Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Started Chasing: 2009
Web site: http://dualpolweather.wordpress.com
Bio: My name is Ashley and I was born and raised in NW IN, about 30 miles SE of Chicago. I have been interested in weather since I was a kid and that passion still lives with me today. I have two brothers, one older and one twin. I have recently gotten my twin brother into storm chasing and have been able to take him one chase so far (as of 2/18/05). My bucket list is to see twin tornadoes with my twin brother! I currently reside in Murfreesboro, TN and have been here since 2008 after having moved down here after graduating college. I graduated from Valparaiso University in 2008 with a Bachelors Degree in Geoscience. I currently work as a Geospatial Analyst.
Favorite Storm Chasing Photos
How did you realize your love for weather?
I was afraid of storms when I was a kid. My parents took me to see Twister after it came out to “show me that there is nothing to be afraid of”. The movie came out 10 days before my 10th birthday. Since then I have been hooked on weather.
When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?
I think I realized I wanted to storm chase in high school. I didn’t have the means to do so, but I definitely spent time thinking about it.
How long have you been actively chasing?
I have been actively chasing since March 2009.
Do you chase for a reason?
I chase because I want to. I just love storms. I chase because it is a part of who I am and what I live for.
Do you see passion as a good or bad thing?
I see it as a good thing. It gives you something to look forward to, or in some cases something to live for. It gives you a reason to keep continuing something that interests you.
Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?
I prefer to chase with one other person. Solo chasing can be dangerous and a group can lead to distractions and potentially create issues within that group. I find that having one person in control of the car and the other navigate roads/radar is a good divided effort.
Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?
Negative. Nothing against them, but just not interested.
How do you feel about the current state of storm chasing?
I could take it or leave it. I chase for myself and what others do is their business…not mine.
How far are you willing to travel for a good set up?
I’m willing to travel as far as I need to for a good setup.
What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?
Favorite is definitely the plains. Least favorite would be the ‘jungles’ of Mississippi and Arkansas. I chase mostly Dixie alley, but there are some decent spots in the south…just have to know where to find them
What is your favorite type of set up to chase? Least favorite?
Dry line setups are more preferable, but I have chased more QLCS setups being in Dixie alley, so I can’t really say I hate them.
What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?
Most memorable chase would be 5/25/2012 with the Lacrosse, KS tornadoes. Least memorable would be 4/10/09…only because that was a major epic fail bust.
Have you ever feared for your life?
Not really. We’ve had some close encounters, but all weak circulations we got a little too close to.
Are you afraid to make dangerous maneuvers while chasing? (I.E core punching/hook slicing/living in the bears cage)
Definitely…especially hook slicing. You never know what is on the other side.
Do you have any superstitions?
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?
Paycheck to paycheck with unlimited chasing. This gives you more flexibility when it comes to chasing. You aren’t guaranteed anything on a chasecation, but saving money here and there to go when there is a good chance for storms is definitely the way to go.
Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?
Negative. I currently work with GIS (Geographic Information Systems)
Have you ever been to ChaserCon?
I have been in 2012 and 2014
Are you more likely to hang out with other chasers while waiting for initiation, or sit alone on a country road watching the sky?
If there are people I know in/near my target area, I would go hang out with them.
What is your favorite storm chase and why?
5/25/12 Lacrosse, KS. Very energetic nighttime storm with double tornadoes and amazing lightning show.
What date burns in you (think bust) and why?
Good Friday 2009 (4/10/09). Worst bust ever. I had only been chasing a few weeks and the person I was chasing with at the time had a few years of chasing experience as well as a meteorology degree. To make a long story short, we were driving south out of town as a tornado was going through Murfreesboro, TN (hometown btw) and wound up missing an EF4 tornado.
Do you always know why you made the wrong or right decisions to chase a particular day?
Not until the day is over when you get a chance to go through data and see where you went right/wrong
How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology?
I actually entered college as a meteorology major. I switch majors to Geoscience in the beginning of my junior year, but took several meteorology courses including ‘Severe Storm Prediction and Nowcasting”. What I didn’t learn there I had learned from other chasers with real-world chase experience.
Do you consider the day a success even if you don’t witness a tornado?
Definitely. It isn’t all about the tornadoes. Being from Dixie alley, we don’t have the amazing structure that plains storms have, so good structure is such a treat and is considered a success in my book.
Do you feel short changed if you see a tornado from a greater distance to you than you prefer?
No..sometimes its better to see tornadoes from a greater distance…you can see the whole scope of the storm.
How do you feel about the post “Storm Chaser” generation?
Uneducated and self-entitled. Not all of them, but the fans of show that think they could do this no problem get annoying. They don’t take the time to learn about severe storms, the necessary parameters, what those parameters mean, etc.
How you do you feel about the media in regards to the weather and chasing?
The media can help get word out about the dangers in the area.
Would you considering getting your children into storm chasing?
If they were interested, definitely. It isn’t something I would force on them.
If you didn’t know anything about storm chasing, how would you react if your child said they wanted to be a chaser?
I’d support them and make sure they are educated about what they are getting into.
What do you fear most about a storm?
Getting into a situation you cannot get out of.
What type of storm do you prefer to chase? (Ugly HP/sculpted LP/classic/squall line)
Do you stop your progress toward a storm for a great photography opportunity?
I would briefly if I had the time
How do you feel about law enforcement immediately around a tornadic supercell?
If they understand the basics about severe weather, then they can definitely help the locals whether it be getting them to safety, keeping them away from the storm, or helping if an area is hit by a tornado.
Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?
Yes. I have a very flexible schedule if I wanted to take a day to go chase.
Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?
They think I am crazy, but the support me in my hobby.
How long do you plan on chasing?
As long as I am able to.