10 years of chasing

"You lose track of where you are going if you forget where you have been"

A phrase that the rock band "Devour The Day" uses in their music video "The Bottom". It's something I've thought about a lot recently, especially knowing that 10 years from my first storm chase was coming up. The last 10 years have been kind of crazy, with lots of ups and downs and a move halfway across the country all over one thing: water vapor.

I started off as a 23 year old guy in Lansing, MI who had been interested in weather for years and always wanted to see a tornado. I had hoped this night 10 years ago would be my first, and it almost was. As Abe, Joe and I were crammed into my small cab Ford Ranger XLT, we headed off towards Indiana, eventually nearing the town of Metea, IN after a 3.5 to 4 hour drive. I was young, inexperienced and had high ambitions. I didn't know much of anything in terms of safety or how to actually storm chase like I do now.

So where have I been? The answer is, many places. Before the chase 10 years ago, I had been in charge of skywarn nets and in charge of Skywarn in my home county of Ingham County Michigan. I was in charge of the net on August 24, 2007 as an EF-3 tornado ripped through Potterville, MI and then an EF-1 tornado hit the south side of the City of Lansing. While sitting on a radio was ok, I knew I wanted to get into the field and actually see this stuff.

Fast forward a few years and I've seen a number of tornadoes, gotten close to a couple and I'm packing up my life into a trailer and me and my cat into my truck and moving to Oklahoma. Life was simple in 2010 when I got here, and then the 2011 chase season was amazing. Tornado alley delivered to me everything I thought it would and more, from a great spring season, a classic Oklahoma tornado outbreak, some other good chase days and then a couple of great fall setups. 2011 had it all, and I got spoiled.

"You lose track of where you are going if you forget where you have been"

So I wanted to reflect on some of my memorable chases over my chase career. The first 10 years have been great, full of great storms, great friends and good fun. So in no random order, here are some of my highlights if you will

* Getting stuck in a farmers field in South Dakota escaping tornadoes has to top the 'holy crap' list.
* Wynnewood was probably the best tornado I ever saw. Chickasha is a very close second.
* My favorite photo in front of a tornado is one Kenneth McCallister took on May 24, 2011 in Chickasha, OK
* First tornado was May 2, 2008 near Earle, AR
* First close tornado encounter was with David Drummond in Floyd County, TX on April 29, 2009.
* Favorite chase was May 24, 2011

Without further adieu, here is a short montage of video from my first 10 years of chasing.