Mentors for Stormchasers

Jun 13, 2004
Olathe, KS
Let's give a little thank you to someone or some people who started you out and/or got you going with your stormchasing career experience.

List date, people (one or more) , how helped and etc etc

I did some minor chasing before 2002. However in June 2002 Doug Raflik gave me the opportunity to partner with him to Colorado and Texas. We saw EBT( - Everything But Tornadoes): Wallclouds, Hailcores, beavertail and more.It was a fantastic few days.
Never had seen anything like that when I lived in New England and RI. Michigan and Kansas (came to KC area in 1981). Too busy teaching, doing doctoral stuff, family.

And so it began for me.

Thanks again Doug!!!
I didn't have a "mentor"..

I do want to say something though about a neato magazine that used to come from Tim Marshall in TX every month, StormTrack the print publication (predecessor to this website) that he used to mail out to subscribers. Remember those? That was the coolest thing, specific to storm chasing. Those of us without mentors read everything like a sponge back then (mid 90s for me). I'd finish StormTrack the magazine the night I would get it. Of course, the Internet replaces the print version but those were appreciated.
I guess I'd like to, LOL. I've had several pieces of advice and tidbits over the years from several chasers, but as far as getting started in chasing and learning the ropes...that was me and many, many mistakes. I still make mistakes, which is why I'm always learning out there.
Funny I was just thinking about creating a thread like this. This year I have been blessed by a couple of chasers (u know who u are) who have not only been kind enough to let me come along they have taken the time to teach me oh so much. I think the best thing any verteran can do for the storm chasing community is share their knowledge with young and inexperienced chasers, of course the new chasers is gonna have to do his/her own part to learn but it helps a ton to recieve advice from veterans. Thanks to all who take the time!!!!
I've been chasing for years and I am still learning a lot. Much of my initial study was on my own and using Stormtrack (print version) and reading WX-CHASE. I do want to thank Jim Leonard and Charles Edwards who initially taught me about storm chasing back in 1997 while doing a chase tour and who helped me over the years with forecasting and my many questions. I have also learned a lot from Tim Vasquez (his published materials are essential along with his Forecast School classes). Dave Hoadley has shown me alot over the years especially some of the subtle visual aspects of chasing. I also want to thank Jeff Piotrowski for advice and forecasting.

The great thing about chasing is that everytime I chase or even hang out with other chasers including those who started chasing more recently, I learn things. Everybody has different chase techniques, focuses, opinions and styles and I can choose things that are helpful.

Bill Hark
Well, I would have to say without a doubt that Steve Levine of Tornado Alley Safari has been my mentor. The weather here in Sothern California is extreamly boaring. Fortuately I grew up surfing here. Anyway, In 1997, my first year chasing, Steve delt with my million questions about everything. I have been out every season since
and for the last 3 years I have gone on my own and last year I took my two older brothers. I am npow mentoring them. Thanks Steve. I live this stuff.

I will also add that everyone on this fourm has been an amazing mentor. Reading all your forecasts then looking at the models myself has tought me all about forecasting. Thanks guys and gals... You all rock..

My mentors in storm chasing would be Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Tupac (and all the brothers on' Death Row). If it wasn't for their funky-fresh rhymes spit out in my pimpin sub-woofers, I may have never been able to make it to the right storms, or they would have never gotten that extra source of baroclinicity if I didn't create a temperature gradient when I burn rubber on KS highways... Laid back... With my mind on my money and my money on my mind.

I do want to say something though about a neato magazine that used to come from Tim Marshall in TX every month, StormTrack the print publication (predecessor to this website) that he used to mail out to subscribers. Remember those? That was the coolest thing, specific to storm chasing.[/b]

I can remember standing in the yard for long periods of time with the other mail tucked under my arm when David Hoadley's ST arrived. It was devoured immediately regardless of other priorities---what an incredible validator it was, after years of being a 'weather weirdo' to just about everyone I knew. It took longer to read Tim's slick cover version, but it received the same instant devotion. Then it would sit atop the desk and get re-read numerous times until the next edition came out.

That said, the ST website, so easy to take for granted these days, is utterly miraculous when compared to the opportunities for laypersons to injest storm theory and meteorological techniques prior to 1990.
Actually I'd like to thank all of you guys here, I learned a lot from this forum and also from hundreds of publications around. A special thank you goes to Jimmy Deguara with whom I chased this year and shared a lot of experiences and knowledge important for chasing with me. Otherwise I am chasing for several years here and I am a self teacher :)
Well Shane and I were in the same boat back in the day. I had no mentor, just me and some wild ass ambition to chase tornadoes. The first few years, for me, were rough but I managed to get a few tornadoes in here an there. It wasn't until 2004 when I started chasing with others and that’s when things really started to get interesting.

That's my story and I am sticking to it... No Mentor, and never an idol, just me, myself, and I in the beginning. No laptop, GPS, WXWorks or cell data. Just me and the NOAA radio and one eyeball. The thing about it is I would not have it any other way for a beginning experience.

I read a lot and watched a lot of videos through the 1990's. In 1999 and then again in 2000, I paid to go out with Silver Lining Tours. My experience with David Gold, Bill Reid, Roger Hill and a host of others was incredible, and I wouldn't trade it.
I've chased on my own since 2001, mainly locally and have had reasonably good success, thanks to those guys!
Thanks for all those who have published on this thread.
Keep them coming. Weather (pun intended) you did most of the chasing on your own or with buddy or buddies, we always have learned or continue to learn by self and from each other.
It is the satori (japanese word for the aha and enightenment) that gives me the enjoyment and sharing of a storm, weather, tornado, eclipses of sun , other chasers, (even my wife!) ........
Dave Ewoldt is my mentor and the chaser that has shown me some amazing things in the 5 years we have chased together. Hailing from the UK , the whole experience the first year I went (2000) was incredible and everything I had dreamt it would be. Mr E is patient, knowledgeable and also a great laugh...great chase companion and he has even got my other half hooked on chasing now! :)
A lot of the mentoring was done by myself...buying books, reading articles, habbies hints, websites, and, lots of observing for myself. I became very good at RAD...just by watching it constantly. Storm chasing wise, I read lots of articles, and got bits of help along the way, from various people. Kurt Hulst, is someone that definatly has helped me....
Mentors? No people, but there are two specific items:

First was the the March 13th, 1990 tornado in Hesston, KS. I read an article about it in a mid-1990's "Weatherwise" magazine at my local library up here in WI. After seeing the pics and reading the article, I was hooked. I wanted to see that in person.

Second, was an article in National Geographic from June 1987 called "Tornado!". My high school library had a huge old stock of NG magizines, and over my 4 years I went through something like 20 or 30 years worth of NG. I stumbled over a lot of great articles, and this one was no exception. The pic I remember most was of the original NSSL FC1 van with an amber dash light and an obviously-backlit cabin for the pic, which was taken from a vehicle in front of it. I don't remember much else, but I did just buy a copy off eBay for $1 so I can refresh my memory.