Photographing in storms can be very rewarding, but also challenging—and potentially dangerous—for the unprepared photographer
When photographing in an active storm, always check local area forecasts. Make sure you have basic emergency items in your vehicle such as flares, a cell phone, a tool kit, a shovel, a short board to use under tires that get stuck in mud or snow, water, a first-aid kit, warm clothing, food and a portable radio, in case your car radio doesn't work.
If you hike into a remote area during storm weather, take warm gloves, a waterproof, insulated coat and hat, waterproof boots, water and energy bars, and consider adding a personal locator beacon. Tell someone where you'll be and the dates of your hike and that you'll contact them upon your return.
You may be driving icy or rain-soaked roads, so make sure your tires are up to it, carry chains, and make sure you know how to put them on your tires. Check you vehicle's fluid levels and take extra radiator water and engine oil. If you don't have experience driving wet or snow-covered roads, stick to the well-traveled, paved interstate and major state highways.
When photographing in these conditions, carry a rain cover for your camera and lens, plus spare batteries, if it's cold. Keep the spare batteries inside your coat. Take a large trash bag with you and put your camera and lens in the trash bag and seal it up before taking your equipment into a warm room from the cold outside. If it's extremely cold and you get into a warm vehicle with the heater on, do the same thing. Condensation, which your gear is susceptible to in these conditions, will form mostly on the bag and not on or inside your lens.
Strong storms can provide the most dramatic elements for photography, but also can bring violent wind gusts, which can wreak havoc on a tripod/camera setup. Make sure you anchor your tripod well. If possible, hang your camera bag from the center column to add more stabilizing weight. Keep one hand on your tripod at all times to steady it. Be especially careful in powerful storm cells that include embedded lightning. While quite rare, severe winter storm cells can produce lightning, and you don't want to be on an exposed hilltop when lightning strikes. Head for shelter when you hear thunder. Avoid tall trees; they're lightning magnets.