I am a Graduate Student (Ph. D.) at the University of Oklahoma in the Department of Geography specializing in Natural Hazards - in particular severe weather and tornadoes as related to climatology and risk. I have been an avid Storm Chaser for some ten years now, after moving from Toledo, Ohio (B.A. University of Toledo, 1986) specifically to jump into tornado research. I spent the better part of the first five years cutting my teeth on the Southern Plains by what in retrospect resembled driving around aimlessly at great expense. While I learned a lot about severe weather (mostly from friends at OU School of Meteorology SOM ), my inexperience coupled with some lean years climatologically, resulted in zero successful intercepts those first few years.
All along I have been involved in various organized spotter networks and for the last few years I have regularly participated in SKYWARN reporting (Chiefly for the NWS Office in Norman (OUN) , and also for Oklahoma County Emergency Management (for whom I worked as a HAZMAT liason to LA County Fire in the hotzone at the OKC Bombing) . In 1991, I served as the Emergency Management Director for the Town of Medicine Park, Oklahoma. I also was an Environmental Specialist for the Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma before being fired for reporting an illegal wastewater discharge. I later won a landmark and highly public federal whistleblower case against them and had my termination expunged. A small victory as the wrongdoings in the environmental arena continue in this grossly corrupt state (I digress!) In 1992, I worked on emergency and environmental health and safety plans for the Department of Energy near Cincinnati. I couldn't stand being away from the Plains for long though, and in 1993 I returned to Norman to finish my M.A. (Oklahoma, 1996). My Thesis title was : "Tornado Hazards, Coping Styles and Modernized Warning Systems."
In 1995, I was a participant in VORTEX, and drove Probe 3 for every mission. I saw 11 Tornadoes, including a close encounter with the mammoth violent 1.3 miles-wide wedge at Allison, Texas. For details including some cool audio, check out Charles Edwards' page. After VORTEX, I was lucky enough to get a job for Warner Brothers / Amblin Entertainment along with my usual partner - Mark Herndon - working for Vince Miller and "TWISTER" as actual chasers both in Oklahoma and Iowa. While logistically the mission was difficult and frustrating, it was a great deal of fun to mingle with the cast and crew. (for some more details click here ). Contrary to some reports, the storm chase unit did in fact intercept severe weather successfully as directed, including a small July Panhandle tornado caught with TWISTER's Still Photographer David James (See Photo this page). While I was still running around with VORTEX, Mark was sloshing through the mud with the red Dodge Ram wearing a Helen Hunt wig. (See interview with Richard Bedard). Lately I chase as much as possible with the likes of Mark Herndon, Richard Bedard, Charles Edwards, Jim Leonard, Casey Crosbie, videographer extraordinaire Ari Palos, and for various entities including KWTV TV9 in Oklahoma City, Cloud 9 Tours , and Oklahoma Emergency Management. I also got to drive the Doppler on Wheels ( DOW ) for Josh Wurman this Spring in Kansas and Colorado and most recently on a Hurricane Fran mission (Like chasing with a concrete mixer!) I also do some consulting work for Tom Grazulis at The TORNADO PROJECT as time allows and am diligently plugging away on tornado-oriented proposals with The Natural Hazards Research Applications and Information Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder and The National Science Foundation.
I am single, 32 YOA, a SERIOUS Hockey Fan, an avid El Camino Enthusiast and frequent visitor to my favorite neighborhood watering hole The Border Crossing and to the Midway Market which are both crawling distance from my residence. I am also a big fan (along with numerous peers at OU) of The Weather Channel's Jill Brown , and I try to focus my TWC viewing hours to when she's on in what is otherwise an uneasy love - hate relationship with TWC. In VORTEX we had a "shrine" for her on the dashboard of Probe 3 until it was pointed out that such behavior appeared "unhealthy." I have since tried to channel my energy into more productive endeavors such as counting the KFOR (OKC) tornadoes that in fact DO NOT exist. I have had something like 25 major orthopaedic surgeries including a recent one (Oct 96) so at times I have gaps in my work. Just harass me a bit and I'll get whatever your waiting for to you directly!
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