Do The Twist(er): Local Musician Chases Storms For Fun and Profit.

Hank Schyma doesn't come off as insane... until you see his videos.

Even though he earns money from his exploits, Schyma tries to model his behavior after that of the old-school chasers who risked their lives for a purpose, not just for the thrill of facing a tornado, the ones who eschewed gadgets, gizmos and oversize vehicles.

He knows storm chasing is dangerous work, that it's risky to go find the beginnings of a bad storm and sit in the middle of it to see if the churning clouds above him will spill out a funnel cloud. Like all chasers, Schyma counts on being able to get out of the way when a tornado approaches. He tries to stay away from cities, where there'll be a lot of other vehicles trying to chase or outrun a storm. Still, a blown tire or a wrong turn can be a life-ending mistake, which is what makes storm chasing such an insane pursuit. And yet Schyma persists.

"You're running for your life every time. You're literally running from death," he said. "It happens so often that you start to become cocky. That's where we have to constantly remind ourselves this thing will kill you. You will die if you aren't careful."

Hank Schyma, front man for Houston band the Southern Backtones, has been chasing storms for more than a decade and says he's determined to keep doing it, despite the recent deaths of storm chasers in El Reno, Oklahoma.
Chelsea Flickinger
Hank Schyma, front man for Houston band the Southern Backtones, has been chasing storms for more than a decade and says he's determined to keep doing it, despite the recent deaths of storm chasers in El Reno, Oklahoma.
Click here to view Schyma's dramatic footage of the tornado that claimed Tim Samaras's life.
Courtesy of Hank Schyma
Click here to view Schyma's dramatic footage of the tornado that claimed Tim Samaras's life.

For more on storm chasing, make sure to check out this week's cover story, The Dark Wall: Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras's Last Ride.

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