Welcome to the brain of a budding storm chaser. After surviving my first chase season in 2012, I’m beefing up my storm chase plans for 2013. This year’s mission: quadruple the number of tornadoes! I got seven in 2012. It can’t be that difficult…right?
What do you do, exactly?
When I’m not running around in a field somewhere, I’m a freelance web and multimedia designer. Need a new website? I’m on it. Print materials? Sure. Get your kitten down from a tree? Well, I’d still call the fire department first, but I can take some adorable “hang in there!” photos while you’re waiting.
And the rest of the time?
My amazing list of hobbies include: sleeping, singing karaoke, writing nonsense, and playing darts. I love challenges, and I love meeting new people. Say hi if you see me running around on the plains!
So, do you…um, sketch the tornadoes?
What is this, Twister? No, I have a Canon T2i that quite honestly, I’m still learning new things about. My first attempt at photography with it was the Lower North Fork Fire near Denver, posted on flickr. My other equipment includes my brand new HP laptop with GRLevel3 installed, RadarScope on my iPad, and preferably chase partners who know what they’re doing. They don’t count as equipment though, they count more as life savers.
You must read a lot.
I do. I read a ton, and I ask questions. No one should ever just assume they know what they’re doing without any kind of training or experience. Storms are beautiful, but they can kill you; from hail, wind, or just idiotic distracted driving. So, I study. And again, I ask questions. And in 2012 I absolutely will not chase on my own. If no one’s available on a perfect weekend, I’ll follow the action on RadarScope.
Come on, chase at 70mph directly into the bear cage! Everyone’s doing it!
No. No they’re not. And if you do, you’re definitely not the brightest crayon in the box.
What training have you done? And what other training do you want to do?
I received my CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) certificate in Littleton, CO. Find a CERT course near you! It’s training in real-life emergency situations: from tornadoes to terrorism. It’s a great class for folks who don’t have any formal medical training, but don’t want to just stand around if a life-threatening event should occur. The class teaches you what to do when, and when to do nothing at all. I highly recommend it, but be aware it is a 32-hour course, and the last class involves hands-on training with very realistic wounds, and CERT volunteers who are quite convincing actors and actresses. It pulled me right out of my comfort zone and stuck me in a place where I realized I’m not helpless in any situation. Seriously, sacrifice 32 hours of your lifetime. It might make all the difference. By the way, this course is currently free (and very popular, so register locally early!)
SKYWARN Weather Spotter should be a prerequisite for watching The Weather Channel. If you know anything about severe weather, this course is easy to follow. I’ve taken the beginner and advanced courses two years in a row (at Chasercon), and it wasn’t until this year (2012) that the advanced course really started to stick. But, it’s another free course with so many valuable resources discussed throughout.
I would like to get my First Aid and CPR certification; I haven’t had it since I was a girl scout. It’s doubtful that every person (if any) you come across in a disaster is suffering from a heart attack, but I’m sure at some point someone could be scared to that point. That class is available throughout the year from The Red Cross, and ranges from $70 to $120, depending on where, when, and what resources are supplied.
Where do we go from here?