Tornado warning

Arlington is known for many things, but most residents are surprised to discover that it is also headquarters of one of the more successful storm chasing companies in the country – Tempest Tours.

Note the word “tours.” Yes, people pay to follow twisters around the country.

Tempest Tours owner Martin Lisius – he’s also a famed videographer of tornados and hurricanes – and his tornado-chasing sidekick Kim George will present the Jan. 14 Arlington on Tap, the popular downtown happy-hour-with-a-talk series. Lisius and George will bring with them some of the best footage ever captured of tornado alley, that stretch of storm-tossed America that runs north from Texas through Iowa.

“Storm chasing has always been a fascination for me,” says Downtown Arlington CEO Maggie Campbell. Downtown Arlington Management sponsors “Tap” along with the Arlington Historical Society and media sponsor Arlington Today Magazine. “This should be one of our most fascinating Arlington on Tap events, and we’ve had some great speakers.”

Lisius, a University of Texas at Arlington TV grad, has been making a living for many years both filming violent weather and finding footage shot by other photographers. His company, StormStock, has for two decades been the go-to site for movie and advertising directors who need high-quality weather footage.

Lisius – in the business he’s often called “The Storm Whisperer” – is an award-winning filmmaker himself, frequently also consulting on movie projects, such as the blockbuster film “Twister,”  starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton.

He’s also considered the primary inventor of extremely high-resolution 16K video filming.

He began tracking storms in the mid-1980s and has produced several television programs relating to severe weather including “Chasing the Wind” (1991), and “The Chases of Tornado Alley” (1995).  He co-produced “Storm Watch” for the National Weather Service, which employs it nationwide as the organization’s official storm-spotter training video.

In 1998, Lisius photographed the first-ever violent class tornado on 35 mm motion picture film at Spencer, S.D. In 1999, Lisius teamed with Chevy Trucks to help create their storm chaser commercial for S-10 pickups.

George will be presenting the Arlington on Tap session with Lisius.  She has been with the team for five seasons and chased storms in the Low and High Plains. She’s a trained storm spotter and coordinator for the Texas Severe Storms Association’s National Storm Conference, an event dedicated to severe weather safety education.

The time and place: 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, Legal Draft, 500 E. Front St.