Bio: LaForce is a meteorologist and storm chaser ‘hailing’ from Battle Creek, MI. He graduated in May of 2013 with his B.S. degree in Meteorology from Central Michigan University. L.B. has had a passion for weather for as long as he can remember. He witnessed his first tornado on a family camping trip in the Upper Peninsula of MI near the shores of Lake Superior! At 16 when he got his first car, he began participating in the Skywarn program for his county and local NWS office. >>From there, his interest in chasing storms grew, and in 2009 he began actively.
Over the years, L.B. has traveled thousands of miles and witnessed numerous tornadoes from Illinois to Oklahoma to South Dakota. L.B. is a licensed amateur radio operator (WX8TOR), and is employed by AccuWeather as a weather modeling analyst as well as WOODTV8 in Grand Rapids, MI as a storm chaser. During his free time, L.B. likes to fish, play bass guitar, and run his own WRF weather models.
Favorite Storm Chasing Photos
Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?
I prefer to at least chase with a partner inside the vehicle. It’s nice to have a second set of eyes, and with all the equipment, it’s a lot safer than a single person trying to tackle driving, looking at radar, looking at the sky, etc.
What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?
My favorite areas to chase are Central Illinois and the Dakota’s. Illinois is flat and has a great road network, and the Dakota’s have such beautiful scenery. My least favorite place to chase is probably my home state of Michigan. It can be really difficult to get a good view of storms at times.
Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?
My current job is a modeling analyst for AccuWeather. I work daily with numerical weather models either customizing WRF models, or generating unique datasets from these models to meet consumers needs.
Have you ever been to ChaserCon?
I have been to six ChaserCon’s. It’s a fun time to spend with friends and other chasers to review the previous year and kick off the next year of 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?
It depends. Sometimes if a group of my chaser friends are close, I will go hang with them and talk things over, but sometimes you will find me alone on a back country road.
How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology?
A lot of what I know about forecasting and meteorology came from reading gobs of information related to forecasting online. There are plenty of good resources online that will teach you about the weather. The more advanced stuff I learned from my college studies while a meteorology student at CMU.
What do you fear most about a storm?
Many chasers might say lightning, and while that is a danger while storm chasing, my biggest fear would be getting stuck or having vehicle troubles and having a fast, unpredictable storm overtake me and roll the vehicle, etc.
How long do you plan on chasing?
I plane to chase as long as I can. I love the weather, and will only stop when my health declines and I am physically unable to chase.