The air becomes ominously still. The incessant buzz of insects quiets. The gray clouds start to gather and swirl as sirens sound in the distance.
Texas residents, especially those in North Texas, know the drill. Find cover in a windowless, fortified area and wait for the storm to pass.
But Martin Lisius ’86 takes a different approach. Threatening clouds and tornado sirens are his bread and butter. As founder of Tempest Tours, a storm-chasing business based in Arlington, he guides people on twister safaris. Groups schedule tours at www.tempesttours.com, meet at a base hotel for orientation, then depart on a several-day hunt with tornadoes as targets.
Sounds scary, but Lisius says there’s little risk. “We don’t get into dangerous situations. We get close enough to shoot great pictures, but we never get in a tornado’s path.”
Extreme weather is a passion Lisius has turned into a popular and lucrative business.
“I got a lot of requests from regular folks who wanted to chase with me, but they couldn’t take off work when a chase was coming up. I started Tempest Tours so people can see our schedule a year in advance and arrange for time off, just like they would a cruise or any other tour.”
To date, Tempest Tours has intercepted 160 tornadoes. The growing company has been featured in Entrepreneur magazine, on CNNMoney, and in Subaru’s Drive magazine, and an episode about Tempest Tours aired on The Weather Channel.
Lisius is glad to continue teaching a healthy respect for nature—and to celebrate it with like-minded customers. “Our guests are weather geeks like us. They love weather and are more interested than afraid.”
Alumnus Martin Lisius ’86 takes an entrepreneurial approach to severe weather. Threatening clouds and tornado sirens are his bread and butter. As founder of the storm-chasing business Tempest Tours, he guides people on twister safaris. Groups meet at a base hotel for orientation, then depart on a several-day hunt for tornadoes.