Danny Neal – Owner/Severe Weather Operations
Danny overcame an immense fear of severe weather to build the largest resource in social media weather that the state of Illinois has to offer. Over the past five years Danny has dedicated his life to bringing severe weather education and awareness to his over 200,000 followers. Danny has a background in meteorology from the College of DuPage and Penn State University. Danny has documented over 115 tornadoes over his twenty years of storm chasing. Danny volunteers his time at the National Weather Service Chicago during severe weather events as well as assists with the training of storm spotters and surveying past tornado events.
Adam Lucio – Owner/Storm Chasing Operations
Adam has been fascinated with severe storms his whole life and an active chaser since 2004. Adam has witnessed more than 120 tornadoes in his life and has been featured on “Storm Hunters” as well as numerous media outlets. Adam is self taught with regard to the weather and is one of the better forecasters and storm chasers around today. Among Adam’s accomplishments, he has driven the Tornado Intercept Vehicle featured in the Discovery Channels hit series “Storm Chasers.” Adam founded Illinois Storm Chasers with fellow co-owner Danny Neal in February 2014, but officially launched the site January 1st, 2015.
Severe Weather Specialist: Joe Pudlik – T.A.M. Forecaster
Joe grew up with a strong interest and passion for weather. This passion for weather has grown through the years which landed him a position at Illinois Storm Chasers in 2017. He has been storm chasing since 2010 and has witnessed at least 38 tornadoes during that time, including the Moore, Oklahoma EF-5 on May 20th, 2013, and Rochelle/Fairdale, Illinois EF-4 tornado on April 9th, 2015. He is self-taught with regard to meteorology and has an additional interest and knowledge in historical and record weather statistics and events. Joe will contribute a lot of time to creating a severe weather database on the Illinois Storm Chaser website.
Winter Weather Specialist: Matt Piechota
Matt has always been fascinated with the weather, but specifically his expertise is drawn to wintry weather. Matt officially observes weather at O’Hare Airport, but also assists with severe weather education at the College of DuPage. He is has chased for eight years and has nearly 50 tornadoes documented while guiding storm chasing tours with the College of DuPage. Matt has documented the twin EF-4 tornadoes near Pilger, Nebraska as well as the Washburn, Rochelle, and Elmwood, Illinois tornadoes of recent past. Matt joins Illinois Storm Chasers in 2017 to become their best overall winter weather forecaster while also contributing to live storm chasing video logs from the field.
Climate Forecaster: Chris Slone – Meteorologist
Chris grew up in Calhoun and Jersey counties, in the southwestern corner of the state, in the hill country just outside of St. Louis. He currently lives in Alton. Weather has been a passion since he was a little tot with barely the ability to say ‘meteorologist’. Chris followed that passion directly into an early career with the US Navy just before 9/11, supporting America’s Finest with real-time weather support to our pilots, special forces and ships at sea in both the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns. After 6 years, he decided to pursue a degree to top off the experience and graduated at Northern Illinois University in 2011. He has stayed engaged in the weather field ever since, taking time to do storm chases and continuing to gain experience in long range forecasting. In 2017 Chris joined Illinois Storm Chasers as staff meteorologist with an emphasis on long range forecasting and seasonal climate summaries.
Northern Illinois: Jeff Kilburg – Meteorologist
Jeff always had a fascination with weather, and growing up in Plainfield, he experienced a variety of severe weather. Although he does not remember the historic Plainfield tornado from his childhood, that was an event that pushed him to pursue a degree in Meteorology. He graduated in 2012 from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Meteorology along with a Certificate in GIS. Jeff’s focuses in meteorology have been centered around extreme temperatures in the Chicagoland area, as well as solar radiation and its impacts on agriculture in northern IL. His first storm chasing experience was a trip with the College of Dupage, and although they never saw a tornado that trip (2009), he was determined to continue his hobby. On 04/19/2011, he made a trip with fellow T.A.M Forecaster, Joe Pudlik, as well as Climate Forecaster, Chris Slone to the Litchfield, IL area. It was a Moderate Risk day, and although it started out disappointing, it was that trip that Jeff witnessed his first tornado. It is not often that Jeff gets to chase, but if available, and events occur nearby, he is usually quietly cruising the backroads of northern IL. Jeff’s professional background is quite extensive, and covers everything from Meteorology, to HVAC. He has spent time as a manager at a financial institution, where he gained valuable knowledge on business, as well as innovation. From there, Jeff worked as a GIS Technician for an electrical engineering firm based out of Oak Brook, IL. Now, he works as an estimator for a mechanical contractor based out of Aurora, IL. Jeff resides near Newark, IL with his wife where he enjoys spending time with his wife and family. Along with meteorology, Jeff also enjoys photography and the outdoors.
Central Illinois: Greg Soliday – Geographer/Geospatial Analyst
Greg was born in Bloomington, IL and after moving around a bit, ultimately ended up back where he started. He graduated from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville in 2014 with a Master of Science in Geography and an Area of Specialization in Meteorology/Climatology and GIS. Greg’s Master’s thesis was titled “The Connection Between the Arctic Oscillation and Wintertime Climatology for the Midwest and Tennessee Valley Regions of the US (1971-2010)”. Greg’s passion for weather started well before his schooling. At a young age, he became fascinated with weather and has documented storms and studied meteorology for the majority of his life. At the mercy of his parents, Greg started chasing storms as soon as he obtained his permit. Furthermore, Greg has been actively forecasting and chasing storms for over 10 years. He recently documented the strong EF-4 tornado that left a 50.4 mile long path of destruction across southern, IL February 28, 2017. Additionally, he documented the historic lake effect snow event that buried several Buffalo, NY southtowns under more than 60” of snow over a 48 hour period from November 17-19, 2014
Southern Illinois: Billy Reed – Meteorologist
Billy grew up in Bunker Hill (a small town in the west-central part of the state) and currently lives in Alton. He has been passionate about the weather for as long as he can remember. He read any weather-related book he could get his hands on. This desire to learn led him into graduate school at Mississippi State University where he earned a M.S. in Applied Meteorology. He has used the knowledge he has gained over the years to chase severe weather and winter weather all over the United States. Most notably, he chased the powerful EF-4 tornado that ravaged the southern part of the state Feb. 28, 2017 and has seen 42”of snow from a lake-effect snowstorm in the U.P. of Michigan. Additionally, Billy is equally passionate about space weather and hopes to share his interest with us here at Illinois Storm Chasers.