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October 2008

Thoughts on storm chasing

If you haven't seen it, Discovery Channel has a series called 'Storm Chasers.' It features Research Scientist and Meteorologist Josh Wurman and IMAX filmmaker Sean Casey as they partner to find and film the biggest tornadoes in the U.S.

Tornado Storm chasing has slowly been moving into the mainstream media in the last several years, thanks in part to the large number of storm chasers in the Midwest that carry cameras with them along with extensive media coverage of landfalling tropical cyclones.

I've been chasing storms professionally since 1999 and have had the priviledge of working for The Weather Channel, National Geographic, The Weather Network (Canada) and others since that time.

Meteorologist Jim Cantore has been a friend since I met him in 1999 while we covered Hurricane Dennis in Wrightsville Beach, NC. He stopped by the studio today to say hello and catch up with all of us who have worked with him. Between 'Storm Chasers' and my conversation with Jim, I suddenly found myself wishing it were early May - and prepping to head to the Midwest to watch the skies and hope for some good storms that develop in some undeveloped farm land.

If you've ever had a desire to go chase a tornado, there are several tour operators that operate organized tours in the Midwest each year. One that I chase with is Storm Chasing Adventure Tours. Their website is Check them out. And be sure to say hi if we happen upon the same storm.

You never know who you'll meet

Working in the television industry has it's advantages. We get to meet many famous people, politicians, celebrities and individuals who make this world a better place. Sometimes they come to our studio, sometimes we go to a meeting room at a hotel or, on occasion, even their home.

I have posted a list of our 'High Profile Guests' on our website at: I'm sure I've forgotten some interviews, but it is a pretty complete list. Most of them have an interesting story behind them.

For example, I met George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Sabastian Junger and Wolfgang Peterson during the Press Junket for 'The Perfect Storm' in Gloucester, MA. The movie, based on the bestselling book by the same name by Mr. Junger, focuses on the crew of the swordfishing boat 'Andrea Gail.'


But the most interesting part of that trip was meeting the actual helicopter crew and para-rescue jumpers that survived in the Atlantic Ocean several hours after running out of fuel and ditching their helicopter in the stormy seas. The Coast Guard cutter 'Tamaroa' rescued them from what would have been certain death.

This picture was taken at Gloucester with Helicopter Pilot Graham Buschor, 'Tamaroa' Captain Lawrence Brudnicki and Lt. Bill Muller.

If you haven't read 'The Perfect Storm' it's a great story - and is much more accurate account of the events that occurred in October, 1991.