Sean Casey, star of the hit Discovery Channel documentary series "Storm Chasers," was in Topeka with a film crew and his Tornado Intercept Vehicle to raise money for the Joplin, Mo., tornado relief effort, a fundraiser which began for the team in Nebraska.
"We've just passed the $8,000 mark," said Casey. "Those are funds that we've been raising over the past 10 days for Joplin, Missouri. We started in Omaha and we were actually at the Storm Chaser baseball game. So we did the benefit there, then we went to the zoo, then we went to Fred's Frozen Custard for the third day."
"Our goal was $10,000 but I think we're going to be coming in more like $9,000, so we'll have to do one more event before we head to Joplin," said Casey.
Casey began chasing storms in 1999 for a documentary called Forces of Nature, and said the idea for his Tornado Intercept Vehicle was largely about finding a way to get in the middle of the storm to take high quality video. The TIV, a converted tank which was designed by the team, weighs 14,000 pounds and has spikes that slam into the ground to anchor the vehicle in strong winds.
"The idea was to get footage that no one had gotten before and to get as close as we could with an IMAX camera, so building a moveable 14,000-pound tripod to get those shots," said Casey.