Aaron Dooley


Location: Pflugerville, TX
Started Chasing: 1995

Bio: Born and raised in Lawton Oklahoma, I started chasing as soon as I could drive a vehicle and had something to pickup weather radio and ham frequencies. By the time 1999 came around, I was accepted into the School of Meteorology at The University of Oklahoma and gained valuable knowledge & experience from classes, forecast competitions, professors, classmates, and of course chasing. I also benefited greatly from being able to intern at KSWO preparing forecasts, graphics, and generally seeing how broadcast meteorology worked. This all helped me decide that my place wasn’t behind a desk during severe weather, but out enjoying it in person, so I left OU and instead earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mangement/MIS from the University of Alaska in 2004. I returned to Texas in 2007 and resumed chasing storms and experiencing severe weather and have been at it since!

Favorite Storm Chasing Photos

Favorite Chase Video

Chaser Q&A

How did you realize your love for weather?

I was fascinated growing up watching the local meteorologists break in during tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings. Another factor was probably just the battle between my parents of “get in the closet” and “let’s go outside and look” that made it exciting for me when storms were close to our house.

When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?

Probably in my mid teens when I realized watching TV shows that there were people who actually chased storms and intentionally tried to find them. Most people I knew were scared but I never felt that way.

How long have you been actively chasing (in years)?

20

Do you chase for a reason?

Yes, to see science in action, experience the way it feels to see things most people don’t get to see in person, and to try assist with keeping others safe by giving as much advance warning as possible.

Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?

I started out alone and I think there’s something special when it’s just you and the storm(rare these days) but I have select people I like to chase with so I’d have to say I like both for different reasons.

Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?

No.

How do you feel about the current state of storm chasing?

I think storm chasing for several years now is a much different animal than it used to be. Technology has made it a double-edged sword allowing much less experienced and trained people to put themselves in harms way and it has also revolutionized the way we capture and report the event assisting with more accurate and timely information that can be used to save lives. Additionally, streaming, chase positions, videos, interviews, etc, have also, in my opinion, created an environment of competition, profit, and egotistical self promotion that was never a part of chasing. I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

How far are you willing to travel for a good set up (in miles)?

1000

What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?

I’ve always been a fan of anything Western North Texas, North Texas, Central & Western half of Oklahoma, both Panhandles, and most of Kansas. I really dislike SE Oklahoma, most of East Texas, and generally anything with forests or large cities like most people. If I can be away from populations in the flat plains and farmers fields I feel much better.

What is you favorite type of set up to chase? Least favorite?

Dryline & triple point for me.

What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?

I have many but more recently I find myself talking with others about Shawnee & Carney/Falls in 2013, Cooperton/Cherokee/Waynoka in 2012, and Goodnight, TX in 2010,

Have you ever feared for your life?

Only once or twice.

Are you afraid to make dangerous maneuvers while chasing? (I.E – core punching/hook slicing/living in the bears cage)

No.

Do you have any superstitions?

No.

Would you sacrifice a salaried job with full benefits, but only 2 weeks out of the year to chase for a paycheck to paycheck life with unlimited chasing?

No

Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?

Yes.

Have you ever been to ChaserCon?

No.

Are you more likely to hang out with other chasers while waiting for initiation, or sit alone on a country road watching the sky?

I’ll take either.

What is your favorite storm chase and why?

The next one with potential because you never know what’s gone happen. It’s the wonder of nature, baby!

How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology?

I learned to forecast through forecast competitions at OU, the Meteorology program and classes in general, other chasers, interning at KSWO, chasing of course, and a whole lot of getting it wrong and seeing nothing.

How you do you feel about the media in regards to the weather and chasing?

Who are the most influential people to you out in the field?

What do you fear most about a storm?

I think of two things when I read this question. One is getting trapped by other people in a bad spot due to their lack of the situation or having some mechanical breakdown and not being able to get out of the way. The other is that since very well known and experienced chasers have now lost their lives, I wonder about rare situations that we just aren’t ready for and how I and others would react in a similar
situation. In general though I don’t fear a storm. My main fear while chasing is the simple act of driving with so many things that can go wrong. Getting stuck somewhere, other drivers hitting you potentially, hydroplaning, mechanical breakdown at the wrong time, and something as simple as an animal running out in front of you is what I fear while chasing or driving back home.

Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?

Yes.

Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?

Yes.

How long do you plan on chasing?

I don’t know that I would ever stop chasing. I couldn’t imagine sitting at home while a nice storm is going on somewhere within reach.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This