Storm chaser proposes as tornado tracks toward them
By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
June 03, 2019, 3:03:41 PM EDT
This proposal looks like it would be something out of a movie, except this storm chaser made it reality when he popped the question in front of a tornado.
Storm Chaser Joey Krastel went viral after he dropped to his knee to ask his boyfriend, Chris Scott, to marry him as a tornado flew toward them.
Krastel met his now-fiance through their love of storms.
"It was always in the back of my mind to do it once I got to take him out chasing. This year was his first year out there with me," Krastel said.
"When Chris and I met in 2015, storms and tornadoes were the first thing that we bonded over. I have been obsessed with severe weather since seeing my first tornado outside my childhood home outside of Baltimore and have been chasing storms since I got my driver's license," Krastel said.
It has been a busy time for storm chasers after nearly two weeks of severe weather and at least eight tornado reports per day across the United States, so this was the perfect time for Krastel to plan the engagement.
"I brought two other fiends with me and they were in on it, too. So we were chasing a few storms the couple days prior to Tuesday and the moment just wasn’t right yet. I really wanted the movie moment. We forecasted the Tipton, Kansas, area as an outflow boundary from the night before looked super conducive for storm development," Krastel said.
They came up on the storm just as the first few tornadoes were touching down, Krastel knew it would be perfect timing for the proposal he had been dreaming of.
"The cell was looking phenomenal and, the way things were looking, it was about to drop a large, high-contrast tornado. We were in a position watching it approach from the southwest about 6 miles to the east/northeast but I wanted to get much closer. So watching trajectories, we rocketed north on 110 towards Tipton where it came almost right at us," Krastel said.
It was in that location where the whirlwind moment happened when Krastel asked his boyfriend to spend the rest of his life with him.
"I have been in these situations before and we were well aware of escape routes, dangers, and timing. Safety is our absolute first priority. It was coming in beautifully, and so I yelled to my friend who knew where the ring was hidden in my camera equipment, 'Matt! There’s a ring cloud!'” Krastel said.
Krastel said his boyfriend had no idea a ring cloud isn’t a real type of cloud.
"We walked out to the dirt road, and got my movie moment. Chris says the tornado was the proposal itself. He’s been waiting forever, it seems, to see one in person, and what a first tornado for him!" Krastel said.
The tornado was later classified by the national weather service office as an EF2 tornado. According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Travis, no injuries were reported.
"A total of 35 tornado reports were confirmed on May 28, across the states of Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania and New Jersey," Travis said.
Omg we landed and came home to an awesome little engagement party!! Thank you guys!!! pic.twitter.com/7eqWWkH3iw— Joey Krastel (@NimbusStorms) June 2, 2019
Krastel has been interested in natural disasters since he was four years old when he saw his first tornado. Now he is a U.S. meteorologist and risk analyst from Maryland.
"I started chasing out in the Plains in 2011 and he [Chris Scott, his fiance] absolutely loved hearing my stories and watching my tornado and hurricane footage. He grew up loving storms, sitting outside with his dad watching them roll in. His favorite movie was/is Twister," Krastel said.
Krastel said the response has been great; however, the last thing he expected was the proposal and post to go viral.
"All I wanted was to show my family and chase community on the social media platforms that I have, but some have reached out thanking me for showing a positive light," Krastel said.
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Krastel and Scott have received many messages, tweets and comments on social media following the engagement.
"The flip-flops have been brought up a lot which is hysterical! I left my only shoes at the hotel we were at the night before. But I usually wear flip-flops anyway because who wants to deal with wet socks from standing in the rain filming or taking photos. We make sure we have close-toed shoes in case we approach a damage path where we may need to help."
Storm chasers are out there to support the National Weather Service with reports, Krastel said. Reports are crucial to them to verify their watches and warnings and he is excited about all of the weather research right now.
"It is so important to listen to the National Weather Service and their warnings and watches as well as your local meteorologists. They know what they are doing and they are there in your best interest," Krastel said.
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