Bio: There’s nothing I love more than hunting tornadoes and capturing them on video. The open road, the smell of gulf moisture heavy in the air, and the anticipation of what might lie ahead on a given day. These are the things that make me feel most alive. You’ll never see me happier than when I’m sitting in a field, next to my tripod, shooting video of a tornado. It really is that simple.
Favorite Storm Chasing Photos
How did you realize your love for weather
Being born and raised in Oklahoma, storms were just a part of life. I never feared them, I embraced them.
When did you decide you wanted to storm chase
After I saw my first tornado. My first chase was just to see a tornado once in my life, I never intended to become a chaser. But once I saw my first one, the passion to see more was ignited.
How long have you been actively chasing
Do you chase for a reason
To chase and document tornadoes on video
Do you see passion as a good or bad thing
It can be a double-edged sword, creating as much disappoinment and despair sometimes as it does happiness. But the happiness always trumps the despair.
Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group
Of the two, alone. But I’ve partnered with my girlfriend for the past 8 years and we have a great chemistry. I’m quite content chasing with her as a duo.
Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour
No. Sounds like an overpriced travel nightmare
How do you feel about the current state of storm chasing
Everything changes. Chasing is no exception. I don’t think you’ll ever see the characters you did in years past. Chasers today seem very cookie-cutter, very assembly line. Few personalities stand out from all the scientific, nerdy, techno mentality that rules the activity now.
Which era of chasing would you prefer to exist – Old-school or new-school
See my previous answer.
How far are you willing to travel for a good set up
As far as my wallet allows, if I like the setup. I have never had a geographical bias limitation, other than terrain-based.
What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite
Where it’s flat, and where it’s not.
What is you favorite type of set up to chase? Least favorite
I don’t care as long as good visibility (both terrain and atmospheric) abounds.
What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable
Most memorable, I could give a different answer every day of the week. Least memorable, well, I have no idea, for obvious reasons.
Have you ever feared for your life
Not really. I have a built-in survival instinct (like all chasers) but I tend to actually listen to mine, which allows me to avoid getting into situations where I might be in peril.
Are you afraid to make dangerous maneuvers while chasing? (I.E core punching/hook slicing/living in the bears cage)
Depends on the situation. I’ve taken those chances, and I’ve balked at them. The storm really decides, not me.
Do you have any superstitions
No. Life is full of enough bad luck without manufacturing my own.
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’ve been doing that my entire career. So yes.
Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather
No. Chasing is a passion. Making it about work ruins it IMO.
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
What is your favorite storm chase and why
Like I said before, every day of the week would be a different answer.
What date burns in you [think bust”> and why
November 7, 2011. I nailed the forecast but botched the chase, which is the polar opposite of my natural skill set. Missing out on a historic Fall outbreak cuts deep.
Do you always know why you made the wrong or right decisions to chase a particular day
If I did, I wouldn’t bust.
How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology
Osmosis most likely. I still really don’t understand it, scientifically, at all.
Do you consider the day a success even if you don’t witness a tornado
No. Any storm that fails to produce a tornado is, IMO, incomplete.
Do you feel short changed if you see a tornado from a greater distance to you than you prefer
Not really, because my decision put me wherever I end up. If that’s from further away than desired it’s not the storm’s fault, it’s my own.
How do you feel about the post “Storm Chaser” generation
Like I mentioned before, very cookie-cutter and assembly line. There seems to be the notion amongst this genre that there’s some type of template a person has to follow to get started in chasing. It’s a very unoriginal group.
Do you feel like the scientific community should get the same respect as emergency vehicles around storms
No. I don’t believe the scientific community should get more respect around storms than I do.
How you do you feel about the media in regards to the weather and chasing
Boring, unoriginal, but more than anything, ignorant.
Who are the most influential people to you out in the field
Would you considering getting your children into storm chasing
I don’t have any kids, but if I did, I’d just let them find their own interests without my influence. If they became interested in chasing because they watched me and found it interesting on their own, sure.
If you didn’t know anything about storm chasing, how would you react if your child said they wanted to be a chaser
See previous answer.
What do you fear most about a storm
What type of storm do you prefer to chase? (Ugly HP/sculpted LP/classic/squall line)
There’s only one answer to this question.
Do you stop your progress toward a storm for a great photography opportunity
Absoloutely not. Photography is one of the main killers of tornado videography.
How do you feel about law enforcement immediately around a tornadic supercell
They’re doing their job the way they believe is best. That doesn’t always correspond with reality.
Should storm chasers feel more entitled to be around storms than law enforcement or locals
By law, never. By reality, nobody is more of an authority around storms than experienced chasers.
Do you have a job that supports storm chasing
I wouldn’t have the job if it didn’t.
Do you have a family that supports storm chasing
Not really. My family has always been indifferent to my chasing. They are a group of lifer-types, who believe in getting up and going to work until you die. Obviously, I’m the Black Sheep.
How long do you plan on chasing
For as long as I draw breath.