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Brent Koops

Location: Orange City , IA
Started Chasing: 2008
Tornadoes: 30-40
Web site:

Bio: Hi! I’m Brent Koops. I grew up in a small town in western Kansas. I enjoy nature, landscape, and storm photography. My favorite images are those I’ve taken of violent storms on the plains of the United States. I have a sense of humor that sometimes shows in my photography, so I encourage you to notice those pictures. Thank you for your interest in my work.

Favorite Storm Chasing Photos

Favorite Chase Video

Chaser Q&A

How did you realize your love for weather?

I’ve been told I was born in a thunderstorm. Growing up in Kansas, I distinctly remember a dust storm in 1989 and the news footage of a Wichita news crew on April 27, 1991, at the age of 8.

When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?

As soon as I was old enough to drive, I started chasing.

How long have you been actively chasing?

Since 2008, actively, so, 7 years.

Do you chase for a reason?

Primarily for footage and documenting extreme weather.

Do you see passion as a good or bad thing?

Quite good.

Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?

Depends on the day.

Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?


How do you feel about the current state of storm chasing?

I’m comfortable with it.

Which era of chasing would you prefer to exist? Old-school or new-school?

New because of the better technology in various equipment necessary for the hobby.

How far are you willing to travel for a good set up?

300-400 miles typically.

What are your favorite areas to chase?

Kansas to South Dakota

Least favorite?

Minnesota / Wisconsin

What is you favorite type of set up to chase?

April June Deep low/high shear

Least favorite?

Surging cold fronts / cold core setups

What is your most memorable chase?

April 14, 2012 Oxford, NE where we were 100 yards away from an EF-0 rope or June 16, 2014 1/2 mile away from the twin Pilger, NE EF4 tornadoes.

Least memorable?

Any busts

Have you ever feared for your life?

Once, April 9, 2011 Arthur Iowa after dark.

Are you afraid to make dangerous maneuvers while chasing? (I.E core punching/hook slicing/living in the bears cage)

I prefer not to.

Do you have any superstitions?


Would you sacrifice a salaried job with full benefits, but only 2 weeks out of the year to chase for a paycheck to paycheck life with unlimited chasing?

No, I’d rather chase good setups as they come along.

Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?


Have you ever been to ChaserCon?


Are you more likely to hang out with other chasers while waiting for initiation, or sit alone on a country road watching the sky?

Half and half

What is your favorite storm chase and why?

A LP supercell visually more interesting to photograph.

What date burns in you (think bust) and why?

May 5, 2012 – It was a moderate risk day and as I recall a forcing mechanism didn’t show up.

Do you always know why you made the wrong or right decisions to chase a particular day?

I’ve learned a great deal about forecasting since I started actively chasing. I feel I have a pretty good grasp on days that will produce
over days that don’t.

How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology?[/b

Self -taught / taught by other chasers

Do you consider the day a success even if you don’t witness a tornado?

Very much so.

Do you feel short changed if you see a tornado from a greater distance to you than you prefer?


How do you feel about the post “Storm Chaser” generation?

I don’t feel like we’ve hit that yet with new movies like “Into the Storm,” but there will always be a type of people that are fascinated by weather and chasing.

Do you feel like the scientific community should get the same respect as emergency vehicles around storms?

I don’t know if I would say the “same respect,” but definitely some respect. Of course there are exceptions on both sides but for the most part, those who are chasing are there because they know what they’re doing.

How you do you feel about the media in regards to the weather and chasing?

They’re gonna be there, that’s just a part of it.

Who are the most influential people to you out in the field?

My peers in the chasing community.

Would you considering getting your children into storm chasing?

Eventually, when they’re old enough.

If you didn’t know anything about storm chasing, how would you react if your child said they wanted to be a chaser?

Probably tell them it’s too dangerous!

What do you fear most about a storm?

Being struck by lightning, dead ends, rain-wrapped tornadoes, or flooded roads.

What type of storm do you prefer to chase? (Ugly HP/sculpted LP/classic/squall line)

Sculpted LP

Do you stop your progress toward a storm for a great photography opportunity?

Briefly, yes.

How do you feel about law enforcement immediately around a tornadic supercell?

They have a job to do, that’s all part of the event.

Should storm chasers feel more entitled to be around storms than law enforcement or locals?

I don’t know that they should feel entitled but they’re more aware and trained on what to look for than law enforcement as that’s what chasers specialize in.

Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?


Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?


How long do you plan on chasing?

Until I’m dead.

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