R.I.P., storm chasers

Jul 16, 2013
Joplin, MO
Should Matt Hughes be listed here...
He's already listed in Tim Vasquez's original post at the top:

MATT HUGHES (Jul 31 1979 - May 26 2010). Matt was a prominent celebrity on Discovery's 'Storm Chasers' series. Matt was responsible for placing co-star Sean Case's Tornado Intercept Vehicle close to tornadoes to capture IMAX footage of storms. A police report indicated he Matt had reportedly battled depression, and a police report indicated he been drinking and attempted to hang himself, and he succumbed to the injuries 13 days later.
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John Wetter

SN President
Staff member
Dec 11, 2005
Maple Grove, MN
I'd also like to add:
Michael Stanga (April 29 1987 - February 4 2021). Michael founded the Minnesota Storm Chaser Conference and St. Cloud State Storm Chasing Club and was an active chaser across the central plains for about a decade as well as participated in CoCoRaHS. He was an active proponent of Skywarn and donated video for spotter trainings. He battled brain cancer for 7 years before it finally took his life.
Aug 9, 2012
Macomb, IL
Cory Barnett passed away on Sunday. He was a local spotter/storm chaser here in West Central Illinois. I had run into him a few times chasing about 9 or 10 years ago locally. I don't think he ever did much chasing outside the local area, but always loved storms and seemed like a great, standup guy. Really saddened to hear of his sudden passing, especially at such a young age :'(.

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Dec 23, 2004
Mesquite, TX
JOHNELLE KANANI DANNER (Sep 10 1979 - Jul 7 2021) Kanani lived in Amarillo and was a chaser for KAMR. She loved to chase, having seen over 100 tornadoes in her career. She also worked at the Clements Unit, and was heavily involved with Special Olympics and other advocacy groups.
How sad. I think I met her when we stopped in Amarillo during a chase trip back in April 2007.
Oct 31, 2013
Eastern TX Panhandle
I knew Kanani, and I have to say that she was a hell of a chaser, and was a big asset to KAMR-TV. @Todd Lemery She died of complications of an asthma attack from what I remember. I also worked with her when I was a Corrections officer at the Clements unit in Pampa. Kanani was a high energetic person that absolutely lived to chase storms. May she chase forever, and may she rest in peace.

Jeff Duda

EF6+, PhD
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
Denver, CO
Thanks to those who have provided information and obituaries on the recently-passed. It is a somber activity to have to update that list, but if adding them to this thread helps to honor their memory, then it's the least we can do here at Stormtrack.

Regarding Jim Sellars - his obit is incomplete. Does anyone know if his remains were taken care of as indicated?
May 1, 2005
Orlando, FL
Thanks for notifying us. If you see something like an obituary, please post it here. I was not able to find anything online yet.
Obituaries in Las Cruces, NM | Las Cruces Sun-News appears to validate it.

In addition to him and Levi, you'd also need to add the OU chasers a couple weeks ago (Storm chasers grieve three OU students as severe weather hits) and the Mexican meteorologist who died in an accident during a chase in Minnesota (https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2022/05/12/storm-chaser-accident-minnesota/)

It has been a bad year :(
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