Name: Danny Neal
Hometown/Current: Evergreen Park/Plainfield, IL
College of DuPage (2005-2007) Meteorology
Moraine Valley CC (2008-2009) Fire Sciences
Penn State University (2014) Meteorology
American Military University (2015) Emergency Management
Hello everyone! My path into a meteorological profession was unconventional to say the least, but I wouldn’t change the experiences I’ve had for the world. To begin, my interest in severe weather was sparked on August 28th, 1990. This is when the strongest tornado ever recorded in the month of August tore through Plainfield, Illinois during the late afternoon. This F5 tornado killed 29 people and wiped out a majority of the town. I didn’t live in Plainfield at the time, but my experience with the tornado’s aftermath defined the person I would become. Long story short the tornado that hit in 1990 led me to believe that any thunderstorm could produce that kind of tornado. Every time it stormed I would be sent into a fit of fear and anxiety. For the next eight years of my life, the fear of all types of weather defined me. It wasn’t until 1998 that I overcame my fear and began to realize the awesome beauty and earned great respect for Mother Nature’s fury. I have traveled the country in search of Mother Nature’s best and worst weather. Since my first storm chase in 1998, I have documented 116 tornadoes and experienced some of the strongest storms ever recorded. Tornadoes are what peaks my interest in severe weather, but a storm chase that does not end with a tornado intercept isn’t considered a failure. Sometimes just going out there and being away from the hustle and bustle of the city is just what the doctor ordered. Some of the strongest tornadoes I have documented are the May 20th, 2013: Moore, OK EF-5, the June 17th, 2010: Albert Lea, MN EF-4, and the May 22nd, 2010: Bowdle, SD EF-4.
Storm chasing is done with a selfish motive. I am drawn to the power of Mother Nature and to try to get as close as reasonably possible to a tornado to document it. With that being said, storm chasing can be quite dangerous and cause catastrophic damage to human and property alike. For this reason I had taken a strong interest in preparedness and emergency medical training. Often times storm chasers are the first ones to stumble upon a damage scene. It is important to be trained on how to treat basic injuries and to do a scene size up to let other resources know the magnitude of the disaster. I feel confident knowing I can provide basic aid to those that need it should I encounter another situation that calls for such. As I alluded to above, storm chasing is done with selfish motives. I don’t go out chasing thinking I am going to save lives and define my chasing as “doing it for saving lives.” I do my part in the warning process by submitting accurate and timely reports to the National Weather Service. I highly encourage everyone to take a basic spotter training course hosted by your local weather forecast office!
Outside of storm chasing, I am the co-owner of Illinois Storm Chasers with my business partner Adam Lucio. We began storm chasing together in 2007 and have been through a lot of situations together. He was the perfect choice in doing business with since we both have the same knowledge, experience, and passion for severe weather. Illinois Storm Chasers is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration backed business that provides daily weather forecasts, severe weather information, as well as breaking weather reports. Our social media page is the largest meteorology based weather page in the state of Illinois. I try to provide the timeliest, accurate, and most understandable weather forecasts that I can. For this reason my credibility among weather forecasters in the state of Illinois has grown and I am humbled by the opportunity I have been given by so many individuals to bring me into their lives on a daily basis.
Among the greatest of opportunities received, our organization Illinois Storm Chasers LLC has been locally backed by the National Weather Service Chicago. We have received the “Weather Ready Nation Ambassador” tag from NOAA and strive to bring public awareness, training, and education to the impacts of severe weather. My weather page is a centralized hub for people to come to when severe weather approaches to get the latest forecasts, watches, and warnings. My efforts have been applauded by numerous entities including the local television, newspaper, and professional weather community. I don’t do the weather for fame. I only do it for awareness and to help spread the goals and mission of the National Weather Service. For this reason I have taken a volunteer position on the National Weather Service Chicago’s Social Media team. When severe weather threatens the area, I routinely come into the weather service and monitor their social media feeds and occasionally post warnings to everyone that is looking for the latest severe weather information. I also have the opportunity to assist their meteorologists with post severe weather activities such as damage surveys. Since early 2015 I have surveyed several tornadoes across the Chicago warning area. I am proud and honored to be able to help the NWS in any way possible. I am not a NOAA employee, but one day hope to have the opportunity.
I am happy to provide my expertise and services to any and every person that needs weather information. Please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns about the weather.