Tornado Quest has been a labor of love for me since we first went online in March, 1998. Our primary focus is on the earth sciences with emphasis on meteorology, climatology, and the environmental sciences. I publish a weekly post called Tornado Quest Top Ten Science Links which covers a myriad of science topics. Our Links page has a wide variety of weather data sites, links to weather safety info, general science sites, and our social media links. This blog is updated at least once a week and we have many ways you can stay in touch with us through social media.
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A little about me: My interest in science has been around as long as I can remember. How many kindergarten kids (before dinosaurs were cool) wanted to be a paleontologist? I was swept into a strong interest in meteorology by a series of severe weather events in 1974, first the tornado “Superoutbreak” of April 3-4, 1974, and then the Oklahoma tornado outbreak of June 8, 1974. From that year on, my fascination with the atmospheric sciences was sealed. I’ve been observing and photographing weather of all kinds since the mid 70’s and began my storm chasing “career” on March 15, 1982. In my early teens, I took photographs from my neighborhood of every kind of cloud imaginable. When possible, my parents drove me to take photos of storm damage. The evidence left behind from a violent storm fascinated me as much as the thunderstorm or tornado itself. When I finally decided to start “chasing,” all the data available was PBS’s “A.M. Weather,” the Weather Channel, scant surface data, and NOAA weather radio broadcasts. In those situations, you learn to forecast using sparse surface data very fast, or wind up with countless wasted trips. When I started using the internet in March, 1995, I wondered how I ever got through the previous years on so little data. Suddenly, a whole new vista opened up for me and the supply of weather data seemed endless. Technology has come a long way…and today’s iOS or Android tablet can pull up more data than many National Weather Service offices had available in the early 1990’s. After many years of chasing and observing storms, I’ve certainly seen a lot…from spectacular breath-taking vistas to damage swaths reeking with the stench of mud, wet debris, natural gas leaks, and death. I have done my share of “pushing the envelope” in regards to safety. To this day, I’m still somewhat stunned by some of the spectacular displays of mother nature and, when recollection kicks in, I have to ask myself, “Did I really see that?” In other tragic circumstances, I’ve walked the streets of communities, wrapped up in the concentrations of a damage survey, stopped in my tracks, and suddenly realized that, from horizon to horizon, I was standing in the midst of a devastated community that was once a haven of safety and comfort to many, but now resembled a European city after a saturation bombing. Occasionally I’d rest my gaze at my feet, transfixed at a small space where individuals spent the most terrifying experience of their lives and, for some, took their last breaths. A very deep intellectual and emotional investment in the atmospheric sciences is a truly humbling experience. Unfortunately, nature is indifferent to the fears and sufferings of humans and part of its irony is the beauty that can frequently result in immeasurable suffering.
As for my future plans with Tornado Quest, I’ll be expanding the information I share regarding environmental science, and passing along anything I find interesting or potentially useful. One thing is for certain, I’ll have an online presence for many, many years to come. This is a life-long passion for me and isn’t a flight of fancy by any means.
Thanks for stopping by…we look forward to seeing you again soon!
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