Dave Patrick


Location: Fergus, Ontario
Started Chasing: 1993
Tornadoes: 60
Web site: http://www.ontarioweather.com

Bio: I started chasing in early 90s by accident. I was taking a vacation through South Dakota and saw my 1st tornado. A few days later I saw another in Iowa and was hooked from then on. I chase both the U.S alley and Ontario every year but family life has led me to chase more locally the past few. I am listed in the old who’s who which is amusing to look back and reflect.

Favorite Storm Chasing Photos

Favorite Chase Video

Chaser Q&A

How did you realize your love for weather?

I have always loved weather. My mom said that when I was bored in Saskatchewan, Canada that I would perk up and listen to the thunder and lightning of the storms as they rolled through. I was always interested in it but never realized it till my vacation in the early 90s how much.

When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?

After seeing that 1st and 2nd tornado in the U.S. on vacation I was hooked. I came back and ordered and borrowed every book I could find on tornadoes and how they formed. I never thought there were others that did really did this until Twister came out and even then there was but a handful in Ontario. The internet was a baby so models and satellite images were only available with a stop to the local weather offices.

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

22

Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?

I mostly chase alone as I can drop most things and head out but on big days I prefer to chase with a small group (more eyes to the sky)

Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?

They were not around when I started but I have seen them grow and develop into a thriving business.

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

Scared TBH. A lot of the new chasers are coming out with a laptop and radar and bombing into the storms without know the hows and whys of how storms work and what to look for. Radar is great and has allowed us to really get close to tornadoes and see where they are but the learning aspect has been skipped by the new generation. I do hope that they take the time to learn how to read a storm because it can tell you things well ahead of any radar screen.

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

1000

What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?

Love almost every place in the alley for varying reasons. Kansas is my 1st due to flat, grided roads and the see for miles. Texas panhandle because how does not love a good panhandle tornado with gorilla hail (South Plains) or Colorado with the hail so hard it lasts for days. Of all the areas I don’t like to chase is anywhere with too many hills or trees but will still try and have a go at it.

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

I love dryline setups. You can bust but you also get some of the prettiest storms out there. Triple points off course as look as storm speeds are not rocket like. I am not a fan of warm front setups.

What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?

May 12, 2005 was a great chase for many reasons. A pair of nice tornadoes that were slow moving and great to watch. And the hail that came out of it I will never remember. The number of chasers vehicles that took a beating that day was crazy but worth it.

Even the busts have memories of the setup and friends you met. All part of the game.

Have you ever feared for your life?

Yes. Once before radar was a big and I got caught running from an OKC tornado on May 9 2003. The tornado was on a steady path and we decided to head south to miss the huge hail being reported and it started to turn. I got worried when my fellow chaser called me and said they had just been hit by it in Yukon and it was heading to me. Turning around I was listening to Noaa when they said it would be a Britton Road in 4 mins. I looked up and it was Britton road. I got off the interstate and booked it east with it on my tail but eventually it turned and we were fine. I now rarely chase at night now due to it.

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

If I have decent radar and know the area and the storm is pretty consistent then I have no problem punching the core or play in the cage but once it starts to show signs of being a little nutty I tend to lay back and watch from a distance

Do you have any superstitions?

Don’t we all? Steak dinners on chase vacations, Allsups burritos, etc come to mind.

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?

Yes

Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?

I run a weather website for a hobby but it is not a job and purely for fun.

Have you ever been to ChaserCon?

No, have wanted to but a costly trip to go for the weekend. That money funds a lot of chases

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

Depends on the day. I love sitting alone on a country road or with a few friends but the packed roadways and gas stations tend to make me look for secondary targets to stay away from the hordes

What is your favorite storm chase and why?

Hanging out with friends watching the cap break at 3 pm in front of you and see it anvil and mature into a corkscrewing beast. The wall cloud forms, tornadoes drop and miss everything. Take some shots of the sunlit mammatus and head to dinner.

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

Books, more books, the internet and with FB groups and friends talking about setups etc

What do you fear most about a storm?

The lighting as it is totally unpredictable and you will never know it hit you until it does

Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?

No

Do you have a family that supports storm chasing? In most cases they do. Family life can put a little strain on it for time and money but it is a balance.

How long do you plan on chasing?

Can’t see it ever happening. I will be the 85 year old out there that hired a driver so I could just watch the storms.

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