Stormchaser proposes to his boyfriend as tornado looms: 'It was my happiest place'

Hope Schreiber
Storm chaser Joey Krastel proposes to his boyfriend as a twister rages in the background. (Photo: Twitter)
Stormchaser Joey Krastel proposes to his boyfriend as a twister rages in the background. (Photo: Twitter)

For most people, the path of a storm isn't the ideal location for a proposal. But for stormchaser Joey Krastel, he could think of no better way to show his love.

After seeing his first tornado at age 4, Krastel has grown up to become a meteorologist and risk analyst for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

"It was at that moment where I knew everything I wanted to do from then on out," Krastel, 27, told NBC News of his experience of the storm when he was young. "Every meteorologist has a weather story from when they were little that defined their path."

Krastel wasn't just content predicting the storms, however. Eventually, he was throwing himself into thunderstorms and twisters.

It was one of those catastrophic storms that brought Krastel to his new fiancé.

Chris Scott, 23, had been following Krastel on social media as he chased his storms. Scott is himself a storm enthusiast inspired by both his father and the 1996 classic Twister. Eventually, Scott messaged Krastel asking him if he was actually a stormchaser.

"That's why it was always in the back of my mind to get engaged during stormchasing," Krastel told NBC. "I felt like it would be this perfect way to seal the deal."

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency for a number of counties in Kansas, as well as the Kansas City metropolitan area. But Krastel, Scott and two of their mutual friends traveled towards the storm.

The group watched as the storm in Salina, Kan. traveled to Tipton. That's when Krastel realized he wanted to pop the question.

"It all just kind of came together and happened so quickly," Krastel said. "I was like 'OK, this is it.'"

The photo of Krastel proposing to Scott has since gone viral.

The storm was closer than it appeared in the photo, Krastel claims.

"I called to my friends to get back in the car," Krastel said. "I was just so emotional just because it was my happiest place, being with him next to the storms."

Despite his unconventional proposal, Krastel is strict when it comes to safety during a storm.

"People need to listen to the warnings and listen to the National Weather Service and their local meteorologists," Krastel said. "They know what they're talking about and their only goal is to save you."

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