First-time storm chaser has tornado come to him at Denver's airport

"I had never seen a tornado in my life," Schaffer said. "But when we got to Denver and I was sitting there waiting for (Timmer) for a couple of hours... all of a sudden TSA comes through telling everyone to take shelter immediately because there is a tornado bearing down on the airport at that very moment."

Schaffer, who is working on a story for Outside about tornado chasers, instead went outside to get a closer look at the storm.

"This thing was forming right above us," he said. "It was, I'm told, a pretty unique perspective to see a vortex like this forming."

The tornado managed to drift right over the weather sensors at the airport, which registered a gust of 97 mph before failing.

Did Schaffer ever think he was in danger?

"It seemed like it was moving off in another direction... and it wasn't a particular large tornado," Schaffer said. "Mostly it was a sense of amazement at how nature can produce such a thing as a tornado."

Schaffer was going to try to make it 2-for-2 as he was heading out with Timmer on an all-night drive out into the plains to get in position for a fresh round of expected severe weather Wednesday. He says he hopes to have his story published in Outside in the fall.