Friday, May 4, 2012

5/4 - 11pm EDT - The Chase Begins Tomorrow!

Tomorrow's the day! Early in the morning I'll be departing Louisville for Oklahoma City where I'll meet up with Storm Chasing Adventure Tours for the first tour of the season. My duties this year include briefing our tour guests, assisting our leader Todd with technology and forecasting, and managing the web and social media presence of the company while out there. Each day from tomorrow on to May 26th I'll be generating blog posts filled with forecast discussions, chase recaps, photos, video, and much more. The links to our LIVE streaming video feed, my social media accounts, and more are to the right of this blog post. It's needless to say that I'm eagerly waiting to get on the road!

With three weeks of motels, hotels, and long drives each day, what does a storm chaser pack? The short answer is, well, lightly. While on the road I need to be able to shoot video and photos, access weather data, keep our tour guests apprised of what's going on weather-wise, and update everyone back home on what we're doing via this blog and social media. This sounds like it would require a ton of equipment, but it really doesn't anymore. Even over the past five years that I've been storm chasing I've watched technology march along to the point where I can carry just a few pieces of crucial equipment to get this done. Below is a picture of what I'm packing in my bag equipment-wise right now, minus my laptop and iPad:

The orange Tide detergent and sunscreen bottles stick out like a sore thumb in that photo, but a storm chaser has to have clean clothes and unburned skin right? A few things of note are my HD camcorder (very right in bag), my still camera (bottom center black case), storm chasing books for tour guests to read on the long drives, and all the wires that make my ability to share weather data with tour guests and the world possible.

A lot of folks ask me how I can stand being on the road for so long and why I do this. My passion for weather, a love of travel, and a child-like excitement for learning and teaching others keep me going during these weeks. There's not a day that goes by during the off-season that I don't think about storm chasing and how much fun it is. Much like my work in television, being able to tell our storm chasing tour guests about the weather in the mornings requires a great deal of skill. I've been doing this since I was 17, so in a way I grew up a little bit in Tornado Alley and what I learned during these years has really thrust my knowledge forward to the point where I can now share it with others in a meaningful way. It's going to be an adventurous few weeks as we start the storm chasing season!

Be sure to check back here on the blog for the next three weeks and follow me on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute progress on our chase.

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