Skip to main content

Extreme Tornado Tours: The Most Exciting Way to See a Storm

extreme tornado tours betty rose s
Danger in pursuit of experiencing natural wonder has long been part of the intrepid traveler ethos and in recent years, come April, more and more thrill seekers are heading to the Midwest, drawn not by what is happening in the plains of those states, but rather what is happening in the sky. Storm chasing, be it epic supercells or tornadoes, from Texas clear to North Dakota, has become one of the highest octane and awe-inspiring experiences a true nature freak could ask for and, given the relatively few number of experts, high risk and high demand, it’s best to start thinking about your storm chasing experience now.

Extreme Tornado Tours, based in Norman, Oklahoma and founded by Discovery Channel’s Reed Timmer, is considered by many to be the top Extreme Weather tour company in the world. Extreme Tornado Tours uses professional meteorologists to lead small groups on seven and ten day adventures across Tornado Alley where visitors from all over the world will likely encounter supercells, lightning strikes, hail storms, sunsets, rainbows, and almost always, the piece de resistance, tornadoes.

Related Videos
Extreme Tornado Tours Storm Chasing

Like anything in nature, it is impossible to predict when and where storms will present themselves, but the staff at Extreme Tornadoes will get you as close to as many storms as possible and you’ll learn a lot and see a lot of the country along the way. So given nature’s unpredictability and the expanse of the entire middle of the US, how does such an adventure work?

“Being in the elements in inclement weather with professionals that chase for a living is a first-hand experience that can be done with relative safety,” says Storm Chaser and Owner/Guide of Extreme Tornado Tours Nick Drieschman. “Not only does a tour give you the ability to partake in safer chasing, they will also be able to get you on the right storms, and show you how they go about it.”

Each spring, guests on either a seven or ten-day tour, arrive to a host city (Oklahoma City or Denver) where they meet the Extreme Tornado team. The team, helmed currently by Drieschman and meteorologist Kevin Rolfs, alongside guides and prominent storm chasers Blake Brown and Christian Cleary, using state of the art tracking technology, have studied the weather patterns predicted over your stay and you set out immediately in the direction of the nearest storm. The entire group is divided up into two groups of six guests, each assigned to one of three vans along with two storm chaser guides.

On a good week, the team might put the group on a large storm system and the group might stay with it as it morphs and changes over the course of several states and several days. Each night the group’s leader will find lodging and accommodations (think Comfort Inn…) in a town along the route. Other times, one supercell might pop up in Nebraska and another in Texas. No tour will ever be alike. All you can count on is that you will be as close to as many incredible storms as possible in the safest possible manner.

Each spacious and comfortable van has a power station so that guests may charge their camera batteries and smart devices. Each van also has on board computer and radar along with a chaser so that guests may watch as the chasers choose their routes based on weather patterns. The four storm chasers have a combined forty years among them chasing storms and are a wealth of knowledge in transport from weather event to weather event.

And while the thrill of seeing a multi-vortex tornado as lightning fires from one side and a rainbow sprouts from the other can be a thrill, chasing is not without its safety risks, both to participants and those affected by the storms. “It’s the bittersweet part of beautiful storms, the damage. Although it is surprisingly rare while chasing with the majority of twisters churning across open country, severe damage can and does happen,” says Drieschman.

When weather is not cooperating, there are a variety of weather oriented activities in which guests can participate in the host city. “On ‘down days’ we have many options and connections for entertainment including tours of The Weather Center, Storm Prediction Center, visiting national parks, amazing museums and famous restaurants featured on TV,” says Drieschman. “We hope to not have many down days, and usually they are used to travel- But we have become well prepared in many years doing this to keep your tours exciting!”

This Scottsdale resort is the perfect golf trip getaway spot if you hate crowds
Escape into the beauty of the Sonoran Desert with The Boulders
The Waterfall at The Boulders Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Hidden on the far north end of Scottsdale, AZ, The Boulders Resort & Spa may not be ideal for travelers who are primarily coming to Phoenix and Scottsdale to eat, drink, and be merry in the region’s hottest and trendiest urban neighborhoods. If you’re looking for a hotel that takes you to the center of the action, you should probably look elsewhere.

However, if you specifically want a resort that lets you escape the stressors of 21st-century life and wander into one of North America’s most spectacularly scenic deserts, it’s hard to think of a better place for your next great escape than this Arizona resort.
The lay of the land

Read more
The most beautiful bars in the U.S. (for those extra Instagram-worthy drink photos)
Some bars are so beautiful we can't help but talk them up. Here are the 10 prettiest bars in all the land
The Multnomah Whiskey Library in Portland has one of the largest selections of rare whiskeys in the nation.

With all respect to dives, haunts, and lounges, there's something to be said for a beautiful bar. The most attractive ones are feats of bar design and places we not only want to imbibe in, but ones where we stare in awe at the many comforting details. With so many great options, deciding on the most beautiful bars in America was not easy.

What separates the elites from the rest? Well, the best bars in America wow us with a combination of outstanding drinks and remarkable service. They tend to excel at those things and offer a certain ambience you just can't find anywhere else. From the architectural details of an old, perfectly maintained structure to brilliant design approaches, these places sing — visually, anyway.

Read more
The 11 best podcasts for long road trips in 2023
Make your drive better with these great podcasts for road trips

Spring is nearly here, which means it's time to start thinking about the great American road trip. Whether you're planning to venture from coast to coast or just a few towns over, you're going to want some quality content to listen to. Enter the podcast, the road trip's best friend.

This is not to say you shouldn't embrace the sounds of the road. Nor should you avoid your fellow passengers or overlook that special quiet you get when you're driving an empty road during the wee hours. But at some point along the way, you might want a little sonic pick me up. That's where the road trip podcast really comes in handy, an audio copilot that will keep your brain running while the odometer ticks away.

Read more