Location: Clarion, Pennsylvania
Started Chasing: 2008
Web site: http://kb1vdu.blogspot.com/
Bio: I’m a 30-something freelance video/cinematographer going back to school for a broadcasting degree. Other interests include cartooning, and various outdoor activities like camping, fishing, etc. I’ve been fascinated by severe storms from a very young age, as many on Stormtrack were.
Favorite Chase Video
How did you realize your love for weather?
Originally I was terrified of storms, but equally curious about them. As I learned more, the fear evolved into wonder. There was a photo of the Hardtner KS tornado in an encyclopedia I had as a child that initially grabbed me, further fueled by experiencing the June 2, 1990 tornado outbreak in my home state of Indiana.
When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?
After seeing volume 1 of Tornado Video Classics in the early 90s and realizing that people actually DID chase them on their own without federal grant money for university research.
How long have you been actively chasing?
Only since 2008, circumstances (usually financial or geographical) kept me from chasing for a long time, though I’ve been a member of Skywarn for many years.
Do you chase for a reason?
Of course. Not a particularly grand or noble reason though. I’m just captivated by trying to figure out what nature is going to do, then getting out and watching it unfold, and being in awe of the result. One of those lifelong passion things.
Do you see passion as a good or bad thing?
Passion is a good thing. Obsession, on the other hand, can be a problem.
Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?
I’m kind of a loner, so I try to keep group chasing to a minimum. Preferable only one other person.
Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?
No, due to the reasons stated above. Being stuffed in a van full of tourists would probably make me cranky. I also like to make my own forecasts and plan my own strategies, it’s more rewarding. And if I fail, it’s my own fault.
How do you feel about the current state of storm chasing?
It’s certainly crowded, and I’m really not in favor of the look-at-me types that seem to be in it only for an illusion of fame or fortune.
Which era of chasing would you prefer to exist? Old-school or new-school?
Since I first learned about chasing from those in the 80s and prior, I guess I’d feel more at home in the old-school. I think the challenge of not having complex models and constant data on your phone is a bit appealing.
How far are you willing to travel for a good set up?
As far as my budget will take me. Though I can’t chase on a whim all the way from Pennsylvania.
What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?
Kansas has been good to me so far. My current home in PA is very much my least favorite region for chasing.
What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?
April 14, 2012 so far. My least memorable would be May 25, 2011. I missed a tornado 10 minutes from my house while fleeing a monster QLCS a state away.
Have you ever feared for your life?
No, but I have been concerned for my safety.
Are you afraid to make dangerous maneuvers while chasing? (I.E. core punching/hook slicing/living in the bears cage)
I wouldn’t say afraid, again more concern for safety.
Do you have any superstitions?
I have a tendency to play songs I heard on memorable chase days before I depart on chases now.
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?
Sure, but I’m accustomed to that life anyway. And those I’ve met who live for their high paying careers are generally unhappy under the facade of comfort.
Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?
At present, no.
Have you ever been to ChaserCon?
No, I usually save my money for actual chasing.
Are you more likely to hang out with other chasers while waiting for initiation, or sit alone on a country road watching the sky?
Again, tend to be a loner.
Do you always know why you made the wrong or right decisions to chase a particular day?
Eventually. I’m always anxious to learn from my mistakes.
How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology?
Books by Tim Vasquez, lots of pouring over materials found online from places such as Stormtrack, and some trial and error.
Do you consider the day a success even if you don’t witness a tornado?
Do you feel short changed if you see a tornado from a greater distance to you than you prefer?
Not at all. It’s a privelage to see any tornado from any distance.
How do you feel about the post “Storm Chaser” generation?
Depends on the individual and their goals. The attention-seekers bug me to no end, but those with a genuine fascination for storms that are focused on enjoying the weather and staying safe are fine. I tend to be irked by those who worship Reed Timmer, but are completely oblivious to names like Chuck Doswell or Al Moller.
Do you feel like the scientific community should get the same respect as emergency vehicles around storms?
I think we should be considerate and make room for them, but emergency vehicles still get priority.
How you do you feel about the media in regards to the weather and chasing?
I think there’s been a discouraging level of hype and false drama in most media portrayals. Unfortuately, most news companies are more interested in ratings than in providing genuine information. I have seen exceptions, and I hope that someday (hopefully by the time I graduate and get some kind of job in news production) that news starts to let go of the hype and starts providing accurate, reasonable information.
Who are the most influential people to you out in the field?
Probably Tim Marshall and Jon Davies.
Would you considering getting your children into storm chasing?
No kids, don’t want any.
What do you fear most about a storm?
I fear lightning, bar none.
What type of storm do you prefer to chase? (Ugly HP/sculpted LP/classic/squall line)
I really enjoy chasing whatever nature wants to stir up. Variety is the spice of life.
Do you stop your progress toward a storm for a great photography opportunity?
Only if the storms are moving reasonably slow. If they’re scooting along at highway speeds, I’m not going to stop much.
How do you feel about law enforcement immediately around a tornadic supercell?
If they’re being intelligent about traffic control, and not just being Barney Fifes out to harass chasers, then I have no quips.
Should storm chasers feel more entitled to be around storms than law enforcement or locals?
No. The roads are public, and should be treated as such.
Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?
Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?
No family, no problem.
How long do you plan on chasing?
As long as I have a pulse.