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Justin Hoyt

Location: Manhattan, KS
Started Chasing: 2006
Tornadoes: 43
Web site:

Bio: I’ve been chasing since 2006, when I was first able to drive a car, after loving storms for nearly my entire life. I chased off and on until 2010 when I started to take it a lot more seriously. Since then my hobby turned into an intense passion that I never plan to give up. I also travel quite a bit as driving photography is one of my favorite things to do.

Favorite Storm Chasing Photos

Chaser Q&A

How did you realize your love for weather?

When I was 3 years old (1993), my parents had the TV on, and while they were doing something else I had inadvertently turned it to the Weather Channel, and they were showing tornado footage from the Andover tornado. The rest is history.

When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?

I’m not entirely sure, but it was definitely before I was 10 years old. The 1999 Moore tornado may have fueled that.

How long have you been actively chasing?

Since I received my learner’s driving permit at the age of 15. I would convince my mom to come with me so I could chase storms back then.

Do you chase for a reason?

I’ve never really thought about that question before. Do any of us have a reason? Chasing storms just feels like instinct now, and the only reason that could be applicable is passion.

Do you see passion as a good or bad thing?

I don’t see passion as a bad thing at all. It’s what fuels our desire to do what we do.

Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?

It varies. I have a few close friends that I really enjoy chasing with, but I also enjoy chasing solo quite a bit. When chasing solo, you don’t have to worry about messing a chase up for other people that are with you.

Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?

No answer

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

It seems like there are just too many people now, but then I have to remind myself that many of those new people could have the same passion as I do, and I have no right to impede that. I also don’t like the small number of people who chase dangerously (this does not include people like Timmer, but the random immature “chasers” that drive dangerously and put others at risk).

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

I think I’m kind of a hybrid. I would love to chase in the era where very few people did it, and I prefer some old-school methods, such as paper maps, chasing exclusively on visual cues, etc. However, I can’t discount the value of how much mobile data has made our lives easier.

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

I’m willing to travel >>800 miles one way for a good setup, greater distance for great setups.

What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?

My favorite areas to chase are western Kansas and western Nebraska. My least is any place with too many trees, but Oklahoma is rising on that list due to how many people there are during a chase.

What is your favorite type of set up to chase? Least favorite?

My favorite would be dryline setups. I abhor most warm front setups as they usually end up in grungy messes.

What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?

My most memorable would likely be the 2013 El Reno tornado.

Have you ever feared for your life?

No answer

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

Not at all for the most part. I’m mostly afraid of making poor road choices.

Do you have any superstitions?

No answer

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?

I’m not in either of those positions, but if I were, I would probably put chasing somewhat over work.

Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?


Have you ever been to ChaserCon?

Yes, in 2012 and 2013.

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

If I I have other people chasing with my, I’m more likely to hang out with other chasers we find. However, when chasing solo, I usually keep to myself, but other chasers are welcome to stop and say hi.

What is your favorite storm chase and why?

I think that the Pilger day is my favorite chase. I got to witness a historic event that will likely not happen again for a while.

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

May 20, 2013. My friend and I had stayed in OKC that night, and remained there most of the day. At around 1:30 PM that afternoon, we decided to ignore the outflow boundary over OKC and moved down to Blanchard to be ready for any storms that would fire south. We saw the storm form near Newcastle, and immediately headed north. However, we were about 10 minutes too late, as we arrived just in time to witness the tornado rope out.

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

No answer

How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology?

I’m not sure, it was a mixture of observation and self-teaching, but it just all gradually accumulated to what I know now.

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

Certainly, many other factors, such as large hail, fantastic structure, all validate a chase.

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

Not really, but I do get somewhat jealous when someone gets fantastic photos from close up.

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

I don’t feel that I could accurately since I started chasing in that era. However, it was not the show that got me into chasing.

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

No answer

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

I have mixed feelings about that. I’m a stringer for KDR Media, which is a great broker, and a local chaser for Kansas First News. However, the media loves undercutting our hard work with their “Send us your photos for free and we will show your name on air” campaigns, and it frustrates me.

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

No answer

Would you considering getting your children into storm chasing?

If I ever had children, I would more than likely want them to enjoy chasing.

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

No answer

What do you fear most about a storm?

Honestly, lightning is probably what I fear most. Not in a phobic sense, or for my body being struck, but for lightning hitting my vehicle at critical moments, for example, repositioning around a tornado and everything electronic in the car getting ruined and unable to move.

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

It’s a toss-up between LP and Classic. I absolutely hate HP supercells.

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

If I do, it’s a very, very quick stop.

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

I feel that law enforcement would be more useful if they had advanced training for up close encounters with storms.

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

Absolutely not towards law enforcement, as far as “entitlement” goes. As for the locals, they are the biggest danger. It does frustrate me, however, when officers feel they need to “protect” us from the storm.

Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?

Yes, my income is primarily from day trading, and makes a good living.

Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?

Initially, not really. My parents did reluctantly support my passion when I first started, but now they love it. My wife misses me while chasing, but streaming and Spotter Network has made it easier for her.

How long do you plan on chasing?

Until I’m dead or blind, whichever comes first.

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