Jesse Risley is a storm chaser based out of west central Illinois, currently calling Colchester home. Jesse has had a fascination with severe weather since childhood, sparked in part by having driven through and observed the wreckage of the deadly Plainfield, IL EF-5 tornado shortly after it occurred in late August of 1990. Jesse began spotting, and shortly thereafter chasing, storms locally near his hometown in north central Illinois in the late 1990s. He took his first trip out of state to chase storms in the Plains in the spring 2006, and has avidly chased and pursued severe weather as a hobbyist across a wider region of the United States and Canada since that time, focusing primarily on the videography of severe weather. Jesse enjoys sharing his passion and insights with members of the general public, and he has presented information on storm chasing and/or severe weather at several regional severe weather symposiums, storm chasing seminars, and at local spotter training seminars.
Several more notable tornado events that Jesse has chased and witnessed include the Kirksville, MO tornado family in 2009, the Yazoo City, MS EF-4 in 2010, the June 17, 2010 tornado outbreak in southern Minnesota, the St. Louis airport tornado in April 2011, the Henryville, IN tornado in March 2012, the Pilger, NE tornadoes on June 16, 2014, and the Capitol, MT tornado family in June 2018. Jesse is in his sixteenth year as a public high school (grades 9-12) geography and social sciences instructor at Macomb Senior High School in Macomb, IL, and he also serves as the school’s ecology club sponsor.