Don’t Believe Everything You Read About Storm Chasers/Trackers/Spotters


I hate when people post RadarScope pictures of “convergence” and their scale is 50 miles. Of course it looks packed! Now zoom in and you’ll see hundreds of yards between the five vehicles on a single road. And a significant portion of those “red dots” are actually spotters – not chasers, sitting in their house looking out a window, or ARES operators doing their thing.

ERMAGERD! It's a "convergence!"

ERMAGERD! It’s a “convergence!”

Even at the Greensburg, KS “convergence,” we still had hundreds of yards between us and our fellow chasers. Even when we stopped at the gas station, there were no more than 25 of us (people, not cars). The gas station owner was glad to see 25 people in his gas station buying drinks and snacks and filling up their cars because the next gas station was in a town 50 miles to the west.

Everywhere we stop people ask us about our equipment and the weather and what they should do and where they should go and thank us for doing what we do. People honk and wave at us all the time. Not once have we experience anything negative with locals. Not. Once.

I have no doubt that at some point there will be a “convergence” on a road that becomes dangerous because it limits evacuation routes. But I haven’t seen that yet personally (I have seen one video of a clogged road, but no one was in danger and the storm was still over 20 miles away). For me personally, if I come across a road that does have too many chasers on it, I’ll find another road or another storm if I have to. Maybe one day I’ll run into that, but so far, I haven’t.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m not in it for the money. Never have been. Never will be. Even when media outlets offer money or ask how much I want, I never accept and let them use it for free. My response is usually, “No money necessary, please share with credit, and get the word out to make the public aware of these dangers.” Public safety is why I do it. I report to NWS, 911, or the local EMA as necessary. I post on social media to let people know what’s happening on the ground.

Have no doubt, this isn’t public service for public service’s sake. I absolutely get a joy out of the weather and chasing. But the love I have for it provides an opportunity for use in public service and I do just that.

Now the reason why I wrote all this is because I absolutely agree with this editorial.

Attacking storm chasers doesn’t accomplish anything, and it’s often misinformed

Leaving the Scene

I am at the point in my life where I’m focusing on doing things that make me happy and eliminating stress in my life. I’ve retired from activism, removed a few negative things and people from my life, and unfollowed people on social networks who irritated me. I removed things that made me feel obligated to debate and get irritated at stupidity. It’s all about making my life happy and as stress free as possible.

One of the things that made me happy was doing standup comedy in Huntsville. I never had any intention of going “mainstream” or even really doing gigs outside of Huntsville (although I did a few). Doing standup was something that brought a smile to my face and helped alleviate the anger, frustration, and stress in my life.

But my life has changed. I’m happy now and no longer the frustrated and angry man that I was just six months ago. That anger and frustration was where my comedy came from. So now my standup is stressful to me because I have to reinvent myself and as hard as I’ve tried, I simply cannot find the comedy in my happiness. Sure, a joke or two here or there, but nothing to sustain the hobby of standup.

So after much deliberation, mulling, and thinking, I have decided to no longer do standup comedy. I will continue to be silly on Facebook and Twitter and I will continue to do The Critical Eye Podcast because those things still make me happy and are stress free.

While it took me some time to come to this decision, I’m not feeling bad about it, and that’s a good sign that I made the right decision.

Thank you to everyone who supported my standup over the years. You will always be appreciated. I hope you’ll continue to follow me on Facebook/Twitter and at The Critical Eye Podcast.

In addition, I hope you’ll stay and watch for my storm chasing stuff. I’ve been chasing storms at an amateur level for a very long time and recently decided to get more involved and dedicate myself more to it than normal. I’m now part of the Spotter Network and I’m looking forward to helping out my community and helping the NWS study tornadic activity, especially in the new Tornado Alley that is Alabama and Mississippi. I now have two dash cams ready to go and new apps that will help me chase better than ever before. I’ve also formed the North Alabama Storm Chasers on Facebook, so if you chase in the north Alabama area, please join the group and share your stories and ideas!

Tornado Tips

A few tornado tips to help out this season:


  • Have identification on you that won’t easily be stripped off in the wind. Makes the coroner’s job easier.
  • Get dressed beforehand. No one wants to see you in your lingerie or skivvies at the tornado shelter.
  • Put a blanket or mattress over you in the bathtub, as it’ll muffle your screams better.
  • Keep your pets safe during a tornado, as you may need to eat them in a few days.
  • Get a good weather alert app, something to remind you every few minutes that WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!
  • The NE quadrant of your house is the safest, that way you can’t see your death coming.
  • Get to a shelter early, that way you can get the top bunk.
  • Make sure your pets have collars and tags, that way the shelter knows what to call them when they euthanize them.
  • Make sure important documents are in an indestructible container, it makes for better airborne shrapnel.

Joking aside…

On the side I storm chase and report for Spotter Network (I’m getting my SkyWarn cert as well). Chasing storms and photographing them is something I’ve done for a very long time. As someone who loves science, I love meteorology. Chasing storms is fun, exciting, and dangerous at the same time, especially here in Alabama where trees and hills block your view of the storms and tornadoes at every turn. Finding a safe place with an unobstructed view is difficult.


The building we were parked next to before we drove south a few blocks. One helluva close call!

My girlfriend and I had a very close call on 4/28 where we ended up getting hit by a tornado in the car. Luckily it was just an F1 tornado. I saw the danger and was able to drive south a few blocks quickly and position the car so that the debris was hitting us from behind on the southern wall of the tornado. Where we were parked before I moved, the building was blown out and strewn across the street. Bricks and furniture lay where we were originally parked.

So remove the jokes and keep the following advice: you should have identification on you, be dressed, put blankets or mattresses over you in the bathtub or closet, keep your pets safe, have a good weather alert app or NOAA radio, get in the center of the NE quadrant of your house, get to a shelter early if you’re in a mobile home or unsafe structure, make sure your pets have collars and tags so they can be reunited with you if they are separated in the storm (our dog is a tornado rescue dog that could not be reunited with her owner), and keep your important documents in a container that will not be destroyed by a tornado (or any other disaster, such as a house fire).

Also, make sure you have working flashlights, a few gallons of water, some canned food, extra gas in approved containers, etc. in case the power goes out for an extended period. I have a propane camp stove and plenty of small portable propane tanks as well as a tent, over-the-fire grill, large 7-day coolers to put freezer/fridge stuff in, bottled water, etc. I also keep all my important documents on a small flash drive in a bug-out bag so that if for some reason my safe container doesn’t survive, I’ve at least got electronic copies of all those documents: birth certificates, divorce papers, social security paperwork, mortgage/titles/deeds, bank account info, etc.

These are all things you can do to stay safe and help recover faster if your home is hit. Stay safe this tornado season!

For more information on tornado preparedness: