Tim Marshall


Location: Flower Mound, Texas
Started Chasing: 1978
Tornadoes: 200

Bio: I focused my attention towards severe weather when my hometown (Oak Lawn, IL) was struck by an F-4 tornado on April 21, 1967. I joined a weather club at York High School, then went to N.I.U. in DeKalb where I majored in meteorology. I then headed to Lubbock, Texas where I earned an MS in Atmospheric Science. A tornado struck Grand Island, NE in June 1980, and I went with engineers to survey the damage. That is when I decided to become an engineer and earned an MS in Civil Engineering. I have worked for Haag Engineering, a forensic engineering firm since 1983. I have chased tornadoes and hurricanes since 1978.

Favorite Storm Chasing Photos

Chaser Q&A

How did you realize your love for weather?

Always loved weather. Received a barometer for Christmas (1966) and took daily weather observations.

When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?

I learned about storm chasing at NIU, then formed the Texas Tech Tornado Intercept Project in 1978.

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

37

Do you chase for a reason?

It is my hobby. I enjoy the challenge of a forecasting severe weather.

Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?

For safety reasons, I usually chase with another person

Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?

Conducted tours for two years.

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

The roads are getting more crowded. I feel that certification is around the corner. Certain law enforcement officials are getting tired of chasers clogging the roads.

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

New School

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

1000

What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?

Texas panhandle, western Oklahoma, west and central Kansas.

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

Since I’m based in the south, I pretty much chase drylines. While on VORTEX 2 and ROTATE, I chased upslope in eastern CO and WY and enjoyed that. I didn’t like chasing warm fronts in NE, SD, ND due to low visibilities and wet roads.

What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?

In recent years, the El Reno, OK event on May 31, 2013. I saw 31 tornadoes in 1991, my personal record.

I did not see any tornadoes in 1987 and 1988, a record two-year drought.

Have you ever feared for your life?

There have been times where storms/tornadoes have turned and I have become concerned. The worst fears have been with driving at night and trying to avoid deer and livestock.

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

There is a certain element of danger in storm chasing. I try to position myself in front of a tornado and let it come towards me.

Do you have any superstitions?

No

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?

No

Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?

Yes, I am a forensic engineer and meteorologist with Haag Engineering Co. based in Irving, Texas.

Have you ever been to ChaserCon?

Ever since 2003.

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

I’ve done both.

What is your favorite storm chase and why?

I enjoyed October 4, 1998. Carson Eads and I were west of Oklahoma City and watched a storm develop in a broken line. We then saw a lone storm develop to our west and watched it produce two, long-tracked, picturesque tornadoes near Watonga. The rope out of one tornado was illuminated orange by the setting sun. It was a peaceful, relative easy chase.

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

As a child, I read books. There were no TV programs about tornadoes at that time.

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

Too much hype.

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

I have the upmost respect for Tim Samaras and Roger Hill.

What do you fear most about a storm?

I don’t fear them. I’ve learned to be focused and be wary of changes.

Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?

Yes.

Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?

Yes.

How long do you plan on chasing?

As long as my health holds out.

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