Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why in the heck am I doing this?

Welcome all to my new storm chasing blog! I will be using this blog to document my storm chase stories as well as sharing photos and/or videos from my adventures in the field. This blog will also be used occasionally to discuss major upcoming weather events and phenomenon.

My passion for weather started as a young child. I was always fascinated with the power of storms as they moved through the neighborhood I grew up in. If I wanted to see if storms were moving in, the TV was always tuned to the local weather channel showing radar images. The first big storm I remember is the Superstorm of 1987 that moved through the Twin Cities area. My hometown of Eden Prairie experienced about 9 inches of rain the night of July 23rd. Other areas dealt with tornadoes, high winds, and funnel clouds. Before the storm hit, I was out with family watching my dad play a softball game at Dred Scott Field in Bloomington. Once the sirens hit and the sky turned green, everyone rushed for their vehicles in the parking lot. A lot of the roads were not passable for days.

So why do I storm chase? As I finished college and began living on my own, I developed a strong interest watching storms from my car in 2007. Eventually this evolved into taking spotting courses to further my understanding of storm development and knowing what the tale-tale signs are of a potential tornado dropping from the sky and assist with advanced warning. In 2009, I took my first training class and became a trained spotter for the National Weather Service using the eSpotter program. With advances in technology, including wireless internet access, radar applications (such as GRLevel3), and GPS tracking, being able to storm watch from a mobile location became so much easier as these became invaluable tools for tracking storms. Spotter Network allows me to place real time reports from my exact location with just the click of a mouse. In 2010, I will be adding ham radio to my arsenal as a backup means of communication to my cell phone for calling in life-threatening weather situations, and becoming affiliated with the Metro Skywarn program. Stay tuned for what could be an active 2010!

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