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Drew Terril

Location: Yukon, OK
Started Chasing: Started tracking in 1993, started chasing in 2006 after the purchase of my first car.
Tornadoes: Aside from being in the 1993 Catoosa F4 just before my 6th birthday, I caught one tornado near Summer Shade, KY in the spring of 2006.
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Bio: I grew up in Catoosa, OK. In 1993, while moving to the Tulsa area, my family was caught in the F4 that hit Catoosa and destroyed Bruce’s Truck stop as well as homes and businesses along SH-167, East Pine St, and Cherokee Ave. This sparked my interest in weather in general, and severe weather in particular. I began tracking storms that year, and began chasing in 2006 after purchasing my first car. I am an active Amateur Radio operator (KJ4CLI), and am an Army Veteran. I see storm chasing as another way to serve my community, state, and nation, especially now that my military service is over.

Chaser Q&A

How did you realize your love for weather?

Our encounter with the 1993 Catoosa F4 created my desire to track and chase storms. I’ve been learning as much as I can ever since.

How long have you been actively chasing?

I’ve been actively chasing since 2006. Some years I’ve chased more than others, depending on my income and other obligations (such as when I was on Active Duty).

Do you chase for a reason?

I chase to help put eyes on the ground for the NWS. Since my military service ended in 2014, I see it as the way I can continue to serve.

Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?

I generally chase alone, but I have had partners on occasion.

Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?

I personally have not considered a storm chasing tour, but I don’t fault those that do.

Which era of chasing would you prefer to exist? Old-school or new-school?

If I had to pick, I would consider myself more old school. I generally stick with reflectivity and velocity while chasing. I am more instinctive when out in the field, and try to use all my senses (including my intuition, as silly as
that sounds).

What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?

With my current income. I likely won’t chase very far outside the state of Oklahoma. If I had the resources to do so, I would chase the entire plains, including Canada.

What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?

My most memorable chase was spur of the moment. I was on my way to Owensboro, KY to see a friend, and found a tornadic storm. I wasn’t able to see any tornadoes, but it was a good change, as I was stationed at Fort Knox on Active Duty. I really don’t have a least memorable, as I never take for granted any opportunity to go out and chase.

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

I go to great lengths to avoid dangerous maneuvers while chasing. Knowing what it is like to be caught inside of a violent tornado in a vehicle really affects one’s thinking.

Do you have any superstitions?

I have no superstitions, unless you consider making the cross motion common to Catholics and Lutherans (I’m Lutheran).

Have you ever been to ChaserCon?

I’ve never been to ChaserCon due to financial limitations, but plan to attend in 2016. With me living less than 30 miles from Norman, I have no excuse not to make it.

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 would be more likely to wait for initiation alone, watching and feeling the atmosphere. I wouldn’t be opposed to waiting with other groups of chasers, but haven’t done that to this day.

What date burns in you (think bust) and why?

Labor Day weekend of 2014 burns in me as I was at the family farm in Catoosa, and didn’t jump on the opportunity to drive an hour north to Kansas to chase.

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

I learned most of my forecasting and tracking from watching Travis Meyer of KTUL (now with KOTV), out of Tulsa, OK. I had the pleasure of meeting him in person a couple of times when I was in middle school. Him staying on the air while a tornado was on the ground near the KTUL studio on 3 May 1999 only cemented my respect for him.

Do you consider the day a success even if you don’t witness a tornado?

In my opinion, just because I don’t see a tornado does not make it a bad day. As long as nobody is injured, it’s a good day.

If you didn’t know anything about storm chasing, how would you react if your child said they wanted to be a chaser?

Even if I didn’t know about storm chasing, I learned from my parents about being supportive of my child’s interests. I have no children, but if I did, I would be as supportive of them as my parents have been of me.

How do you feel about law enforcement immediately around a tornadic supercell?

I have no problem with emergency services such as Law Enforcement being out during storms. I feel it is an asset for them to be in position to respond should the worst happen.

Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?

My job doesn’t afford me the flexibility to take targets of opportunity, but, if I schedule in advance, they don’t question why I want to take a day off.

Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?

My family has always been supportive of my interest in storms and chasing.

How long do you plan on chasing?

I plan on chasing as long as I am able.

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