I’m a professional storm hunter. I found myself in a building as it was demolished, but I always plan an escape route.

Aaron Rigsby has been chasing storms for more than a decade.CNN

  • Aaron Rigsby makes a living by predicting and filming extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

  • He rushes to the scenes to get shots of the storms that can be used by the news media.

  • That’s why he’s thinking about documenting increasingly extreme weather issues, “he told Hayden Vernon.

This essay is based on an interview with Aaron Rigsby, a 28-year-old full-time hurricane hunter from Ohio. It has been processed for reasons of scope and clarity.

The funny thing is that as a child I was afraid of storms.

Eventually, that fear turned into interest, that interest turned into passion, and I was lucky enough to turn that passion into a career.

In June 2010 a small tornado struck Marysville, Ohio, where I grew up

Seeing what the extreme weather could do lit up something inside me and I knew I wanted to start chasing the storm.

I started by taking pictures of lightning and took a course to learn the basics of “locating” – the process of monitoring the onset of severe weather, monitoring its evolution and transmitting the findings to local authorities.

They teach you what to look for – wall clouds, shelf clouds. what it looks like when a tornado comes. I learned that there was a way to predict these things and that they are not as scary as I came up with them.

The devastation they leave behind can be frightening, but I think it is important to document it.

In 2013 I signed with a broker, Live Storms Media. They market my videos to news agencies and reduce their profit by 40%. As time went on, I would make a few more sales each year, but nothing significant.

At the beginning of 2018 I did juggling working in a warehouse with storm tracking

I felt like I had lost my way by sucking on something sustainable, convenient and boring. I re-evaluated and decided to combine my minimalist lifestyle with the career I wanted to pursue.

It was a difficult journey, but I learned a lot about what he did and what he did not do. When I shoot, I try to put myself in the position of the editor and think about what I would like to see in the videos I shoot.

Two tornadoes rage over a lush field with two parked cars in the left foreground

Twin Tornadoes over the Pilger of Nebraska in June 2014.Aaron Rigsby

I’m trying to tell a story, whether it is a bold rescue, a community coming together after a disaster or a dramatic video that no one else has shot.

At some point, instead of addressing other people, opportunities began to come my way. I recently got a concert in a documentary from such an offer.

The bigger the following, the more traction you have and it has a snowball effect

With my broker selling my documentary work and photo prints – and selling my videos to news agencies – I was able to make a storm by chasing my full-time job.

Everyday, daily work can be hectic. I can predict where I think it will have bad weather a few days before it hits. I’m looking at computer models for jet stream troughs, which bring down the Arctic air from Canada and draw moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

I think where I think these two will meet, a location where the best parameters for the formation of tornadoes are located.

On the day of a chase, I use real-time data and surface observations to customize my target area. If there are a lot of storms, I have to decide which one will create the tornadoes, the big hail or any kind of construction I want to have photos of.

As I prepare, I will look ahead for escape routes

Tornadoes can make sudden movements and smaller satellite tornadoes can fall down in front of the main. As you approach, you must look up at the sky. The same goes for hurricanes. It’s a big calculated risk – the last thing you want to do is become part of the problem and get emergency funding from others.

Then, once you start downloading, you need to upload your video quickly. Social media videos from other storm hunters can undermine yours. business can be relentless. It’s not uncommon for me to edit a video while still shooting. I have a streaming video stream.

I have found myself in some hairy situations

The worst was Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas in 2017. The hurricane was almost motionless and produced winds of 130 miles per hour for over an hour.

Our hotel could not stand it and the wind tore the wall of the third floor, the wall of the fourth floor and part of the wall of the second floor. At some point you could lean against the wall and feel the hotel shake.

It was moving so much that the water in the toilet bowl was falling back and forth. When the eye of the hurricane passed over us, it was the most beautiful and scary I have ever seen.

We walked outside and when we looked up, we could see the stars, the galaxy and the “stage effect”, with lightning striking the wall of clouds around the eye of the storm.

I have seen the effects of the climate crisis first hand. From 1992 to 2018, not a single Category 5 hurricane reached land. Class five is the highest intensity level, with constant wind speeds over 157 miles per hour.

Large tornado with greenery and trees in the foreground

A tornado over Chapham, Kansas in May 2016.Aaron Rigsby

From 2018 to 2021, a series of hurricanes of category five fell on land, one of which indirectly affected the USA and another that hit the Bahamas. In addition, we had many Category 4 hurricanes that reached land, including Laura, Ida, and Maria.

The counter-argument is that these things come in circles – but these circles seem to be accelerating.

Many people think that storm hunting is a catastrophe hunt, especially when it comes to profit margins.

High impact events drive the market, but I never like to see losses, to see people lose everything. I feel guilty when I go home and sleep in my bed, but people need to be aware of extreme weather events, especially if they are rising.

I think the demonstration of the strength of these storms brings awareness, so people hope to take the next extreme weather event more seriously.

I’ve been chasing the storm for over a decade now. Videos never do it right, no matter how hard you try. The storm itself is only a small part of what happens: When you can see the whole sky spinning and spinning, it is an eerie experience.

Read the original article in Business Insider

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