Tornado Chasers Production Log #3: Joel Taylor Returns

Around the middle of April 2013, the production of Tornado Chasers was in limbo. We’d been on some tough busts already, and only had a skeleton crew. Reed kept our morale high with his enthusiasm and confidence about the season. “This is just a warm up,” he’d always say.

Terry Rosema, invaluable both in front of and behind the camera, had just arrived from Michigan. And another famous member of our crew popped up: Joel Taylor.

Joel, Reed’s well-known chase partner from Storm Chasers, had been a good friend of mine ever since our college days. Along with Reed, Joel was featured in my previous projects, Tornado Glory and Heaven’s Rage. He helped during our Kickstarter podcasts and I was looking forward to him coming back.

In case you’re not aware, Reed and Joel’s chasing relationship was rocky when Storm Chasers ended. Though they remained good friends, they’d finally driven each other up the wall when it came to chasing. Reed’s style was instinctive and aggressive, and Joel’s style was more deliberate and conservative. Joel and Reed “took a break” in 2012, and they were ready to give it another try.

Joel was ready to get back in the Dominator, though with some qualifiers. Because of his professional commitments, Joel only wanted to chase the “bigger” tornado events. Reed, however, wanted his driver to commit to every type of event, no matter the size. This set up an awkward situation where Reed and Joel had different expectations about their partnership.

When Joel joined us for the April 17, 2013 chase, he seemed to be his old chasing self. Except… he was frustrated that Reed’s crew had become such a “circus” and that Reed was on the phone constantly doing live reports. For Joel, chasing is a dedicated hobby that should be savored. For Reed, it’s a career with all of the deadlines and stresses that come along with it.

Even through the tension that day, the “old team” finally saw a tornado after sunset. At least I think we did. Reed was positive he saw it in the darkness — and reported it — but Joel was dubious. Regardless, it was our most exciting chase yet, and it also turned out to be the last one with Joel Taylor.

Joel did consider giving team Dominator another try. He and Reed agreed to touch base over a game of golf, but Reed showed up an hour and a half late. When he did show up, he brought his dog Gizmo along, and well… you can see it all in Episode 2, “Legends”. It was funny to watch the mayhem but I think that’s when Joel decided to chase independently for the rest of the season. I wish he had gone on one or two more chases with us, but in the end, I think it worked out well for everyone.

With Joel exiting the team, we had a new, surprise team member ready to go. His name was Jim Cantore. THE Jim Cantore of Weather Channel fame. He was a meteorological hero to the whole team, and he was ready to see his first tornado.

To be continued next time!

Ken Cole
Executive Producer, Tornado Chasers

Watch the 2013 Season
Watch the 2013 Bonus Content
Watch the 2012 Season

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7 comments on “Tornado Chasers Production Log #3: Joel Taylor Returns
  1. yeah ! hail hail the gangs all here !

  2. Stay together you belong together . If you got a ting that’s bother you solutions are in talking and clear the air.

  3. Alright, this is coming from a “motherly” point of view. Reed, you are too restrictive when it comes to others’ schedules and demands. You cannot expect Joel to bend to your wishes and then show up an hour-and-a-half late for a game of golf that was supposed to smooth things over – and then bring your dog! NOT okay! Maybe it would be better if you stepped back and realized other’s time, dreams, and goals. are just as important as your own.
    Joel – I understand how it could be frustrating dealing with Reed, only based on watching him all these years. HOWEVER, you took the step to join the crew, and you should have seen it through – regardless of Reed’s behavior and lack of respect for your time. By walking away, you were no different than Reed in that you didn’t respect his time and the commitments you made either.
    From watching the way you two interact during chases all these years, it is apparent that you are both “alpha dogs,” but two alphas often clash. You can learn to work together, but that togetherness will have to come with respect from each of you. Reed, get up on time and get to your appointments – and that includes the ones made/you make with Joel. Joel, when Reed starts yelling, and you know he will, you’ve got to learn to understand that is how he is. It is who he is. Does he start screaming and getting out of control? Absolutely. For me, as a former EMT, that kind of stress yelling would be frustrating. HOWEVER –
    You BOTH need to remember this one thing – life is short. True friends are few. Others will only treat you the way you allow them to treat you. Get it together and accept each other for the uniqueness that is you. You both have good points and bad points just like the rest of humanity. Learn to accept the good in each other and let go of the things that bother you. Don’t go around trying to boss each other because a true man, a mature man, would never do such a thing. Instead, they would look at each other and say, “Hey, that’s not how I see things, but maybe you have a point.”

  4. Well my views differ to others it would seem. I don’t enjoy following TVN as much when Joel is along with the chase. Even before the “rift” I felt the same. I wish Joel well but I much prefer TVN when he isn’t there.

  5. I love Joel, but you cant be conservative when you are chasing storms. You will get better results and see more activity if you are more aggressive. Punching the core like Reed does is dangerous, but so is chasing storms. It is part of the life. That is why I want get into it I am majoring in meteorology at Embry Riddle as well as minoring in Aeronautical Science there. I only wish I could work on Reeds team.

    I am so happy that Jim Cantore is going to be on the team as well. Reed and Jim are my idols. I also wouldnt mind being like Dr. Bob Sheets (Robert Chester Sheets), who formerly headed the National Hurricane Center.

    It is also June 5, which means it is 5 days into hurricane season. Central Florida has gone 10 years without a major hurricane. We are due for one any day now..I have already done the data analysis from the early 1900’s. Cant wait.

  6. Lucille Tim says:

    between the two styles you will balance each other out, have good time storm chasing. Hope your careful too

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