How did you get interested in Chasing?

I was originally interested in Hurricanes. I grew up in Colombia. The only severe weather was floods. Half the year, we got no rain at all. the other half it raind hard almost every day, but only for a short period. There were no storm sewers, so the water flooded the streets and washed everything away. We moved back to the US and I got a direct hit from Hurricane Alisia in 1983. I have been tracking them ever since.

The first I ever heard of chasing was probably the NOVA special. I started chasing at Texas A&M in 1990. I later moved to Oklahoma for better storms and to attend OU. I learned a lot form more experienced chasers. I am still learning, by experience and form others.
 
I developed an interest in severe weather at a very early age. By the time I was in 3rd grade, I was a pretty sophisticated little weather weenie. Hehe. This interest also greatly helped me in my studies as well. Prior to developing this interest, I viewed reading more as a chore rather than something fun. So I lagged behind much of my class. But once I took a keen interest in severe weather, books became a requirement, as there was no internet in those days. Therefore through reading every book I could find related to severe weather, I was reading at a much higher level in short order than most of my class...simply because most of the books dedicated to severe weather were written for a much older audience than 3rd graders. So I suppose my interest in severe weather helped me in more ways than just giving me an extra hobby.

Now as far as chasing, I had never even heard of chasers or knew that anything such as chasing existed until the NOVA program mentioned by Charles. But that definately caught my eye and made me go "hmmmmmmm".

Later, sometime in the early 90's, I saw and recorded a program on A&E called "The Stormchasers", hosted by Bill Curtis. This really opened my eyes, as not only did it show chasers chasing purely for scientific purposes, but also amateurs doing so as a hobby. I found the Gene Rhoden segment of that program particularly interesting.

So sometime around 1995, while still a high school senior, I took an interest in going out locally and observing storms. I can remember being out on the rather wild evening of May 18, 1995 watching a tornado warned embedded HP supercell. I also became a SKYWARN spotter that year. From that point forward, it has been my goal to go out and see whatever I can when the opportunity presents itself. Due to my location and situation, I am not in the same league as most of the folks here. I haven't been able to get out on the Plains yet. And the terrain here is not the best in the world. But boy, I sure enjoy getting to see a nice storm as much as anyone. And I'm always trying to learn something new, which is why I am a member here. Heck, I even enjoy cyberchasing if the action is outside my area and I have developed a love for nowcasting. If it's severe weather related, count me in! Hehe.

-George
 
My story is both stereotypical and unique. I grew up in Oklahoma, so naturally I was around severe weather from the start. However, unlike many chasers, there was no incident with a tornado that marked my life and lit a spark to learn more. My spark was never seeing a tornado my entire life. They wouldn't come near me. Once I figured this out, I decided to go to them. It's worked out pretty well so far.
 
This is what started it all for me: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/misc/AbtDerechos/c...7-81991page.htm

We didn't have power for nearly a week... It stands as the worst storm to hit my neighborhood, in memory, to this date.


As the storm system continued east across the state a semi-trailer truck was blown over on I-69 east of Battle Creek. Some of the most severe damage in southeastern Lower Michigan occurred from Shiawassee County eastward into the Flint metropolitan area. In New Lothrop 10 mobile homes were blown over with one being blown into a nearby lake. In Durand numerous camper trailers were blown over and one person was injured. Quite a few homes and cars were damaged by falling trees in Owosso. A roof was blown off an elementary school in Swartz Creek and on the west side on Flint near I-75 roofs were blown off two apartment buildings.

Wind gusts from 75 to 85 mph were common in the Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Pontiac areas. Many homes and cars were damaged in Rochester and Tecumseh and trees and power lines were blown down throughout the region.

Of course, I was only 6 at the time... I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a very hot and humid day, partly sunny off and on. I was sitting in the living room playing candy land with my friend, when we noticed it getting really dark. The tornado sirens then went off, and I began to panic. My friend and I went into the kitchen and my mom told us that if it got too bad we would head to the basement (being in Michigan, tornado sirens going off don't really mean a whole lot, as nothing usually happens). Anyway, just as she said that, the wind really kicked up, ripping the roof off from our deck... That was it, we were in the basement, LOL. When we came back up, the neighborhood was pretty trashed. Numerous trees were uprooted, quite a few roads were blocked by trees, power lines were laying all over... I HATED storms after that event, for about the next year... Then I began to love 'em LOL
 
always was interested in it, i remember back in either 94 or 95 a squall line racing in from the NW, i think a MCS, as it was in july and was a ring of fire type setup. I still remember the weather channel's radar with its solid line of red moving SE. We got hit with high winds, i don't know how high it got, that blew down trees/power lines/blew in windows. That got me interested in weather.

However, what got me crazy/nuts about it was watching may 31st 1998 role across my neighborhood.
 
For me it was the chance to see weather I wouldn't see just by sitting at home. Once I learned that most thunderstorms are fairly brief and localized - it became obvious to me I'd need to go to where the weather is happening for my best chance of seeing something interesting.
 
Like Charles my weather interests developed overseas; for me, in Germany. The systems there were frequently well-developed high-amplitude systems coming off the Atlantic -- occlusions, huge blocks, cutoff lows, etc, and we got some bizarre wind profiles from time to time. One of those weird profiles was associated with a squall line that came in from France in summer 1976; it sort of swept the anvil sort of rearward from the storms, and what was a 70-degree sunny day gave way to a wall of blackness coming in from the west. No perceptible anvil, just this wall of Cb with a little cirrus and blue sky above. Once it arrived it buried the town in about an inch of hail. That was strange enough for me to start poring through meteorology books and learning more, and I never stopped.

The chasing slant developed in 1986... I used to spend time over at the NWS office in Fort Worth, and got to know Alan Moller. He uncovered this world of chasing and photography that I never knew existed and hooked me up with Tim Marshall. Before long I was going over there on weekends to watch tornado videos, and met other chasers who occasionally dropped by. My first chase was Feb 14, 1987 to Hillsboro, Tex. Solid squall line... a poignant and fitting start.

Tim
 
I became interested in storm chasing and severe weather when I was young. Thunderstorms always fascinated me and I would watch The Weather Channel for hours. I'd get books on storms and weather from the local library. I would go outside and observe a squall line approaching. My mother thought I was a bit crazy, and would have to drag me indoors out of fear that I would get struck by lightning. In 1991, I experienced Hurricane Bob when I was living in Long Island, NY. Then, in July of 1994(in E. PA), I experienced one of the worst svr storm/tornado events to hit that state. And, I also experienced one of the worst winter storms EVER in January of '96. All of that severe weather just got me even more interested.
 
The interest developed Sept. 3rd, 1970. Out chasing baseball hail with hard hats and baseball gloves! Pretty dumb in retrospect.

After that, I wanted to be a meteorologist, but my math skills weren't quite up to par. 1979 I started volunteer work with the Red Cross and helped out on several occasions in SE Kansas over the next couple of years.

A large interval where I was in the Army and not really able to chase and then started back in about 5 years ago.
 
I grew up in Wichita and have been interested in severe weather as long as I can remember. I really got started chasing on May 8, 2002. I was glued to the TV the night before when Pratt got hit by a tornado. At some point during the coverage, I realized I had a car and I could drive to these storms instead of hoping they came to me. I don't know why chasing storms never occured to me earlier, but it didn't. So I started doing research on severe weather and dove right in to chasing storms that week.
 
In 1987 Edmonton was hit by a F-4 tornado that killed 27 people.Having
the holy hell scared out of me i thought it might be a good idea to learn
somthing about thease storms.Still don't do alot of in car chasing but
continue to learn all i can about thease storms.
 
TWISTER! Ever since I saw that movie I wanted to be a professional chaser... :roll:

But seriously folks, it was probably that Plainfield F5 of 1990, only 15 miles from my home, that first got my attention.

Twister was the greatest movie when I first saw it, and I confess that it did introduce me to the art of pursuing severe weather, even though I had an interest in this weather long before. It wasn't until 2003, however, before I felt confident enough to actually head out on my own chases.
 
My brother was a serious weather geek. He got observations on lowband long before there even computers in households and I'd get on the roof to watch storms and lightning from as far away as Abilene. We really didn't know anything but Harrold Taft was a god in our house.

My dad was a fixture on the local ham repeater (WB5FPI) and was very involved in RACES and SKYWARN. I remember hearing him talk to chasers such as Sam Barricklow (K5KJ) as they headed out and my interest was sparked by this.

I started chasing local storms just to see them in the mid 80's and thought at the time I'd gone a long way when I ended up about 40 miles from home.

In 1991 I I had my first successful chase with the April 12th Glenrose/Rainbow tornado. Then on April 26th I actually targeted and drove to the Lawton area and got close enough to see the Red Rock storm from a distance and ended up in northern Oklahoma after dark and long after the show. This was a bust but a light went on in my head that day and I knew my 1 day chase range was much larger than I thought.

Since then I've chased every time I could, though the older and more experienced I get the more selective I have become.
 
The first time I ever heard about storm chasing was in first or second grade when I came across this little children's book about storm chasers. It had a little story about a chase Tim Marshall and Roy Britt did together, when a tornado chased them for awhile.

Since then I always thought storms and tornadoes were pretty cool. I eventually moved on to more in-depth books about the subject lol. I would always watch and tape those specials The Weather Channel used to do, like Target Tornado and The Chase. Whenever I was watching TV and saw the little watch or warning icon in the corner of the screen, I would immediately flip to TWC and see what was going on. Then I would go ballistic with anticipation whenever a warning crawl came on TWC, then be disappointed when nothing happened except a little rain and thunder.

As a kid I didn't see much severe weather. My house got rolled over by a couple of derechos causing trees to come down in the neighborhood, but that was when I was too little to remember. Seems as soon as I got interested in severe weather was when the drought started for my location, and storms would always weaken as they approached, lol.

The first time I saw actual severe weather firsthand was on June 6, 1999 when a supercell's rotating wall cloud passed by while I was visiting my uncle's family near Brodhead: http://sphs.angeltowns.net/A_R_Wehrle/stor...nts/060699.html
It never dropped a tornado, but the violent motion in the clouds was awe-inspiring to see. The storm did blast the area with damaging RFD winds. I've always regretted not getting any pictures of that storm in progress, so I'm looking to take up chasing to have the chance to witness that again.
 
I have always been interested in stroms. Being a youngster and going through a derecho didn't help the situation. 8) But, it really got serious about chasing during May 2003. That whole week I spent running around trying to get a good shot of a tornado around here. Then the evening of the 6th rolled around. Let's just say I didn't have to go anywhere to chase this time. That ole F-4 came to me. Ripped the roof off the house, leveled the barn, and "pancaked" my truck. The news networks all said it was headed north of us. (Nice try.) So this really pushed me to become involved in a public level to help this "surprise" from happening again. Joining SKYWARN gave me contacts to get ahold of and provide real-time information. So far, i've got some good photos of supercell's but nothing major. Im kindly in the same area as George Tincher, long rolling hills and such. It makes it a tad tricky to find a good, open spot. But, im ready for this Spring, especially May...So bring em' ON!
 
April 26, 1991 - Andover, Kansas

Watching the unfold on The Weather Channel was incredible! That's probably where the chasing seed was planted for me! I've always had a fascination with weather, and particularly severe weather. That stemmed back to when I was 5ish and I was in the car in a parking lot when a HUGE storm rolled through. The car was shaking and my brother was screaming in the seat next to me. I remember that storm like it was yesterday.. that's where the severe weather seed was drilled. Chasing itself, Andover.
 
Ever since i was a little Kid i would always watch thunderstorms roll by. Lightning always fascinated me and well look at me now i take pictures of it, hehe. The clouds motions has as well captivated me. Another thing that got me was even though i may live in such a flat area the clouds that roared upward have always been my mountains. Kinda reminds me of when i visted Colorado for all those relatives weddings when i was younger. My aunt has a large large family. Tony you might know where Loveland is. thast where she lives


Hey Nick Parker is that a D8 CAT you got in that Pic. ive operated a D8R but not in cab. sorry for the off topic just was curious
 
My dad has always been interested in storm chasing and tornadoes in general. He was a county storm spotter at the young age of 18. One of his best friends is also the chief meteorologist at the public radio/tv station here at the U of I (in the weather office where I now work :) ) I made my interest in storms apparent early on, so I always had those two supplying me with plenty of tornado video. I would always be quite jealous when my dad would leave to go chasing with the atmos-sciences chase group here, but would love to hear his stories when he came back.

So, I've really been interested in tornadoes since I learned to talk and walk. If I had to pick an event that really shot me into obsession mode, It'd be the April 19 1996 tornado outbreak here in Illinois. Watching an F3 tornado scoot through my hometown one nite, a mere mile from my backyard was an amazing experience. Thankfully no one was injured.
 
My interest in weather, especially of the severe kind, dates from when my parents stood me up on the toilet seat so I could see out the window what's now known to be the meso of the supercell that produced the Worcester tornado of 1953 come over our house south of Boston. We went out later and collected bits and pieces of Worcester that dropped into the backyard. By the next year when hurricanes Carol and Edna hit I was hooked.
 
What got me interested in chasing?...

The same two events which got me interested (fascinated; crazed; infatuated; etc) with severe storms and tornadoes in general...

1) experiencing/ surviving a pre-dawn tornado which badly damaged my family's suburban Atlanta, Georgia home when I was twelve...

2) the April 3, 1974 superoutbreak.....which happened only two weeks later...


Those were the sparks that set my severe storm interest ablaze...
 
I had always liked storms, but had a strong fear of lightning due to a childhood almost-hit. Got over that after amazingly not being hit by close and intense lightning during a fast T-storm at Garden of the Gods (think iron-rich red rock area).

The IMAX chaser film got me interested in chasing. And yes, Twister did its part to keep me interested. I took time to self-educate and was totally hooked when I saw a beautiful HP meso on my second-ever chase day. I Love Nebraska...
 
I was always afraid of storms as a young kid.

Two things I think helped to gradually turn that fear to interest.

1. When I was only 9 a tornado passed a few miles south of my house. I remember standing outside and watching the amazing lightning display, then finding out later there had been a tornado. On the bus ride to school the next day (first day of class I believe) we drove through the damage path of the F3. I was amazed.

2. Twister. Just the idea of chasing storms.
 
I was about four when I gained a heavy interest in the weather, after I got to spend a few nights in the basement with my mom telling me to get under the desk and that a tornado was probably on its way. After that, I wanted to get a good idea of what a tornado was so I would know why I should be hiding out in the basement.

By the time I was seven, I had received a videotape on tornadoes made by The Weather Channel (which included chase footage from various sources) from my grandparents for my birthday. I've been told I watched the tape so much, I wore it out. The chase footage captivated me, and from that point on I knew I had to become a storm chaser. By 9, I was a SKYWARN spotter, undertaking various local chases with little success (funnel clouds or rotating wall clouds) until I was 17.
 
Back
Top