Stephen Henry

Location: Albuquerque, NM
Started Chasing: 2012 (spotting since 1997)
Tornadoes: 12 tornadoes through 2014 (only 4 were really photogenic though)
Web site: http://galileo.tsuniv.edu/log/home.html

Bio: I bet you’ve never heard this before, but I started liking storms because of this one time when I was a kid :). In my case, it was seeing the aftermath of the Saragosa, TX tornado when I was 4. This obsession grew thanks to a NWS friend of the family who gave me old 1980’s spotter training pamphlets and raw tornado chase VHS tapes. For most of my life, up through grad school, I lived in the southeast where storms were plentiful, but views were not. During that time, I started an embarrassing journal of storms that hit our neighborhood and even glimpsed a few funnels/tornadoes. After moving to Albuquerque in 2011, I finally had reasonable access to the plains and my obsession grew even more. Being almost equally fascinated with film and cinematography, nowadays I spend my time imagining “the shot” while waiting for the spring to roll around. If you ever see me out in the middle of nowhere standing beside a black Crosstrek fiddling with camera equipment, come say hi.

Favorite Storm Chasing Photos

Favorite Chase Video

Chaser Q&A

When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?

Back in the early 90’s when I first realized it was a thing.

How long have you been actively chasing?

Since 2012.

Do you chase for a reason?

Yes: puzzle solving of the forecast, freedom of the chase day, glory of the storm, and satisfaction of capturing everything on camera.

Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?

My wife and I chase together; I wouldn’t feel safe with all the multitasking required to chase solo.

Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?

Nothing against tours, but personally they would diminish the first two reasons I like to chase.How do you feel about the current state of storm chasing? As long as the current state is flat, treeless, and has a good road grid, I don’t care which one it is.

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

New-school: gimme that 4G, dual-pol, and HRRR. I can deal with the chaser convergence.

Have you ever feared for your life?

Never on a chase, but once at night huddled in a Wichita hotel bathroom (April 14, 2012).

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

Yea I’m a total pansy.

Do you have any superstitions?

No.

Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather? Besides living in the southern plains EML, no.

Have you ever been to ChaserCon?

Only via the live streams.

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 usually hang out alone, but that’s just because I’m shy. I always enjoy meeting people on a
chase.

What is your favorite storm chase and why?

May 18, 2013 at Rozel: our first photogenic tornadoes.

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

April 16, 1998 in Tennesse: I skipped work to see tornadoes, and missed the tornado that hit work.

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

The more I learn, the more I see how little I know. Most of our success can be chalked up to luck.

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

Reading books, watching online presentations, staring at models (honey I’m looking at the HRRR, not her).

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

Absolutely. Blue sky busts can really hurt, but even then we try to find something interesting and new to experience.

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

Only if it means my footage is poor, but I’ve definitely gotten some pretty poor footage from closer up as well.

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

“Team Sean vs. Team Reed” is the “Team Edward vs. Team Jacob” of our era.

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

Emergency vehicles are always first priority.

Would you considering getting your children into storm chasing?

I don’t think our cats would really appreciate it that much. But that said, Storm Chase Cat would probably bump up my Youtube views.

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

I would be floored; a talking cat is extremely rare.

What do you fear most about a storm?

Getting stuck in heavy precip with no visibility or radar and totally losing situational awareness.

What type of storm do you prefer to chase?

Sculpted LPs & classics are certainly preferred, but I’ve had a ton of fun with squall lines as well, if that’s what the day offers.

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

Quite often, especially if it’s something abandoned!

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

I’ve heard horror stories, but we’ve only had nice experiences with LEOs.

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

No, everyone should be courteous and share the road.

How long do you plan on chasing?

Until dark..

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