Helping People in the Path of Destruction

Jul 19, 2019

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Helping People in the Path of Destruction

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When a string of 29 tornadoes hit Illinois on Dec. 1, 2018, two storm chasers helped get the word out with their team’s MVP: OnStar.

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When a string of 29 tornadoes hit Illinois on Dec. 1, 2018, two storm chasers helped get the word out with their team’s MVP: OnStar.

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The weather of Dec. 1, 2018, will live in infamy for many Illinois residents. A week after early blizzards hammered the Midwest, an unusual string of 29 tornadoes hit the state within about 24 hours. According to the National Weather Service, it was the largest December tornado outbreak since 1957.

Instead of taking shelter that day, Indiana residents Aaron Brogan and Kayla Fuller ventured into the middle of the storm as members of the Live Storm Chasers team. “We want to be in the field, hands-on, always,” Fuller says.

“We’re going out there to document the storm and for public safety,” Brogan adds.

The couple live and breathe meteorology. Their first date was chasing a storm together, and they even named their dog Nader after the tornadoes they chase.

The pair shoot and post video to document storms, allowing scientists to study the weather dynamics. They also alert authorities to exact locations of tornado touchdowns so nearby residents can be warned. That’s why OnStar has become a go‑to service for helping their team and community. On Dec. 1, as the third tornado they saw that day touched down near LeRoy, Illinois, Brogan pushed his 2017 Chevrolet Cruze’s red Emergency button*16a to report it. OnStar alerted the local police while Brogan and Fuller captured footage of the tornado with their phones.

“We were out all day and night. The most rewarding thing, at the end of the day, is being able to help people,” Brogan says. “I can rely on OnStar to know where we are when we push the button. Plus, we know OnStar [Advisors are] there in case we get into trouble.”

Member Aaron Brogan used OnStar to report a tornado touchdown.