‘A tornado dropped me off here’: Nick Palisch on weather, storm chasing and students

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You’re welcome to ride along with Nick Palisch as he chases storms.

Just know that no one comes back for seconds.

There was that time in April 2011, for example, when the now-director of student and alumni services for the University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Optometry realized conditions were favorable for good weather – tornado weather. After work, he gathered up some interested friends, and they headed out on Interstate 70.

“We could see the wall clouds starting to form,” he recalled. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s really going to happen.’”

They caught the tornado, an EF4, before St. Louis Lambert International Airport, where it went on to rip through Terminal C as well as the Missouri cities of Bridgeton, Maryland Heights and Berkeley before dissipating in Illinois. It was the strongest and most devastating St. Louis-area tornado since 1967.

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