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Robert Edmonds

Location: Southern New Mexico
Started Chasing: 2002-2003
Tornadoes: This number is pointless because it depends on how you define a tornado. I have been on a chase and counted 2, when the person next to me counted 5. I usually enjoy seeing a several tornadoes each year, and when I was doing tours I never came away with a customer on a two week tour not seeing a tornado, and including one week tours ~75% saw a tornado.

Bio: I enjoy chasing, and used to provide a tour like guide service in the past (for 5 seasons). I have a Ph.D. in Astronomy for my research on Mars dust storms. I currently conduct research in meteorology (for earth now). A large reason I do what I do now is because of taking up storm chasing. I will this season (2015) largely be chasing on my own I expect.

Favorite Storm Chasing Photos

Chaser Q&A

How did you realize your love for weather?

I went chasing to take photos of lightning in Colorado (where I grew up).

When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?

When I wanted to take pictures of lightning.

How long have you been actively chasing?

Since 2002-2003ish

Do you chase for a reason?

Initially it was for taking photos of lightning. I then wanted to see a tornado. Later, for a while it partly helped pay for rent in the summer. Now I just want to experience storms on my own again, tornado is just a plus.

Do you see passion as a good or bad thing?


Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?

I’m going to try chasing on my own again. Used to do tours, and got comfortable navigating, and providing targets, I’ll need to get used to the driver’s seat again.

Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?

I have provided them. I could see how it would be nice to just focus on taking photos and not forecasting, etc., if I was a photographer. Would I do ever go on a tour, no, I would critique the target.

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

It is what it is. Some will get burned, some will get burned out, some will just keep chasing.

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

Neither, I enjoy the technology and do not shun it, but dislike the crowds. Maybe why I like chasing odd targets north or on off days.

How far are you willing to travel for a good set up?

Worldwide, no really. Canada was awesome, and I live in New Mexico. I want to chase in Mexico, if I can feel safe. I have thought about Argentina, but that would be expensive.

What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?

Besides the jungles, Oklahoma sucks. I have a Nebraska curse though…

Eastern South Dakota and the Texas panhandles are the best.

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

I prefer good shear, low to moderate cape setups.

What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?

I guided a customers to a tornado in Saskatchewan, Canada. We saw small rope with a bow tie vortex next to it. Bowdle, was cool, I liked seeing a wedge with no loss of life. Bowdle was also my first tour.

As for least memorable, well why relive those times.

Have you ever feared for your life?

Not really. I have wanted to get the hell out of some places. Lightning scares the crap out of me.

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

I haven’t done a core punch, etc., in a long time.

Do you have any superstitions?

Do not say tornado while chasing.

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’m finding out right now…

Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?

I do conduct research in meteorology.

Have you ever been to ChaserCon?


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

Usually alone, but I do enjoy the good chat.

What is your favorite storm chase and why?

I got a tornado in Canada with a bowtie vortex. It was a chase largely done by instinct and eye, with limited data.

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


Do you always know why you made the wrong or right decisions to chase a particular day?

Sometimes it’s just luck…

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

Reading other’s posts, chasing, some of my classes helped cement everything. Also, building a CFD model from scratch.

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

If it’s a good LP.

Do you feel short changed if you see a tornado from a greater distance to you than you prefer?

Maybe a little disappointed, but generally I like to be a bit farther than most.

How do you feel about the post “Storm Chaser” generation?

There is one?

Do you feel like the scientific community should get the same respect as emergency vehicles around storms?

Respect, maybe; authority no.

How you do you feel about the media in regards to the weather and chasing?

It’s money

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

Samaras was who I looked up to.

Would you considering getting your children into storm chasing?

Only if they wanted to…

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

Probably be concerned.

What do you fear most about a storm?

I didn’t like El Reno.

What type of storm do you prefer to chase? (Ugly HP/sculpted LP/classic/squall line)


Do you stop your progress toward a storm for a great photography opportunity?

Sometimes, but not as much as others.

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


Should storm chasers feel more entitled to be around storms than law enforcement or locals?


Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?

I am working that out at the moment.

Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?

Family supports me, but they do worry and miss me when gone.

How long do you plan on chasing?

Till I can’t…

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