What got you into weather?

Nov 4, 2022
Massachusetts, USA
I'm pretty sure this (Introductory weather & chasing) was the right thread to post this in, being my first post and an introduction to how I got into tornadoes and all. Do let me know if it was or if it needs to be moved.

So yeah. With the winter semester of college out of the way, I now have time to give a proper hello as well as explaining how I got here. Basically, I've been fond of the weather and especially of tornadoes for as long as I can remember. It's one of those things that I eventually came across at one point or another growing up, and it's stuck with me since. If you remember when I first joined this place in the thread about TIV 1's return, however, then you'll start getting an idea on how I really got into tornadoes. It all began several Christmases ago, when one of the presents my younger brother and I got was the Tornado Lab by Discovery Kids. Super fun to play with, and I still have it today. In addition to the lab, it came with a single DVD copy of the very first episode of Storm Chasers. Watching it for the first time with the TIV being the first thing I saw blew me away, as I've also been a lifelong vehicle lover and engineering enthusiast. Seeing how Sean Casey took this old 1997 Ford F350 and turning it in 2002 (the year I was born; an added plus) into this 14-16,000-pound tank-like beast that could drive into a tornado was nothing short of mind-blowing. I was hooked, and the rest is history.

Now you. :D
Hi Kevin! I have always been a cloud spotter and a storm watcher... Ask Mother Earth why! About tornadoes, they are infrequent in France but pretty common in my dreams!! So I guess it's something important for me! That's why I'm a new member and supporter of Stormtrack... ;)
I'm a California girl—girl, hell, a California old lady! We have big weather in California, along with wild-fires and earthquakes and snow and mountains and oceans, but our weather is very different from that in the Great plains or Dixie Alley. Still, it can be big and powerful, and I've always loved big storms. I don't know what possessed me to book a storm-chase tour last year, but I did, and of course, I'm hooked. I've had friends ask me why? Why did I like those big plains storms? I was stumped trying to explain, but I finally think I know why, and it is very simple. I HAVE THE GENES!!! That's it. Either you have the genes or you don't, or maybe you have only one, but it's all about the stormy genes! That ends the conversations and provides a fine excuse to continue the wonderful nonsense of standing in the wind shouting at one another while the clouds pile up ominously in the distance, everybody waiting for that delicate twisting finger finger of a maybe-tornado to reach down and try to touch the ground tentatively. The next thing you know, it's "Get in the van now!"
I'm a California girl—girl, hell, a California old lady!
Hi California girl! You are not an old lady! Weather enthusiasts are young as long as they are hooked and I think that, deep inside you, you know I'm right! See ya California... girl! ;)
For me it was the movie Twister. (Cliché, I know) I saw it in theaters when I was six. Apparently I had begged my mom to take me for weeks before, must have saw a preview IDK. We lived in Topeka, Kansas at the time, and I remember my mom explaining that if the sirens went off we were to go to the church down the street as our house did not have a basement. I also remember that when we came out of the theater and my mom turned the car on a tornado warning was issued for Shawnee county Kansas.
I have been interested in the weather for as long as I can remember. I do not know how but it's almost like i was born for it. As a toddler, I watched the morning local forecast rather than all those kids shows. At School, I was no expert, but that did nothing to stop the fact that every time a major system roled around all the kids would go to me for info, often overwhelming me! 🤣
Then in 2014, I watched a re-run of the first discovery storm chasers season. And the rest, they say, is history.
I was 7 years old, the town I lived in took a hit by a tornado in 88'. It was the first time I ever saw damage from a tornado. At 7 years old I was confused what a tornado was, how it could cause such damage. The rest is history.
I remember the first time seeing a supercell at a distance in 93. A few counties north of me was under a tornado warning, I was able to step outside and see the updraft, anvil, overshooting top. That really drove it home for me. I wanted to see more, I had no clue back then that storm chasing was even a thing.
I’ve always been scared of weather, living in the San Antonio area. I remember one time taking shelter from a tornado that was about 2 miles down the road. It never touched down, but there was a funnel reported with it. And driving to my grandmas house we passed through a huge supercell. Heavy rain, lightning all around us and the greenest sky I’ve ever seen. It was tornado warned, and we just missed the hail core. But what really got me into weather was actually a Pecos Hank video. It was in my Dads recommended, and we watched like 3 of them. From that point on, I was always watching outside whenever there was even a prayer of lighting. Then my dad showed me Storm Chasers, and I knew I wanted to do something in meteorology. I moved from Colorado to Virginia and here I am now. The storms aren’t as good ( Nothing beats the structures of storms coming right off the Rockies) but I became Skywarn certified and here I am now. I’m hoping to go to U of I and get an atmospheric science degree and probably go the government route. I am very appreciative of all the help and hospitality from chasers and meteorologists more experienced than I am. Thanks for having me here!
Back in the day (1980's) there were very few inspirational outlets for a person to get excited about chasing, especially when compared to all the communication technology we have today. I never aspired to be a "storm chaser." Storm chasing found me. I was a journalist who hated working for newspapers. I cringed at chasing people around who did not want to be photographed.

Becoming a "storm photographer" was a financial necessity when I told the newspaper to suck eggs. I just happened to come along at the right time and was able to corner a specilized stock photography market for over 20 years. It was great money and chasing was a blast. Had I not "lucked out" in the photography business, I would have likely went back to school and got a MA / PhD in some type of science or maybe archeology.
There was never one specific thing...
...I've always just loved a good a good thunderstorm! (I also love a good heavy rain (and snowstorm in winter)) Really can't say why, I "just do" There's something about watching the power of nature at work.

Maybe its because we don't get many thunderstorms here (and as a side note seems to be getting less? Which just makes me want more, and love the few we do get more.)
Or maybe its because way back for my 1st birthday (something I remember nothing of) when we liver in a different state, there was either a low-end hurricane or a tropical storm that hit. (that might also be the reason that theres a part of me that like to go see/experience a higher-end hurricane)

I can also say that seeing storms - especially stuff like tornadoes on the news, even as a kid kinda fascinated me.
we don't get tornadoes where I am, I've never seen one in real life (but do hope to go out & find one at some point. .lol. )
I've been fascinated by, studied and learned everything I can get my hands on about the weather since I was old enough to learn how to read. There are a lot of other factors that led me to becoming a SkyWarn Spotter (which I'm proud to say has lasted nearly 15 years), with my first official storm report occurring not long after I started my first full-time job following graduation from UNC-Wilmington in 2020 at the height of COVID-19. I've always loved a good thunderstorm (though I'm not a big fan of driving through them, especially as I get older), and I've experienced more than a dozen hurricanes from Isabel in 2003 to Irene, Sandy, Arthur (2014), Matthew, Florence, Dorian and Isaias when all of these hurricanes left their impacts on the Tar Heel State in my high school and college years. Throw into the mix a few winter storms including two after I moved out to live on my own, and one might say I've had a somewhat diverse experience with severe weather, though in the 14 years I've been a spotter, I have yet to see a tornado (I'd love to see one in person if it's a relatively small one that can be observed at a safe distance, or a large one over open country away from populated areas, but not if I'm in the path or it impacts a place I have personal connections to).
When I was very young when we got a thunderstorm or there was one coming I would get excited. When any storm (besides a tornado or derecho) came I would be excited or when I was watching the weather on TV when storms were coming or a low-pressure system was on its way I would be excited. I'm mainly interested in extreme weather and I would get excited today if the snow was coming. My favorite kind of storm is a hurricane. The July 19, 2019 storm scared me a little bit. Now I'm tracking storms and I'm now a storm spotter.