Bio: I was originally a trained spotter for an FD in the DFW area starting in the early 90s. I always wanted to continue following the storms and tornados we were spotting but had to stay within jurisdictional territory. I Joined Meso in 2004 and became the President within a year or two with a goal of legitimizing the role of Chasers as NWS Spotters. I left Meso in 2007 after the Greensburg Tornado. I began work on the training program for Spotter Network in 2008 and became the safety team leader for the NWS Skywarn Reorganization and modernization project. I lead the team to create the ACES Spotter safety program and continue to push for more Spotter safety training to this day.
Favorite Storm Chasing Photos
Favorite Chase Video
How did you realize your love for weather?
Growing up as a kid on the family’s homestead farm in Ohio, I clearly remember the terror of running to the basement to take cover for a tornado warning. The net day I watched TV reports about the Xenia tornado. I did not understand tornados and severe weather fascinated me.
When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?
After watching (and reporting) numerous tornados as a spotter in the Dallas area. I was usually in a Fire Engine and could not cross jurisdictional boundaries. I became interested in long distance chasing in the early 2000’s and joined a team to learn about chasing before doing it on my own.
How long have you been actively chasing (in years)?
Do you chase for a reason?
I Chase for the love and thrill of it. But yet, I had a goal of legitimzing it through expanding the spotter program
Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?
Alone, with the exceptions of a few great chase partners who know who they are…
Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?
How do you feel about the current state of storm chasing?
I a very disappointed in what has happened over the last 20 years. Storm chasing is not what it used to be before Iphones and the Discovery Channel series. Everything has to be Epic and Extreme these days for some reason.
I also see a lot of chasers claim they are chasing storms to save lives. . I sure hope they are getting awards.
How far are you willing to travel for a good set up (in miles)?
What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?
I love the Garden City and Dodge City area. I chased Dixie alley last year to see what it would be like. It was not fun at all to have to race around to get a 2 second glimpse of a tornado in between the trees. I was on multiple tornados and got a handful of seconds of any footage. Its dangerous chasing in trees.
What is you favorite type of set up to chase? Least favorite?
I like the late May grinders up north. But I always seem to run my vacation out before then..
What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?
Too many to list! My favorite chases had more to do with the folks I was chasing with and less to do with scoring a tornado. I have had many memorable chases all the way back to the beginning. Most times we did not see tornados.
The most impactful chase was Greenburg for obvious reasons. Very bad night for myself and all those with me. We tried to help the best we could.
Have you ever feared for your life?
Yes, Greensburg and once east of OKC. And of course the multiple times I have hydroplaned! Thank you Lord for keeping me on the road so far.
Are you afraid to make dangerous maneuvers while chasing? (I.E – core punching/hook slicing/living in the bears cage)
Of Course, Anyone who says they are not have not learned to respect the storms and should not be chasing.
Do you have any superstitions?
Yup…. The usual…. Have to eat an Alsups Burrito on the first chase of the season. High Risk means Bust. and so on.
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?
Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?
Yes, lots… Including Fire Weather. And still assisting with the spotter network and Skywarn when I have time.
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?
Depends on who the other chasers are.
What is your favorite storm chase and why?
Every time I chase with “The Guys”. Because we get to let all of our stresses at home go and just be on the road. 2004 Meso Chase… I had a blast and learned how to chase from long time chasers before going out on my own.
How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology?
From All those I have chased with through the years. I have been blessed to be friends with some great forecasters. I have said for years that I am not a forecaster by any means, I just have great friends who point me in the right direction.
How you do you feel about the media in regards to the weather and chasing?
I have been in a filmed TV series, had very large sponsors paying for my chases, been in multiple books, been on TV for MANY local and national live reports and all that fun stuff. I was one of the top streamers in the glory days.
If I could do it all over, I am not so sure I would do any of it… Seriously, Its about chasing storms and it is easy to get side tracked and loose sight of what it truly important. I feel for those who start chasing for living.
Who are the most influential people to you out in the field?
I have a lot of Guys I have immense respect for. Some guys can find every storm (Reed, Verne, etc.) and others have been doing it so long that I can only imagine the disappointment they face when they see the current situation (Gene, Tim, Karen, Etc) . There are a bunch of really good and respectful up and comers who seem to score every time they leave the house and hope they can help to change the current culture. I hope they lead with respect and act as a role model.
What do you fear most about a storm?
Wind. and other chasers.
Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?
Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?
How long do you plan on chasing?
For as long as I can go outside and look at the sky I will one way or the other.