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Richard Thies

Location: Ferguson, MO
Started Chasing: 1998
Tornadoes: 51
Web site:

Bio: Started chasing seriously when my good friend Brian Stertz invited me to go with him on a chase. Been chasing with him every since. My full time job is a school teacher. I chase severe storms as a hobby. My son and I make several trips out to the plains with Brian each year as well as chase most local events.

Favorite Storm Chasing Photos

Chaser Q&A

How did you realize your love for weather?

As a kid, a tornado hit my elementary school and lifted as it went over my house. I always would watch the storm from inside and would get extremely excited when I would see hail. (still do).

When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?

When Brian Stertz took me on my first storm chase.

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


Do you chase for a reason?

It is a very exciting hobby to see nature at its best.

Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?

Prefer chasing with a group.

Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?

Never considered going on a tour.

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

Technology is making it easy for anybody to chase successfully that is putting too many people around storms and making it more dangerous.

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


What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?

Kansas is my favorite. Missouri is my least favorite.

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

Favorite is a classic supercell setup. Least favorite is a huge HP storm.

What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?

My favorite chase was the Moore, OK of May 20, 2013 chase and getting video of the beginning to the end of the tornado.

Least favorite was a trip to AR where we sat all day waiting in a moderate risk and never even saw a single cloud.

Have you ever feared for your life?

There have been a few times where we have been caught in a position that we shouldn’t have been in, but never in a position where we feared for our lives.

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

We try to chase intelligently and try not to get into situations that would endanger life or property

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?


Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?


Have you ever been to ChaserCon?

Not yet, but someday.

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

We have done both. We have no preference other than being able to have data or communication by phone.

What is your favorite storm chase and why?

Moore, OK, May 20, 2013 because of the duration, view, quality of video, and intensity of the tornado.

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

I’ve learned the little I know from Brian Stertz and his group of close chaser friends along with a load of self study and in the field learning.

Who are the most influential people to you out in the field?

Brian Stertz, Jeff Piotrowski

What do you fear most about a storm?

I fear ending up in a situation with a tornado and having no way out.

Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?

Not really, but I make it work.

Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?

Yes, my family supports my hobby. One of my sons usually accompanies me on most chases.

How long do you plan on chasing?

Until I physically can’t do it any longer or financially can’t do it any longer.

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