Ororo Munroe was raised in Morocco, learning English from American films. Ororo's family was murdered under unknown circumstances, and she fled to America as an illegal immigrant. She stole cars in Harlem before relocating to Texas. Although Storm's mutant powers manifested during her youth, she was too frightened to experiment with them. In Texas, Ororo was mentored and befriended by slightly older car thief Yuriko "Yuri" Oyama. However, Yuri soon saw Ororo as a rival, and their friendship ended in a motorcycle chase which Ororo halted with a sudden rainstorm; Yuri lost control and had a seemingly fatal collision with a truck. Guilt-ridden, Ororo continued thieving in Texas, briefly serving time in juvenile detention. At one point she declined an offer to join Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants.
Pursued by police after stealing a car, Ororo panicked and lashed out with her powers, almost killing several bystanders before she was caught. The X-Men arranged her release and recruited her hours later. Still nervous about her abilities, Ororo, now called Storm, learned several new applications of her powers, including the ability to fly, and became attracted to fellow student Hank McCoy, a.k.a. the Beast, whose lifetime of mistreatment made him doubt anyone could love him.
Weapon X imprisoned the X-Men, torturing them and mutating Beast into a furry, animal-like form. When they were eventually freed by the Brotherhood of Mutants, Storm tried to kill Weapon X's Colonel Wraith, but Nightcrawler stopped her. Feeling more unworthy of Storm than ever, the transformed Hank ended their relationship. The rift between them widened when Beast inadvertently helped the Brotherhood free Magneto from Professor X's mental conditioning, but they reconciled during the resulting crisis.
Still feeling inadequate, Beast left the X-Men when new recruit Angel became attracted to Storm. He soon joined Emma Frost's "New Mutants," but their press conference was disrupted by a Sentinel attack, during which Beast perished. Grief-stricken and enraged, Storm lashed out uncontrollably before Professor Xavier calmed her telepathically. In the tragedy's aftermath, Storm drastically altered her hairstyle and clothing to distance herself from her time with Beast. She also became more predisposed to act as the team's conscience, preventing Rogue from killing Sinister just as Nightcrawler prevented Storm from killing Wraith.
Storm gradually bonded with Wolverine, and they shared a kiss while searching for an abducted Rogue. When Rogue chose to accompany her abductor, rejecting and insulting Wolverine, he left the X-Men. Storm pursued him to Canada, where both were attacked by Yuri, now transformed by Weapon X into Deathstrike. Storm ended their fight with a lightning strike to both women. Storm was resuscitated by Wolverine They both returned to the X-Men, their feelings still unresolved.