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How did you get interested in Chasing?

interest in meteorology in general began as fear...i was scared of storms, and the uncertanty of sitting in your trailer one minute and go flying thousands of feet in the air the next was scary for me...i would trip hard when tornado warnings come out, especially at night...

i decided to learn about storms so i wouldent be scared of em nomore...i figured if i had some kind of "control" over the storms by knowing where they were or what they could do, i wouldent trip so much...i started learning alot about meteorology on my downtime...looking at meted and SPC publications and other websites...

the aspect of soooo many different things in one big package that was surprisingly fun to play with and see really interested me...

i learned about storms from when i was little like 14-17...i didnt have alot of time to teach myself new things when i started getting more into my sophmore-junior years of high-school because i was often wrapped up in things...i started chasing storms in 2005 and havent done too well because im low-income, but im on my 3rd year, and every year i keep coming back...its my dream to be a professional storm chaser, and thats all i really know what to do being out of school now...im just working part time until i can afford all my equipment...but meteorology is still as much alive as it was when i first got into it, or actually...even more intense...

...i still try to learn it if its out there...i teach my self new things, but i find that experience is my most valuable tool, because ive looked at the stuff every day for 4 years or so...i get an affinity for it and get a physical "feel" for it too...
 
My story started back when I moved to Virginia from New York. I was about two years old maybe 3 and we would get frquent violent summer t-storms. These storms would have lightning and thunder like you wouldn't believe. The thunder would a lot of times rattle the windows of the house. I was fasinated and terrified by these storms. Then, mulitple tropical storms and hurricanes hit my area (Chesapeake, VA) which would engulf our house with strong winds, rain that hurt when it hit you and lightning storms beyond belief. Then, I saw the movie Twister. I learned people actually chase tornadoes and storms. Not even three months after my dad got transfered to Wichita, KS right in the middle of tornado alley.

The story was just beginning for me. The first spring I lived in Wichita during the spring of 1998 I expiernced what a tornado-warning is like. That year storms seemed frequent and I remember being yelled at to get away from the windows as my dad and I would stand watching the storm through the sliding glass door in the back of the house. Then came the spring of 1999, I was 6 years old and I came back from kindergarten on May 3, 1999 with not a care in the world. As the evening grew dark and soon the TV sprang on blaring tornado warning and it was a very large F4 tornado heading straight towards Wichita. My mom and dad rounded up my sisters and I and we bolted down the stairs. The tornado missed us by about 6 miles. The next day we wanted to meet my dad for lunch. The drive there was something I would never forget a trailer park was gone not a single trailer left standing. The only one in tack was upside down in a lake. 6 people died at that trailer park, because the storm shelter was locked. This was a wake up call for me. I wanted to know more.

A few years pasted and I moved to a house on the outskirts of town. Fields surronded my house so I could see everything. I was 8 years old and my parents let me use the video camera. For months I filmed lightning, clouds, and hail as my interest grew larger. I will never forget what happened in May of 2002 when a tornado missed our school by less than 300 yards. We were held back till 5pm that day and mulitple tornadic storms moved through our area, but only one was on track for us. I saw the cone tornado as it moved in on us. Kids cried and teachers paniced as this event occured. Our school was spared.

The interest died after that. It was not till 2005 when my dad asked if we wanted to go to spotter training was my interest regained. I was now in Kansas City and that year we never left the city limits. Then came 2006. It's 2007, I'm 14 years old and I have captured 10 tornadoes this season already! and I don't intend to stop soon.
 
Circa 1990 I saw a documentary on TV about--I couldn't believe it--people who actually went out looking for tornadoes. That's the sort of thing that I would have always liked to do but I'd never brought it up because it seemed too crazy. You mean there were people who actually did that??? I want to do that!

But I lived in California and didn't know the first thing about meteorology and I had no idea how to start. The catalyst was when my little brother moved to Kansas in the late 90s and described the insanely powerful storms he was experiencing and how he'd love to chase with me if I wanted to try. So I read a bunch of books on chasing and flew out and hit the road with him one stormy day, armed only with the latest SPC and Weather Channel forecasts, a weather radio, and a map. I've been hooked and have been chasing on the plains almost every year since...

--Bob
 
Good day...

I used to be TERRIFIED of storms when I was a kid, living in NY. My biggest scares were lightning storms, and most notably, Hurricane Belle in 1976.

One day my grandfather and I watched a storm when I was about 9 or 10. We watched it from the kitchen window of his house, lots of wind and heavy rains, and frequent lighthing, around the summer of 1978 (or 79). He explained to me what was going on, and I was no loger afraid of lightning, but intrigued by it.

Afterwards, I started getting DISAPPOINTED as storms "missed" my area. Then I would see on the news of what I "missed" ... And there was NOTHING I could do about it ... Until I got my driver's license in FL in 1986.

I figured if a good storm is somewhere, and it will miss my town ... why not DRIVE TO IT ;-)

My first severe storm I deliberately chased was when I was 17 in Palm Beach County, FL in April 1986. Before then, I actually attempted to chase storms on my bicycle - Yes, riding a few miles up the road into the slow-moving FL storms after just moving there in 1985 (not safe either)!!

In October 1984, I took my bike to see the 15-20 foot waves from Hurricane Josephine. I rode 26 miles (each way) to the beach and back, which was Smith's Point in New York. My mom knew where I was going, caught me riding back after (thank God not before - at least I got to see a hurricane surf / winds) ... This was at a cost but worth it to me, even though I was grounded for a month. I guess this is my first "hurricane chase", and I just turned 15.

More and more chases unfolded as I became more knowledgable about storms and hurricanes. In 2000, tired of chasing in FL, I opened my opportunities to severe weather in the central USA and hurricanes in any coastal area of the USA as well.

So much for a childhood "fear" and "phobia" ... Now a life long "passion".

For "good luck" I keep a picture of my grandfather with that exact same window behind him where him and I watched that first storm that changed my life. It goes on EVERY chase I go on!
 
I can't point to any specific event that sparked my interest. My family claims my third word was an attempt at rain, and I believe them. They've recounted stories of me standing at the window and watching it rain when I was only 2 - I still do that now!

Growing up in Houston, my first interests were in floods and tropical cyclones. We also had several severe thunderstorms thrown in the mix, and rare brushes with winter weather. I watched the sky and tried to anticipate what would happen later in the day based on the cloud types in the morning. I'm not a "morning" person, but I got up at 5:45 am through the early and mid 80s just so I could watch AM Weather on PBS. The Weather Channel slowly replaced my daily routine of living from one newscast to the next.

I was aware of storm chasing to some extent in the early-mid 80s, and I did drive short distances to find better viewing locations away from trees or buildings in the spring and summer. Still, my chasing interest didn't take off until I showed up at OU and met other like-minded geeks like Roger Edwards, Gene Rhoden and Bobby Prentice. Within my first 2 weeks on campus, Roger and I attempted to chase a supercell NE of Norman in early September of 1985. The chase was a failure and we got lost south of I-40, but that didn't seem to make any difference. My luck with tornadoes didn't change until 1990.

Rich T.
 
Always a fun topic to think about what got me started. My earliest memory of Severe Weather was around 1991, I just got out of school and the sky was very ominous. Lightning was very vivid and the hail was about 1/2", I remember a very unique smell in the air, it was a sweet & pine like smell. Ever since that day I have been interested in the weather. I always had an interest in the weather cause my Dad was always observant of weather. Ever since I could remember he would point out different aspects of weather, I slowly caught on and around 1995 I started researching the weather. By 2000 I was a Skywarn volunteer and was chasing any thunderstorm that came around Southern California. By 2002 I got into weather photography and have been learning ever since on how to improve, etc. Best Hobby Ive ever had.,....
 
I remember all the way back till I was 7 years old. I remember drawing coloring tornadoes hitting houses when I was in kendergarden. I remember when Steve Mcauly coming to our school and giving a huge presentation about tornadoes..................... On June 27, 1992. F4 tornado hit my town of Fritch, TX and pretty much set meteorology in my mind and have been doing it since.
 
Great to see so many people respond to this post, so thought I'd check it out and share my experience. Interesting how many "weather buffs" point to either an avid early-age interest or some experience that influenced them, maybe even a combination.

For me, my earliest memory of being interested in the weather goes back to when I was about 5 years old. I was born in Russia, my family immigrated to America just before I turned 4 and I grew up in California. Our first year we lived in Los Angeles before moving to Lancaster, about an hour's drive to the north but a whole world of different weather. At about age 5 and in kindergarten I remember a situation where a snowstorm had been developing and was forecasted to occur in our area. I vividly remember going outside during break and hearing the duty-aids talk about the strong possibility that it would be snowing here later in the afternoon. At this point I looked up at the clouds and remember to this day the grayish-bluish hue to them, and then pondering "so this is what snow clouds look like". That afternoon, as kindergarten was let out, it snowed. Ever since then it seems I have been hooked to the sky and the weather it produces! I started watching The Weather Channel on a very frequent basis around the age of 8 and remember the vigorous, sometimes El Nino driven storms that would slam California. From the rare once in two to three year snows to the not-so-common thunderstorms I was captivated! I would actually ask to be excused to the restroom during elementary school just so I could go outside and watch the rain falling. Needless to say I sympathize with the teachers that tried to get my attention whenever weather was occurring.

At about the age of 9 I got my first ever weather book, properly titled "The Weather Book" by USA Today's Jack Williams. I read that thing and tried to absorb as much as possible. Over the following years, and especially the summers of middle school my grandfather would take me to the library, sometimes week after week, so I could check out whole stacks of weather and meteorology books. I tried to absorb and learn as much as possible, which made it very fun. When the weather outside wasn't extremely active, the weather in the books was guaranteed excitement!

Between the winter Pacific storms and the summer-time monsoon thunderstorms my interest in weather was sustained. The mid-late 90s also had some very good programming on TWC. It was at this time that I remember watching specials on severe weather and "storm chasing" in the Great Plains. It was very thrilling to watch the kinds of storms that would frequent this part of the country captured on video by people going out in pursuit of those kinds of weather setups. Then of course the movie "Twister" came out and my father and I saw it in the movie theatres. After that I couldn't wait till it came out on video so I could watch it over and over at home. To date, that is the most watched movie I have ever seen.

My first ever stormchasing experience occurred before I even got my driver's license. It was in late August or early September 1999, the night before my family and I had driven up from the L.A. area back home to a background of lightning flashes in the northern sky. At this point I contemplated that if the same thing would occur again the very next day, I would want to be there to witness it! The very next morning The Weather Channel had an area of "general thunderstorms" outlined over the eastern Sierra Nevadas and adjacent areas just to the north of my area. I brought this idea up to my father and luckily he agreed! That morning, camera in hand, my father and I got into the minivan and took off north on my very first ever storm chase! That day ended up being a "clear air bust" as the cumulus clouds building off of the mountains never could get organized enough to develop further, but it was a testament in time, we had driven out there for the sole reason of seeing a storm.

That monsoon season came and went, but the very next year...on Sunday August 20, 2000 I convinced my dad to give it another shot. We headed east into the desert areas of Lucerne Valley, north of the San Bernardino mountains, as a new monsoonal moisture surge was advancing in. The morning of partial cirrus overcast gave way to decent afternoon heating and thunderstorm development. By mid afternoon we had ourselves a storm! Great lightning, a strong downdraft, and torrential rain made this storm chase a success! Capturing it all on video sure felt good!

The years following that I got my driver's license and made my way out locally on stormy afternoons chasing the Mojave Desert during the summer monsoon season.

Then, in the fall of 05', my long-time dream was becoming a reality, when I stepped foot onto the University of Oklahoma campus to become a meteorology student. April 1st 2006 was my first ever Great Plains chase.

:)

~Ilya Neyman
 
I also was fascinated by weather at an early age...however I was also deathly afraid of storms at the same time. I studied weather as much as I could, checking out every weather book at any reading level from the local library...some of them multiple times. The thing that always scared me the most, and I dont know why, was when the Emergency Broadcast System would go off....The tone of the EBS system and the tone-of-voice that the broadcaster would have would always scare me for some reason... Eventually the fear turned to fascination around 12 or 13. I was a farm-boy and would rake hay for my dad in the summer. I had nothing to do for 5 or 6 hours a day on a tractor except watch the sky. I always loved doing that. Eventually, when I got old enough to drive, (1996) when a storm would get close, I would go spot and watch the storms as they went by....It wasn't until 2003 that I actually saw my first Tornado, and then once that happend, I wanted to see more, so at that point, that's when I started to actually chase.
 
I've always been fascinated by lightning. I've seen some pretty bad storms and as a kid was terrified of tornadoes.

When Hurricane Alicia hit I was up the entire time...afraid a tornado would wipe us away. I got it in my mind that if I was going to be that afraid of something I wanted to know more about it. I started reading books and teaching myself about wx.

Then one summer coming back from a family vacation to Colorado we encountered a severe storm. I told my family what I thought was going on and ended up being right...spotted a funnel cloud and instead of being afraid I was captivated because I understood what was going on.

And there ya have it...I became hooked:)
 
Basically I'm not.

And there are a significant number of times that I desparately wish I had stayed home, as the storm would've been better there. But I was tired of storms nearly always "going around me". Everyone at the office/party/barbershop/etc. would talk of the "great" or "scary" storm they just got, while I'd get nothing. So, by meeting a couple of sympathetic storm fans, and with the improving radar images, I got better informed as to finding those nearby "hot spots" where storms frequent. So if I saw a radar blob heading towards one of those areas, off I'd go -- hopefully to get there before the storm did. Often it works; other times I'd be better off right at home with all the comforts of a good porch or carport as my front-row seat. To me, a "chase" is merely a tool to "get me to the Show on time" (paraphrasing an old Broadway tune). Mainly I prefer being on the road before or after a thunderstorm, but NOT during!

And Tim, I love your cute, new avatar!
 
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I also was fascinated by weather at an early age and when I was a kid I passed a lot of time watching the water vortex that developed in the bath tub and I tried to understand the reason why those vortex did form.
My chasing passion exploded after I saw the 98' and overall the 99' outbreak of Oklahoma city at the tv news.
 
Well, I remember as a child, we had a siren installed down the street. I always wondered why and what it was there for. I remember asking my mom" what is it for? how does it work?" she told me it was for people so they knew when to go to their basements in a bad storm. Well, it got stormy one day. The skies began to darken and the next thing my mom says is" Let's go to the store". It was scary dark. I never saw anything like it. We started down the street and the siren went off. She looks at me in the mirror and my face was plastered tio the side window in our van. A funnel, my first. I watched it spin and dance in the sky and then it came down and I watched the neighbors house disappear. I always wondered why it happened so I did all i could to study up on weather from that day. Here I am 20 years later, chasing, spotting, watching, and helping and studying to be a meteorologist.
 
This is kind of sad, but I sat down one day and pinpointed where my interest in meteorology/storm chasing came from:

I don't have a story to tell of a tornado hitting my town when I was young or anything. Growing up in the mountains of Southwest Montana, tornadoes aren't a usual threat.

There was a chain of events that lead to my love of meteorology. They are as follows:

When I was 2 1/2, my younger sister was born. I recall receiving presents at the time (possibly to ease the transition of no longer being the attention-getting baby of the family). One of these gifts was a puzzle (inlaid particle board) of the United States. You simply put the states into the form to complete the map. This was one of my favorite things as a kid. Before the attention depraved days of constant TV watching and the information superhighway, this puzzle kept my focus for long hours. :)

After this, I loved maps. My family told me I was always gifted with a good sense of direction. I knew my way around town at the age of 3. My aunt recalls a time when I told her we were going the wrong way to some place. She loves to tell that story.

Anyway, in the mid-80's (I was 5 or 6), our cable provider picked up The Weather Channel. My love of maps was stimulated ... maps, practically 24/7! I also had a fascination with the sky, one grandfather being an amateur astronomer and the other being outdoors all of the time.

So, I hate to say it ... but The Weather Channel really fathered my love of meteorology, even if just providing a place for my interests to come together. I was never really afraid of storms ... it remember events like golf ball sized hail raining down in the middle of the night. (We got some really good nocturnal storms in SW Montana ... energy moving off the Snake River Plain and lifted up into the mountains ... great storms!) ... to a day when my great grandmother's 100ft pine was ripped from the earth by a wind storm.

As I grew older, people were calling me "weatherman" ... the ubiquitous nick name for people interested in weather (unless you have a cooler name like "STORM!"). I recall seeing footage by Warren Faidley on TWC and that really brought chasing into the light for me.

Imagine my excitement when I found out they were making a movie about chasing!

... and yeah, it was cheesy ... but I watch it every year, usually early in the spring. The science is silly, but the atmosphere is amazing. (no pun intended). It really gets me in the "mood" ... so to speak.

After I got my license (15 in Montana), I'd go out to a hill top and watch the storms come in. I wouldn't really call it chasing ... more like intercepting at a specific location, but that really charged me up.

... finally, I moved to Colorado in 04' to pursue my meteorology degree and try and get out on the plains as much as possible.
 
My fascination with the beauty and splendor of thunderheads and lightning began when I was a toddler in the early 1950's.
When I turned 7, my parents bought me my first weather book, which I read ASAP.
In 1963 as a 5th grader, I won an award in a national weather predicting contest hosted by a major book publisher.
In college, I spent countless hours in the library during vacation times, searching for and reading articles on tornadoes and lightning. It was frustrating trying to xerox the photos on those old tech machines.
In 1977, I simply got tired of watching cold fronts come through and giving us sprinkles while about 30 miles down the road, enormous arcs of thunderheads would explode. So I began to go after the storms.
Living in SW Ohio at the time, nobody around me had ever heard of or conceptualized storm chasing. I was totally isolated in my passion, though one woman friend thought it was pretty cool.
In 1995, I decided to organize a spiritually based storm chase tour company. Moving from California where I lived at the time to Dallas assisted with this dream. The next year "Twister" came out, which certainly helped my exposure.
I experienced the transformation from being isolated as a youngster to being featured in world wide media. That was a healing breakthrough for me.
I no longer run the tour, but my wife and I go out on brief annual sojourns during the tornado season. Our honeymoon consisted of a storm chase vacation.
What a transformation from isolation to sharing the joy of the experience!
 
A lot of things shaped my interest in meteorology, which came long before I knew anything about storm chasing. I grew up around Boston, MA, a place not often frequented by severe thunderstorms. Nevertheless, I was a big fan of thunder and lightning as a kid. My parents tell me that I used to run wildly around the house during storms.

I can remember a wide range of individual extreme weather events that drew me into meteorology. There are far too many to list here, but I’ll try to give you a general idea. From a severe thunderstorm at summer camp to extreme heat in March 1998 (the big El Nino year) to thundersnow producing nor’easters, all of it excited me.

Like Dann, I had a fascination with maps when I was a toddler. I was always the navigator in the car, and whoever was driving took me seriously because I was generally right. I would even plan out extravagant cross-country trips, using as many interstate highways as possible.

The link between maps and weather clicked for me when I discovered the weather maps that were in the newspaper. The Boston Globe had colored high temperature maps with noon pressure/frontal positions for the entire country.

I am a big fan of hot weather because I hate the cold winters in Boston, so as kid, I would look at the maps and root for the warm fronts to come up from the south. Obviously, I had no concept of how these things worked. All I knew was that I wanted three straight days of 90+ highs so that we would have a heatwave (yeah, to all the southerners here: us Bostonians have no concept of what hot is...).

I was introduced to sailboats at around the same age. My father would take me down to the Charles River in downtown Boston. They fascinated me so I decided that I was going to learn how to sail. I got the chance to do that when I turned 10 years old, old enough to attend Community Boating, Inc., the boathouse that owns most of the boats on the Charles River.

The more involved with sailing I got, the more I needed to know about the weather. I started by looking up as many sources of weather forecasts that I could. Ranging from local news stations to the NWS. I compared them to try to figure out which days had the potential to be hot and windy, my favorite sailing conditions.

The more I read about weather, the more I wanted to know. The interest that I had in it from birth had finally gotten the better of me. The more I learned about thunderstorms, the more I wanted to see of them. I would go up onto the roof of a 5-story parking garage near my house during storms to watch the lightning. When I got my license I decided to “chase†in eastern MA. This chasing really only involved driving to a place in the path of a thunderstorm and waiting for it to hit me.

I have known since I was a freshman in high school that meteorology was what I wanted to do. Now, I am a freshman at the University of Oklahoma. I’ve already gone chasing some squall lines, and I can’t wait to see and photograph my first supercell. I am completely hooked on chasing. But I don’t care if I don’t see the best storm, or even if I bust. I’m in chasing for everything that it has to offer. Even if it’s just driving around and seeing the plains on a bust.
 
I dont have a big story either about a tornado that hit my house or anything like that, but living in Minnesota for 18 years we have gotten our fair share of decent storms which is what got me into the interest of weather. My goal has been to get a degree in meteorology but we'll see how that goes. anyways, i remember as a kid always going right to the window and watching the lightning and whatever else the storm produced. in 2005 i really started to pay attention to radar and started reading books about chasing and trying to figure out how to read models. in 2006 i got certified in Skywarn and started chasing that summer and have been chasing since, with my biggest year coming this past summer. i just saw a piece of paper from elementary school asking what we wanted to be when we grew up and of course i wrote storm chaser.:cool:
 
My facination for severe storms goes way back to the late 1950's. I have always had a passion to see strong winds. I can remember back to October 1959 when tropical storm "Judith" came across the SW coast of Florida, living in north Miami we experienced gale force winds from the south and southwest during most of the day and I remember being outside and really enjoying the event. The following year I began to notice accounts of hurricanes on the radio and newspapers and when what we call now a days a category-4 hurricane "Donna" was heading in our direction for several days and I remember how exciting that would be. The center of this 930mb hurricane struck the upper Florida keys with fringe winds of 75 to 90mph gusts in my area of north Miami. Four years later I was lucky enough to experience the eye of strong cat-2 hurricane "Cleo". Only a year later get winds of near 100mph from hurricane "Betsy" who's eye passed through the upper Keys. After 1966 when the hurricane drought began for south Florida I began to plan to chase them where ever they strike but the only problem I was still a kid.
At the same time I was also a fanatic about tornadoes but living in S. Florida it would be a few years before I would be able to track them down.
Late in the year of 1973 I went to a seminar held at the Nationa Hurricane Center by Joe Golden who showed a 16mm film of the Union City, Oklahoma tornado.
All I can remember from that film is how fascinated I was with not only the motion of the tornado but also the cloud base motion. There were a few questions from the audience that asked is that time lapse? Joe had to repeat no that was real time. After seeing this film I made the decision that I had to see one of these myself the next year.
1974 I along with a frend of mine Eddie Sims went for one week to Oklahoma during mid-May with the hope of seeing a tornado in tornado alley. We saw some good storms and for the first time golf ball size hail but we new little how to intercept supercells. That week we went to the old OU maproom and met Gene Moore who was most kind and gave us a crash course on how to intercept severe storms. Since then I have not missed a single year out to the plains and any hurricane is fair game and even will go to the west pacific for a few typhoons.
 
When I was little, my Dad & I used to sit on our porch & watch storms come in. I still cherish these memories. I have always been completely fascinated by weather & I trace it back to my Dad.

As a young adult, I lived outside during summers for 4 years as a camp counselor. I went through some amazing storms (not all of them strong storms, but all of them interesting) & I just loved it. I love the cycles of weather & I love watching clouds change. I realized if you watch & live outside for extended periods, you can somewhat predict what will happen. My friends used to make fun of me b/c I was always aware of the skies & could many times predict what was going to happen. This fueled by storm watching & my friend & I used to go out in the country so we could watch storms come in.

Enter the age of the internet, & I love watching storms move on the radar, as well, & seeing how weather moves across the planet. I am such a dork, but I like to keep the radar up & go outside to watch the live action. Better than a movie! :)

This summer, I was at a canoeing class near Lodi, WI when they had their burst of tornadic activity. We were on the river when sirens kept going off. I spent about 3 hours watching the clouds in complete awe-wow. I had a weather radio so I could follow everything going on around the area also.

I have never done any real chasing but I would like to someday. I am not sure how to switch from watching what comes by to "chasing". I loved reading all the replies. I guess some people are just born to love storms.
 
As a kid I was always interested in science. It was inevitable living in Kansas that it would eventually manifest into weather and storms. It began with interests in things like nature, fossils, dinosaurs, and astronomy. In my early elementary days, my dream was to become an astronomer or an astronaut when I grew up. That quickly changed in 1990/1991 when the Hesston/Andover tornadoes hit close to the Wichita area. I was in fifth grade when the Andover tornado hit. I was just appalled as a young kid at how the atmosphere could produce something so violent and devastating. I began searching for every weather-related book I could at the school library. I watched tornado specials and stocked up on Tim Marshall's videos. I watched The Weather Channel for hours on end. And these were the days back when The Weather Channel was good (early 90's). When I got in trouble my parents would ground me from watching (T.V.) The Weather Channel. When I got my drivers license, that is when I began to go out (close to home) and chase a storm every now and then. It grew into a serious hobby by 2001 and I have activity chase, as time allows, every since.
 
Like some others here I became fascinated by storms at a very young age. In fact, some of my most vivid memories from early childhood involve my family scrambling for the basement to the sound of tornado sirens blaring through the dark of night. Tornadoes at night still scare the hell out of me today, not because of those experiences as a child but just because tornadoes at night are damn scary, lol. As much as I want to see a tornado I dread the sound of the siren at night. The sound that is so beautiful in the day but so terrifying at night when you’re jarred out of sleep to the piercing warning of a possible monster outside tearing through the dark. Interesting dichotomy on a chase trip, hope to see the biggest, baddest tornado during the day but please don’t wake me to that siren in the dead of night.

What ultimately interested me in chasing was simply the desire to see a tornado. I’d always wanted to witness this thing I found so fascinating, and after being captivated by so many chaser videos on TV I finally decided to quit thinking about chasing and actually do it. I took my first chase trip to the plains in 2001 and even though I didn’t see a tornado it was one of the most amazing, exhilarating experiences in my life. I felt so ALIVE, and that’s still the same way I feel every time I’m out on the plains, witnessing the majesty of Mother Nature.
 
Living in Arizona I grew up with the monsoons. I always loved the big claps of thunder. When I was about 9, I was sitting by our fireplace when lightning hit our roof. It hit very close to the top of our fireplace and the sound almost knocked me off the chair. The neighbors called us to tell us the lightning had hit our roof and it was on fire. It was a very exciting night because we were all on the roof trying to put the fire out. After that, I wanted to see the "big storms" in the plains. In 1994, my youngest was old enough for me to leave for a while so I decided to head to the plains. I called my best friend Kathy (we met in 3rd grade) because I knew Kathy, would come with me. She agreed if the following year we could go swim with the dolphins. We have come out every year since then. I'm still waiting to go swimming with the dolphins. Last year was our 15th year stormchasing!
 
:D I was born a month before the Waco, TX Tornado of 1953. (gives away my age-LOL) Clong

Well young fellow, let me tell you how I walked on the ruble of that tornado...:eek:

I was a Junior in Temple High School and they let me out to assist with the ham activities in Waco. Amateur radio was much more essential at that time due to lack of facilities. I'll save you folks the math, I am 72.

In keeping with the thread:

I don't recall not being interested in weather in some form or fashion. The Waco Tornado could possibly be the beginning of the conscious awareness, then riding out typhoons in the Navy, ground to air communicator with the test pilots at Convair/Forth Worth (had to decipher the old teletype weather codes and pass on to the pilots), small boat sailor on the upper Texas coast, rancher in central Texas (where a good rain or new calf is always welcome), and now a weather instructor for the United States Power Squadrons, a boating education organization.
 
We had a tornado in Sunnyvale, California in May of 1998 - the 'El Nino' year.
But it was my Dad's story of how our farm was hit by the Pomeroy Cyclone in 1893 that had me riveted.
My Great Granddad James was in our barn - the largest in the BV County at the time - with a neighbor/hired hand when the twister struck at about 5 PM July 6th.
My Granddad made it out of the barn and was sandblasted pretty badly; but our hired hand was picked up and carried for 1/2 mile and was dashed into a large tree - and died the next day.
http://www.iagenweb.org/calhoun/story.html

When I was 11, I went out with my family from California to see our farm in Alta IA for the very first time.
My Dad took my bro and I to an Odd Fellows home to visit a Mason friend of my Dad - who was a survivor of that event.
He told us what happened to him, and the terrible twister that happened that fateful day.
Many people were killed/injured that day in that part of IA - BTW.
I was riveted; and from that point tornadoes always held a personal and special interest for me.
Now that I have the chance to be an eSpotter and chaser for Buena Vista County IA this year, I have seen four tornadoes my first year out (but not in IA; they were in KS!).
Too cool for school...
 
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