KILLEEN, TX — When most run for cover, the South Central Storm Chasers stare down barreling tornadoes.
A group of 15 members pursue severe weather to see mother nature’s fury.
“The rush is sky high. It’s indescribable really,” said Steven Ramirez.
His passion for following severe weather began at a young age.
“When the Jarrell tornado happened, I was in the seventh grade. I remember seeing everything on the news, the devastation, so I became fascinated with weather so I started,” Ramirez said.
JohnJohn Montelongo’s love for photography led him to join South Central Storm Chasers. He says capturing nature photos can help tell a story. With each storm, they find new narratives.
“The emotion is already there for you and so going out there and you see a big cloud formation and you see all the rain and you see the build up already telling you without having to read it. Even for someone that isn’t into weather you can still see the story,” said Montelongo.
The group is ready to put the camera down and assist in rescue missions when needed. Most recently, they helped when they saw the scar a tornado left behind just a couple weeks ago.
“We saw that somebody had passed and me being, seeing that the first time doing this type of work, it will stay with you and it’s an eyeopener of what something like that can do,” said Montelongo.
There are inherent dangers when hunting severe weather. However, they say they do take precautions to ensure safety.
“Don’t take mother nature lightly, you never know what she’s going to throw at you,” said Ramirez.