Storm Chasing And Relationships

Explosive emotional outbreaks possible. "Get out! It's Over!", "When you are storm chasing the last thing you think of is me!", "What's more important, storms or me?", "Goodbye! Now you can hang your supercell pictures where our wedding pictures were!", "I won't be there when you come back!", "Go, and if you kill yourself, it's your problem!" ... How many of these chilling and gut-wrenching phrases sound familiar? Well, many storm chasers have run across someone, whether a significant other or not, who has labeled them as "crazy", "stupid", or "inconsiderate".

These things really hurt, trust me, I have had my share of them. First I will try to explain what I know based on my experiences. The one thing to consider is the differences between a man and a woman when it comes to storm chasing. Storm chasing is like HUNTING. It is boring, but when you catch something, the excitement justifies the boredom. It also has an inherent risk to it.

Like hunting, storm chasing is taken up more by the male community than females. Some women are into storm chasing, just like some are into hunting, but it is a minority. You can read a great topic on "Women and Storm Chasing" at the STORMTRACK web site. The typical regime is that the husband, or boyfriend, will go out storm chasing while the woman usually does not come along. This can cause some "nothing in common" issues as well as the woman being worried sick over his safety. Sometimes, the woman may not be able to cope with this stress and rather be alone.

Another example of this was a person who was a volcanologist and traveled around the world studying volcanoes, another activity with an inherent risk. He wound up in the hospital after falling off a ledge with moderate injuries. After his recovery, his wife locked away his passport when another eruption was occurring in the Philippines. Eventually, his wife let him go, after all, he worked with the Geological Survey and this was part of his job. When he returned, uninjured and in high spirits, divorce lawyers and grudges greeted him. His wife admitted that she loved him, but could not deal with the possibility of him not coming home when he went on the expeditions.

Personally, a chase partner of mine had his fiancee take his chasing money, for a trip to the US Midwest, and spend it on herself. Her intention was to keep him from going, but it failed because other members of our chase group loaned him the cash needed for the trip. There is one thing I need to say, and that is COMMUNICATION. I can stress than anymore.

When you meet someone, tell them what you do. Tell them why you chase storms. Most of all, bring up encouraging statistics about your hobby - such as that storm chasers rarely get hurt when many people are killed by the storm they are chasing. This is because storm chasing requires knowledge and training to study natures violence in a SAFE as possible manner. This is a very important topic to discuss with your friends and loved ones.

Another hint, if you meet someone and they tell you "That's crazy, I would never do that!", or "I think that will be a problem if we get serious.", then DONT get "serious" with that person! Preferably, someone with a similar interest with nature or extreme sports, for example, a skydiver or whitewater kayaker, would be much more empathetic and understanding of your hobby.

Another important thing is that if a problem does arise, talk about it. The most important thing is to talk it out and fix the mis-understanding. The WORST thing is to keep your mouth shut and not say anything when you should ... One chase partner of mine had his girlfriend leave him in such a rage that he videotaped her to show her how hysterical she was! She blew up so dramatically simply because she "held it in" so many times, like a CAP in a high CAPE environment, she eventually "exploded".

If the talking and up-front informative does not work, there is counseling. Storm chasing is not a "crazy" thing. It is something you and your loved ones should be proud of. Never be ashamed to see a marital counselor or the like, after all, you are only getting help, and it is wrong if you don't get help! In my case, it is important to be open and positive about your hobbies.

Always talk about the good points. Being a skydiver as well, I always talk about how high I jump from and how beautiful the sky is up there. I never bring up issues about accidents I witnessed or risks involved. Remember, these things scare people and cause people to worry. Tell everyone, especially when you just meet them, what you enjoy to do, let it be your family, boss, fiends, and loved ones. If they don't understand, it is their "opinion" and that deserves a degree of respect too.
Or do what I did: Marry someone, wait a few years and they're more than happy to get you out of the house for a few days. :)

BTW, did you ever make it to the UIN boogie? I worked there for 7 years and those 10 days each August was always a wild time (even if you're not a skydiver.) Just some of the stuff you got to see from the roof of the terminal building was enough to knock a tee-totaler dead on the spot. :)


My girlfriend, Jo Radel, is the perfect woman for me. She's into the chase thing like I am, but understands that my passion runs deeper than hers, or anyone else's for that matter. Because of this, she puts up with my constant fixation with chasing and tornadoes, even through the off-season.

When we moved into our new apartment at the first of this year, I came home from work the first day after we'd been there and she had gone through our boxes, grabbed all my old tornado pictures (that had been in storage for a few years) and had them hanging all over the house. She bought me a new vidcam with her tax return this year (although it turned out she actually picked out MY vidcam at a pawn shop that had been stolen by one of my former roommates/chase partners). Smaller gifts included a pack of digital 8 video tapes, a 2004 Road Atlas, and an OU Sooner notebook and matching pen, for keeping my chase statistics in this year. All of this on her own, you can't put a price on that kind of coolness. Plus, she's a hottie :wink:

I've had not-so-good situations in the past, but they were never traumatic, because the instant I sensed any resentment towards chasing, the chick was gone. I had a good thing going years ago with this one girl. I left town early on the morning of April 8, 1999 headed to Missouri. I left her a message saying I'd be gone all day and probably most of the night. Well, I'd underestimated how long a trip it would actually be, and we didn't get home until the next day. When I checked my machine, she'd called three times. The first one was normal, genuine "I miss you" crap. The second was more bitchy, wondering where I was. The last call basically said "this is my last attempt to contact you." Mind you, I was gone about 36 hours, that's not even two whole days. Later on, after I finally talked to her again, she said "You're never there." I said "It's tornado season." And that was that.

My motto for any woman who tries to come between me and chasing is simple:

"Make me choose, you're gonna lose."

Fortunately, I lucked out with Jo. She's the best.
I feel that I got lucky too.. I met my current wife 4 yrs ago and she was from Kansas and Oklahoma (Ponca City area) so she has had alot of experience with tornadoes, has been in them, and said she doesn't like them. When I told her that I wanted to get back into chasing, she was like "you can go but I'm stayin' here. I've had enough of tornadoes"

Thats when I got back into chasing again last year. I went on a few chases last year, didn't get much.... then this year I started bringing my 19yr old son with me on the chases.. she still said "no way" about her going.... Well, Buddy and I went on a chase in Oklahoma and got video of the stuff we seen and did ... had alot of fun, wallclouds, hail, a funnel but no tornado... we got back and showed this vid to her. The vid kinda sparked something in her because she then said "you know, it might be kinda fun to go on a chase"

She got her wish on June 12 2004, I notices a good storm fireing up sw of Joplin Mo. so, I told her I was going and ask if she want to go?? She kinda hesitated but decided what the heck, I'll go... So we left for a quick local chase.... spotted the wallcloud, watched it drop a funnel, chased it again.... ect.... basically a good clean short local chase...

She is ready to go again.. LOL ... Now she's HOOKED!! no pun intended..hehe

NOW when I think about goin' ... she is right there with me.. :) fired up raring to go.......

Originally posted by Shane Adams

My motto for any woman who tries to come between me and chasing is simple:

\"Make me choose, you're gonna lose.\"

LOL... I like your motto Shane... :laughing3:

Funny thing is, that's how I lost my last 2 wives.. LOL

I was a single father raising 2 boys (ages 4 and 1 when I got full custody from 1st wife) Seems like each one of future ex's wanted me to choose between her and my boys or my parents... easy answer "bye bye, don't let the door hit ya in the ass on the way out!!"

This is all different with Dee, she puts US first. If someone tries to come between me and my boys or my parents, she is usually the first one to step up and she isn't one you really want to mess with.. hehe... gotta love her..:)

Diana the Huntress

It perplexes me that comparatively few women chase. That one is a mystery to me. As Chris points out, chasing is hunting. I totally agree, the two are very much the same.

Hunting is symbolized in Diana, the Roman huntress archetype (same goddess as Artemis in the Greek). Immortalized in the Parthenon in 447 BC with her bow arm still bare, Diana was reputed to "rule the wilderness, the untamed frontiers of nature". Apollo's twin sister, Artemis/Diana was also the goddess of the Moon. All I have to say, get out there! Be true to your inherent adventurous nature :)

That being said, relationships and friendships too simply need compatibility, flexibility and understanding toward the true natures of the people who are in it. I think a requirement of a successful relationship is simply acceptance of the other person for who he/she is, without trying to change them. So many people get with someone but then try to build a fantasy or role and make that person live in it, based on their expectations of what a man or woman "should" be. I actually know a couple who calls eachother by celebrity names. (I wonder where that one's going?). Why not just enjoy and be with the real person for who they are, and let them be themselves? So it makes sense that the only way a person can get to know and understand the other is through communication (otherwise, how would one "get" the other?). A lot of people just don't communicate or don't know what to do, so sometimes remain stoic and silent when angry, let misunderstandings go unresolved or worse, dole out the silent treatment to avoid conflict. Friendships then just get stuck.

My promise to myself is to only date or have friends in others who allow me to remain me, and I return the favor of course. Although I too have been called "obsessed with lightning", and even "in love with lightning" a couple times, the truth is that friends and dates who WILL accept you, stormchasing and all, are not hard to find. Often, they are found in adventurous kindred spirits.
I have an ex boyfriend who got really mad when I went out at the beginning of this season. I don't know if it was the risks involved with chasing that caused him to make such a big deal, or it was the fact that I chased with a few guy friends. He tried to get me not to go out again, which didn't go over well with me at all. Since we already were having a lot of problems, his trying to control my doing what I loved pulled one of the last straws. So, needless to say, he and I are no longer together (though I have remained friends with him).

It's kind of sad when you talk to a significant other about what you saw out chasing and he/she is either bored or upset about it. :(
Chasing is hunting...
It's better, there is no killing involved. :)

My wife of 24 years just went to NWS Spotter School with me last week and got her certificate. I was really excited that she became so interested.
I use to tell here not to ever make me choose between her and flying, now there is no choice at all, I would leave flying in a second if it came down to choosing between the two. She is the best thing I have ever had or will ever have in my life. I hope all of you are as lucky as me to find such a great soul mate.....especially if they will chase with you :wink:
I definately agree that it's great to have a "significant other" who at least understands your interest in storm chasing. My girlfriend of nearly 4 years has chased with me since 2002... She understands my passion, she puts up with my constant talk about storm chasing / tornadoes / supercells when a "big chase day" presents itself. She's NEVER complained while out on a chase, even in 2002 when it was bust after bust after bust. While she's not as interested in it as I am, she at least understands how much I enjoy / am intruiged with/by it... It's absolutely awesome :)

I think this is one of those hobbies that makes it difficult if one's significant other finds no interest in it... I mean, like Melissa said, it's a killer to want to talk about chasing, only to have your other find absolutely no interest in it, find it boring, or not want to listen to it... I can almost go on for days about chasing, past events, etc etc etc.. LOL don't get Gabe Garfield (aka the Storm Date Machine) and I started...
Been married for 20, the only time my wife has dissented was when the money wasn't there to send me halfway across the US. Of course I didn't start Plains chasing until I was 35, we had been married 11 years, and my wife knew what kind of freak she had married.

It's these immature people who are unable to accept others for who they are that cause you trouble. If they won't accept chasing, chances are they won't accept other things. :violent2:
Originally posted by Melissa Moon
It's kind of sad when you talk to a significant other about what you saw out chasing and he/she is either bored or upset about it. :(

That sounds like me and my girlfriend :p She got pretty upset when I drove only 130 miles away from Kansas City back on May 29th to Marysville, KS... because it's "too far away". And yeah, she does get bored too when I tell her about the tornadoes she hasn't seen while I was out :lol:
Some people have interest in traveling, some have interest in knitting, some have interest in raising rottweillers. We of course have the interest of the Tornado (personally i would prefer to be in good siight of a supercell than in a fenced in back yard with a rottweiller)
No matter what the interest in any relationship there has to be respect for the other personwhen it comes to those kind of things.
My boyfriend and I have discussed how things will work when I do get to start chasing.

He isn't as into the weather as I am, but he listens to me talk about it. He enjoys listening to me, unless I cross over into obsessive, which I do sometimes. When I do that, he just tells me I'm being obsessive, and tries to get my mind on something else. Since we've been together, he's begun to take notice of cloud formations. When a storm is coming in, he'll go with me to check things out. He wants to see a tornado one day.

He's asked a few things of me when I do start chasing. He's asked me not to go without him because he's worried that something could happen. He says he doens't care if we get hurt together, but if I get hurt out by myself while he's a work, he's gonna be mad. :lol: I can see the two of us spending time on the road chasing in the future. Our relationship is too wonderful not to get somewhat involved in each others' hobbies and interests.
My hubby of 11 years could never understand my love of weather, but being the open minded and loving man he is.......he took me to the Severe Storms Conference in Garland last February, and attended it with me. While some of the parts of it bored him, he did listen while the Spotter Training was going on. Discussing this on the way home, he can somewhat see why I have this drive to chase and now wants to chase with me. We have only did one local chase together so far, but the enthusiasm was there, just have to harness it and teach him how to read the clouds. He would love to send me to the Plains one spring, and maybe go along with me. But that won't be for another 2 years at least, so we are happy doing local chases.
stormy relationships

Hello, Everybody. I absolutely agree with each and everyone about having an understanding partner. Me and my ex-fiancee split up a couple of years ago due to some other misunderstanding, but I absolutely have no doubt that if we were together and I told him I wanted to pick up storm chasing, he would have called me stupid and talk about how stupid of an idea it was. I will always have a problem, though, because I've always been told how much I don't act like a girl, so I guess I shouldn't let it bother me but kinda makes you wonder where to find someone who's understanding and can deal with my "not much of a woman" flaw - hehe!! Those of you who have an understanding partner who loves you for it, Treasure them forever, you are so blessed!
Re: stormy relationships

Originally posted by Bridget Beddow
but kinda makes you wonder where to find someone who's understanding and can deal with my \"not much of a woman\" flaw - hehe!! Those of you who have an understanding partner who loves you for it, Treasure them forever, you are so blessed!

I'm going to respond to this under a new thread in Everything Else.
Originally posted by Melissa Moon+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Melissa Moon)</div>
Hey Melissa I'll chase with ya... 8)

Sorry, but I'm already booked to go chasing with William Hung :wink:[/b]

Damn girl you owe me a keyboard!!!

Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
I guess I am weird in the respect that as much as I have in common with other chasers I won't date one. I gave up chasing for many years because of a relationship and I will never do that again though. Chasing comes first, its my passion and very much a part of who I am. Any man who cannot handle that cannot handle me and I am outta there.

One thing I have found kinda cool is that most guys I tell that I chase think its cool.... guess we will have to see what they think when I go out chasing next year for weeks at a time like I did this year with male chase partners LOL.

Time will tell....
Bridget wrote:
if we were together and I told him I wanted to pick up storm chasing, he would have called me stupid and talk about how stupid of an idea it was. I will always have a problem, though, because I've always been told how much I don't act like a girl, so I guess I shouldn't let it bother me but kinda makes you wonder where to find someone who's understanding and can deal with my \"not much of a woman\" flaw

Dear Bridget,
You do not have a "not much of a woman" flaw. What you had, it sounds like, was a partner who made a decision to criticize your hobby, reaching for words like "stupid", perhaps out of jealousy, maybe lack of understanding (of your zeal for chasing), or other reasons only he could know. Many people have been in relationships like this, and often, they are simply non fun. When a partner brings to the table some fulfillment in his own life through his own hobbies, you'd probably find a better relationship. I can tell you one thing for sure were acting like a girl. The entire time. Surprise...
My current chase partner is female and she is as crazy about wx as I am. I couldnt imagine chasing without her. We have grown very close over the past year and a half. My ex-wife could never understand the love I have for storms and would always complain about me being gone in the evenings (even though she was always at her parents house and not home anyway). I could never be in a relationship again where they either didnt understand my passion deal with me being gone or loving it as much and going with me. I dont know where this relationship with Kanani and myself will go but I am enjoying the way its working and have enjoyed chasing more the past 2 seasons than I ever have. I even trust her enough to drive my truck while I navigate, look at radar, and shoot video and anybody who knows me knows NOBODY drives my truck!! She is now as an important part of my life as chasing itself.
Originally posted by Jay McCoy
My current chase partner is female and she is as crazy about wx as I am.

She's pretty, too. :) It was nice seeing you again, Jay.

Chasing and relationships....*sigh*

Mine and David's 3rd date was my first chase, and I probably have a bit of a unique view of the whole chasing/relationship matter, being as how I've both chased, and sat at home while he chased.

I was hooked, but I freely admit I've never been as hooked as David is. I love chasing, but for me, 50% of the enjoyment of it has always been that it's something we went and did together. When it came to the 2003 season, I wasn't able to go, because we didn't have reliable childcare for our daughter.

That caused some problems...I encouraged him to go, but at the same time, I resented him going...probably going to shock him here, :lol: , but I hated that I couldn't go on so much as one chase with him that year. At that time, I felt as though chasing was an 'us' thing, and there I was, being left out of the 'us' where it was concerned. He'd come home, all eager to show me the video he'd gotten, to talk about what he'd seen, who he'd met up with on the road, and I'd just sort of 'yeah, uh huh' at him until he stopped, normally pretty hurt and pissed off by my reaction, or lack thereof. It got to the point that I felt as though chasing came before me with him, when after much time spent talking and thinking about it, I realized it didn' was more a part of him than something separate.

That may answer the question about why more women aren't involved in chasing....children. It's still very much the woman's job to take care of the kiddos...not to say men just throw parental responsibilities and family obligations out the window during chase season, by any means (so no one whack me! :shock: ), but there you go. Who takes care of the kiddos at your house during chase season? :)

But, there is another problem with chasing...the financial aspect of it. When you're trying to raise a family, and pay the bills, and one partner is obsessed with chasing, you get to where you resent the money spent on chasing, because there's always so much needing to be done that's not chase related. It's not that big of a problem when both partners are able to chase each time, or most of the time...then it's like a vacation from the mundane reality of life (paying the bills, cleaning house, etc). That's sort of selfish, but then, people are selfish, aren't we?

Having said all that, let me redeem myself a little. :lol:
I've always supported David's desire to chase. I've helped him purchase equipment, heck, the Windstar was my MomMobile, and I handed it over when his Explorer went kaput, just so he'd have a good chase vehicle (well, we would have one, I chased that year!). Even when I was hating the fact I couldn't go, I was making sure we had enough money in our budget for him to go out chasing. When he's been down about something, and threatened to quit chasing, I've talked him out of it (not like that was HARD, or anything, :wink: I think he just wanted to see what I had to say!).

On the flip side, though, you could say that chasing related items helped make our decision to divorce. But, neither chasing nor anything else could ever come between our friendship with one another.

And, chasing is somewhat responsible for the problems we were having now being resolved, so you can't beat that with a stick. :lol:

Like I said, having been on both sides of the fence, maybe I have a somewhat unique perspective on it all. *shrug* All I know is, it's been like coming home this past week, getting to get out with David to do some chasing!
Gayla wrote:
more women aren't involved in chasing....children

That's a good point. I don't have kiddos, & I pay for my own bills so I guess I do admittedly have a lot more mobility that way. But I work FT so that's my limiting factor for chasing I guess. Fortunately, my chasing occurs at night which works out perfectly and I can make an annual run to the Plains for vacation.

Aside from that, if I did have kiddos I know how they would be raised. They would grow up as I did, where being in the outdoors, studying the weather and the natural world, hiking and being in Nature is a major aspect of the family.

When I was a little girlie my dad would take us up to a ranger station at about 10,000 ft in the Sierra Nevada to look at the mountains. No surprise that some of his pictures were of Sierra lightning bolts :) To this day I remember how loud was the thunder up there and how fascinating. His lightning and Earth science books were the first ones I grabbed for as soon as I could read. My dad is a weather geek too and actually just this Father's Day I gave him a new weather radio :) My mom is a Nature freak as well and usually she was the one who learned about the cool stuff to do and see when I was a kid.

Little ninos would not stop me from photographing severe weather, I'm just way too into it, but I could see how there would be limitations if one is to embrace parenthood. I'm sure one of those for me would be the wee hours I stay out (4am lastnight, photographing the Mazatzal fireline again). But kiddos would be along for any (appropriate) adventure, I'd want to expose a child to much in the natural world for his own benefit (that, and music when young...equally important IMHO)

Good thing they make special backpacks to take kiddos along on hikes :) I have some (American) friends who live in Nepal, their Himalaya treks are done with the little one on their back.
Originally posted by GaylaDrummond+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(GaylaDrummond)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Jay McCoy
My current chase partner is female and she is as crazy about wx as I am.

She's pretty, too. :) It was nice seeing you again, Jay.[/b]

It was good to see you and David chasing together. I was starting to wonder about all the hours David and Graham were spending in the van together :lol:

just kidding guys :wink:
Originally posted by Jay McCoy+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Jay McCoy)</div>
Originally posted by GaylaDrummond@
<!--QuoteBegin-Jay McCoy

My current chase partner is female and she is as crazy about wx as I am.

She's pretty, too. :) It was nice seeing you again, Jay.

It was good to see you and David chasing together. I was starting to wonder about all the hours David and Graham were spending in the van together :lol:

just kidding guys :wink:[/b]

From what I understand, Graham was starting to get a little nervous....shhhhh. :wink: :lol: