Location: Galesburg, Illinois
Started Chasing: 2011
Web site: TornadoGenesis.org
Bio: Hello everyone! My name is Kholby Martin and I am from west-central Illinois in a town called Galesburg. Growing up, I knew I wanted to pursue weather my whole life. At a young age, I knew I wanted to become a “weatherman” someday. I further pursued my dream by getting a B.D in Atmospheric Science from Western Illinois University in the spring of 2013. I am self employed in Galesburg where I have a good amount of free time to enjoy the hobbies I enjoy. I love to hunt, bass fish, race, and most importantly chase storms. I have driven thousands of miles each year in pursuit of severe storms and tornadoes and will continue to do so. It has been and always will be part of my life.
Favorite Storm Chasing Photos
How did you realize your love for weather?
I realized my love for weather when I was a child. After staying up countless hours watching the Weather Channel, I knew I wanted to figure out why and how the atmosphere worked which is when I fell in love with it.
When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?
I decided I wanted to storm chase when I was around 10 years old.
How long have you been actively chasing?
2011 was the first year I got very serious with chasing.
Do you chase for a reason?
I chase because I simply love storms.
Do you see passion as a good or bad thing?
I see passion as a good thing.
Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?
I prefer to chase with 2 or 3 total.
Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?
When I first got into chasing I considered going on a tour but not anymore.
How do you feel about the current state of storm chasing?
I feel storm chasing is only getting easier with the advancement in technology these days. If we had half of the technology we have now, it would make chasing so much more challenging I believe.
Which era of chasing would you prefer to exist? Old-school or new-school?
New school for sure.
How far are you willing to travel for a good set up?
There is no distance that will stop me from a good setup. If I see the likelihood of tornadic supercells, I will make sure I’m there.
What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?
I love chasing in Kansas. Great data and an awesome road network where you can’t go wrong. My least favorite area would be southern Missouri.
What is you favorite type of set up to chase? Least favorite?
My favorite set up to chase is warm fronts and least favorite is cold fronts.
What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?
My most memorable chase was on October 4th, 2013 when I chased solo and intercepted the Climbing Hill, Iowa tornado.
Have you ever feared for your life?
I have only feared for my life chasing once and that was when a confirmed EF4 tornado was right in the path of our location at nighttime when we lost data just moments before.
Are you afraid to make dangerous maneuvers while chasing? (I.E core punching/hook slicing/living in the bears cage)
No. If I feel that at any point I am putting myself or others in serious danger by whatever it might be, then I won’t make the move. There will always be another day, another storm.
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?
I don’t want to live a life living paycheck to paycheck so no. Luckily my family has always been self-employed and very successful and I am on the same path that they were. It allows me to be able to chase most setups and still have a decent income. If you’re not getting paid to chase, make sure your job is number one before anything else. No money=no chasing.
Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?
Have you ever been to ChaserCon?
Yes, multiple times.
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 usually meet up with a few other chasers while waiting for initiation.
What is your favorite storm chase and why?
My favorite storm chase was on May 18th, 2013. I had a target picked out, stuck to it and it paid off. My best friend and storm chaser Russ Smith was also along to help share the experience with.
How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology?
I learned the most about meteorology from going to school for it. A decent amount of what I know also came from asking questions and listening to other experienced chasers and their expertise in forecasting.
Do you consider the day a success even if you don’t witness a tornado?
Yes. Even on days that don’t produce, if your able to get on a decent storm or even the storm of the day, then it is a success in my books.
Do you feel short changed if you see a tornado from a greater distance to you than you prefer?
I will take what I can get. I would love to be close but will never complain for seeing a tornado regardless the distance away from it.
How do you feel about the post “Storm Chaser” generation?
When the show Storm Chasers came out, it was a big hit on television for quite some time. I think it opened up the door for a lot of new chasers to get on the roads and pursue storm chasing themselves. I enjoyed the show at first when it was about storm chasing but it seemed to eventually turn into a drama filled show unfortunately. I enjoyed everyone on the show as they are all experienced chasers. They knew what they were doing but I think it painted a bad picture for “storm chasers” in general as a bunch of people who want to get close and to possibly put themselves in harm’s way.
Do you feel like the scientific community should get the same respect as emergency vehicles around storms?
Yes. They are both very important.
Who are the most influential people to you out in the field?
Roger Hill probably tops the list. He is someone that all storm chasers look up to and has the knowledge and wisdom of storm chasing like no other. If you are where Roger is, you’re doing something right 🙂
Would you considering getting your children into storm chasing?
If you didn’t know anything about storm chasing, how would you react if your child said they wanted to be a chaser?
I would tell them they are crazy. LOL
What do you fear most about a storm?
Hurting life and property.
What type of storm do you prefer to chase? (Ugly HP/sculpted LP/classic/squall line)
I love classing supercells the most.
Do you stop your progress toward a storm for a great photography opportunity?
If I have the time, yes.
How do you feel about law enforcement immediately around a tornadic supercell?
They don’t bother me.
Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?
Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?
Yes as long as I am “safe”.
How long do you plan on chasing?
As long as I live.