When it comes to getting engaged, you might picture it happening in a fancy restaurant or on a romantic holiday? But what about the foot of a tornado?
Storm chaser Joey Krastel couldn’t think of a better (or more exhilarating) way to propose to his boyfriend.
As a meteorologist and risk analyst for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, Krastel saw his first tornado when he was four. Once he got over the fear, he became obsessed with natural disasters, which for most of us, is a pretty bizarre concept.
The 27-year-old told NBC News:
It was at that moment where I knew everything I wanted to do from then on out.
Every meteorologist has a weather story from when they were little that defined their path.
But Krastel wasn’t satisfied watching tornadoes from far away and decided he needed to be in the thick of them and so his journey as a storm chaser began.
A storm chaser is someone who runs towards storms and documents cataclysmic weather events like thunderstorms and twisters. Krastel says he’s chased around 70 storms so far.
And that’s how he met his now fiancé, Chris Scott, a fellow storm enthusiast. Scott’s favourite film as a child was Twister, an iconic tale about a storm chasers, and he used to watch storms with his father.
After following each other on Instagram for some time, 23-year-old Scott finally decided to message Krastel asking ‘hey, do you actually chase tornadoes?’
That’s why it was always in the back of my mind to get engaged during storm chasing. I felt like it would be this perfect way to seal the deal.
On Tuesday, the thrill-seeking pair headed to catch a tornado in Kansas, the very same storm that prompted the National Weather Service.
They started their journey in Salina, Kansas, and ended up following the storm to Tipton, where Krastel got down on one knee.
It all just kind of came together and happened so quickly, I was like ‘okay, this is it.’
The couple’s friends caught the moment on camera, capturing the big grey tornado looming in the background.
Sharing the moment on Twitter, Krastel wrote: ‘The 2 loves of my life.’
While the photo shows the pair terrifyingly close to the storm, Krastel said the picture doesn’t reflect how close they actually were to the tornado.
I called to my friends to get back in the car. I was just so emotional just because it was my happiest place, being with him next to the storms.
While no deaths have been reported as a result of the Kansas storm, at least 15 people were injured, according to the Douglas County Office of Emergency Management.
Storm chasing is a dangerous game, but Krastel says safety is his main priority.
People need to listen to the warnings and listen to the National Weather Service and their local meteorologists.
They know what they’re talking about and their only goal is to save you.
Every storm offers a new opportunity for data, for personal experience, for science.
Now we’re on our way down through Oklahoma and then we’ll be making our way to northern Texas to catch some storms.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.