what models like the NAM3k and Texas Tech WRF think about the day. 

What do you take when you go chasing?

Weingart: I’m alone in my Silverado this year as a follow vehicle for our tornado tours. I tried to keep it simple. Right now I have my camera equipment, backup Go Pro on the dash, lots of comfortable clothes, and extra shoes (including boots in case I get in a particularly muddy situation). I also keep a Yeti cooler in the covered bed of my truck. But most importantly, I have plenty of Spotify playlists for the long drives.

What equipment do you use to chase?

Weingart: I have a DJI Mavic Pro 3 and a Canon RP with 16mm, 24-105mm, and 100-400mm lenses. 

Photo credit: Savannah Weingart – Twister Hunter

If someone wants to start chasing, what should they learn or do and what should they expect?
Weingart: They need to learn from someone with experience. It’s really dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Traffic, distracted drivers, wet roads. There are so many hazards out there beyond the storms. 

Stay tuned to Discover Tornadoes for more tornado news, information, and more. Stay tuned for more storm chaser interviews.

If you’re a storm chaser and would love to be interviewed! Email us at discovertornadoes@gmail.com.

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