By Diana Hammell
Jenna Blum, former Caledonia resident and two-time New York Times best-selling author, shared her interest, information and photos of storms with Caledonia High School students on Thursday, May 23.
Blum spent six years researching her latest book, “Storm Chasers,” with the stormchase company, Tempest Tours. Now, after nine years with Tempest, she’s on their crew, teaching storm tourists about weather along with Tempest’s meteorologists and wind specialists.
On the heels of the devastating tornado in Oklahoma City, Caledonia students hung on every word as Blum explained extreme weather. Her beautiful, yet almost scary, photos of tornadoes, lightning and unusual cloud formations illustrated her presentation.
Blum said that her fascination with extreme weather began while living in Caledonia. She was the only member of her family to see, during the middle of the night, a black rope tornado travel across the expanse of a window in her home. She admits to being a Weather Channel addict.
While she travels with professional weather photographer, Jim Reed, Blum’s photographic equipment consists of her iphone. Want to take panoramic photos with your iphone? Blum says there’s an app for that.
One of the photos Blum shared with the students was of a herd of buffalo in a Caledonia blizzard. After the presentation, student Katrina Paulson told Blum that the photo was taken on her uncle, Steve Fruechte’s farm. Blum was pleased to have the opportunity to share the photo with him.
Blum recounted dangerous situations that occurred during her storm chasing adventures, and she stressed that she, and Tempest, always take safety very seriously. She explained about what “Tornado Alley” is, and it’s not just in Kansas anymore, Toto. Minnesota, being part of the Midwest, is also in Tornado Alley.
More on Blum
Blum is currently making Tornado Alley her home. Living in Wichita, Kan., she is writing the screenplay for her novel,
“Those Who Save Us,” is researching her third book and is writing monthly columns for “Grub Daily.”