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How did you get interested in Chasing?

Growing up in Kansas it was easy to get into the passion of severe weather! Well thats after I left the fear of storms! I would watch storms move in across my area every year, and wanted to learn more about them. So I started to find every book, TV specials over tornadoes, and more to learn about severe weather. I started to watch TWC in its good old days for hours, and all day if I could. I just had to get a camera to start documenting the severe weather events, or weather myself. I had just a camera that took pictures. I took pictures of clouds, and thunderstorms, but that wasn't enough!

It wasn't until the year 2000 where I got my very first Camcorder! That year I saw my first supercell, and got footage of it. April 19, 2000. Tornadic supercell taking over the atmosphere in Southeast Kansas. Well from there I had to study up on these storms called supercells, and I fell in love with them, and knowing that those storms are the ones that produce tornadoes.

I always had a fascination with tornadoes! So much that in grade school at a very young age my focus was not school as much, but storms and tornadoes. I use to color in those kid coloring books of tornadoes, and my teachers were like, What is wrong with this child! Yes indeed through most of grade school I would be looking out the window of storms moving in rather than paying attention to my teacher. It was crazy, but I loved it!

Back to my story of capturing my very first supercell on film, well that day change my life, and from there I got to experience a very extreme weather event that occurred on May 4, 2003. F4 tornado in Girard, KS! Yes I tried to tape that tornado, but had to take shelter in my basement because my family and I did not know if it was coming our way or not. I was so upset that I did not get to get good footage of the tornado.

From 2004 up to 2007 I was so busy with school and personal things in my life, including a move out of tornado alley to Southern Texas that I got out of the passion I had for severe weather, but once I moved back to tornado alley things were good again. I had a vehicle, and that long life dream of chasing down these storms came true in 2007. I started to chase storms around my area strong and severe to see what it was like, and what a feeling it was! I also had access to the internet in 2007 for the first time of my own and heard about a website called youtube, and decided to check it out, and found out you could upload your videos and broadcast it to the world. So from there I started to post my weather videos, and man I thought that was cool!

So I sort of got the hang of chasing for the first time in 2007, but 2008 I wanted to go all out and really chase. So in comes the 2008 storm season and May 1, 2008 after attending college I was preparing to chase later on in the day. I heard that that day around my area in Southeast Kansas that supercells were going to explode if the cap was to break. The Cap did let go, and next thing I know I was chasing this awesome supercell from Montgomery County, KS into Wilson County, KS. Well it became tornadic and I wanted to get closer to it. I saw a lot of nice storm structure, and incredible scud bombs with one lowering that was interesting to me.

Got back home to review the footage I got and was happy with it. Put it on the tube, and got notice from storm chasers! Wow, and that was just the first part of the week of exciting things I saw with more amazing weather to come!

May 10, 2008 was a special day to me as I would graduate out of a junior college that day. Later in the day after making it home I turned my focus to the weather as my area was under a tornado watch. Just a few hours after getting home all hell was about to break loose! Hail started to fall, and I had a bad feeling that something was about to happen. Next thing I heard is a loud sound of the tornado siren going off. I couldn't believe it! I drove off in my car started to look all around to see what the heck was happening. Next thing I see is a funnel cloud, and my adrenaline was going crazy! I drove outside of town a little bit and saw a freakin tornado form in front of my eyes! I was overwhelmed with emotions. I forgot how to use a camera right and how to shoot video when I saw this tornado! I didn't know what to do like should I film it or take a look at this amazing beast with my naked eye! I did both which made for crappy shaky video of the tornado! At times I had to run up the road to get a shot of the EF-4 tornado again. Little did I know that this Massive tornado would end up destroying a town and would kill people. It was so crazy that moment, and in the future I plan on filming another tornado in a more calm manner, and to get some good footage of a tornado. That is my goal for sure!

Too bad the next year called 2009 would bring disappointment! I mostly encountered HP Supercells, or a lot of bad luck, and so many busts on chases. What a lame year for severe weather in Southern Kansas! May 8, 2009 I did see one incredible Derecho! NWS in Wichita wanted that footage that I got of the straight line winds that morning. That footage can be found on the storms of 2009 DVD from the NWS in Wichita!

I hope for good things in 2010, and look forward to my future in storm chasing, and as part of the storm chasing community!

I hope I did not bore you with this long post! But I thought I needed to post how I got into severe weather and storm chasing! There is so much left out that I didn't talk about! If you want, just send me a message and I can talk more about it or if you just want to talk that would be find too!
 
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Hmmm. Great question! Guess maybe because storms chased me all my life. They terrified me (still do, to some degree, especially if tornadic or large hailers). Moved to 'The Alley' 26 years ago (courtesy USAF). Storms here can be massive and explosive.

Wanted to be a meteorologist, but a svr lack of math skills and my fear of storms precluded that. (I'd be the one on TV: 'We're all gonna diiieeee.' Not good.)

Five years ago, decided to stop letting the fear rule me. No car, so chase off the front porch: confront the beast, as it were, in my own backyard, on my terms, and take its picture. =]

Going on my first REAL chases next season, as a ridealong with an experienced chaser/spotter. Nervous? Yes. Excited? DEFINITELY! (Just as long as I don't wind up in the bear's cage and meeting Mr Bear, shaking his hand. LOL!) Wish me luck!!
 
From living in a crummy location.

At least from the standpoint of seeing so many promising storms veer of, with the best part missing me by only a mere few miles. I'm definitely low-tech, and rarely interested in that 200-plus mile chase. I try to make close note of those prevailing areas that storms prefer -- and they do have their preferences for no apparent rhyme or reason. Then, using TWC (or radar from a local channel), and my cell phone, I try to judge where a promising cell is located, and if it is heading for one of those favored areas; then I go to that area, whether 15 miles away, 10, or even as close as 3 miles away!!

As I really prefer not to chase at all, and just see that storm right from my porch, I'm always afraid of a longer-distance commitment for fear of that happening while I'm gone. Then, after wasting time, gas -- not to mention traffic hassle -- while seeing little or nothing. I feel "egg in my face" for not staying closer.
 
I use to be scared to death of storms. When I was a kid, I saw my godparents house struck by lightning and instantly got scared of storms. Fast forward 15 years and I was stuck outside in a severe storm while camping. I sat in my dad's truck and watched this storm and was instantly converted ito being a weather hound. Now I am 31 and can't get enough severe weather. I would love to do a season in the plains one spring. I think that would be an incredible 8 weeks that would just leave me awestruck.

Now with my affiliation with some friends in racing I have helped them avoid some rather dangerous severe weather. Through my years of learning about weather and tracking and chasing storms I was able to get people to a safer location once at a track. The grandstand provided safety during the storms. Lots of rain, hail and lightning but no tornadoes even though the radar shows rotation. It was all we had for structure to get to in time after loading up all the pit equipment and cars since the track ordered everyone off the property when the warnings were issued.
 
I would have to say riding out a hurricane in Florida when I was 5-6 got me interested in storms... I was amazed that a storm could last 2-3 days and the amount of wind and damage it could do.

When I was around 10-11 and living in Michigan I saw a couple of guys parked outside my parents home talking on their radios when there was an approaching storm. I rode my bike past and asked what they were doing "Oh just watching the sky"... A few minutes later they tore out of there in a hurry, later that evening we learned of a tornado striking about two miles away. A couple years later or house was hit by something while we were not home, no real damage to the house, but the yard was messed up bad, a camper was tossed in one direction, a radio tower in another, tips of trees were snapped off in a twisted manner... No one ever came to confirm anything, but I had decided we had been hit by a very small twister... So then I dove into learning about weather.

When I reached the age of 26 I decided I wanted to try my hand at chasing, so I set out to get my ham license. the first year or two i sat and listened to the local weather nets and from their reports, I would chase. By the time I was 30 I was pretty active in chasing locally.

Im now 35 and I'm looking to head west this spring to try and capture my first tornado on film. So I set out to learn the most I can about "forecasting" in a very short amount of time. Thats how I ended up here at Stormtrack and I'm tryig to absorb as much info from the pros.

Ken
 
I was more interested in photography. So started looking at what type photography not every body was doing compaired to wildlife, portrait, ect ect and ( at the time) it seemed to be lightning. First time out I shot like 20 rolls of slides.. and got nothing! :eek: Thought I better read up on this some, and thats where it started.
 
Sitting through the July 4th, 1969 "Ohio Fireworks Derecho" when I was eight got me started. We had been on Lake Erie in Cleveland that day when it hit and I had a front row seat (literally, in my grandparent's new Skylark) as that ungodly black wall of clouds rolled onshore. I'll never forget it.
 
Without giving my life story, and keeping this as short as possible.

I grew up in Oklahoma.
I saw the people who took care of me turn frantic when Tornadoes were afoot.
This early fear turned into an unrelenting curiosity as I grew older.
I started chasing the minute I got a drivers license.

And that's it....in four simple sentences :D
 
Update to my previous "getting started" post, I can't believe it but after 40 years I found the park we were at when the July 4th, 1969 derecho rolled off Lake Erie in Cleveland. We were parked nose forward at the front of the lot, overlooking the lake when it hit. Imagine it!

The only thing missing are the old growth trees and the wood frame pavilion that used to overlook the lake.

Hope this link works correctly, it's a Google Maps street view.


http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&s...;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>
 
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