Some of you have chased with me before and some of you haven’t met Gadget Girl before, so here’s a bit about me.
I am a former polar explorer (3 years contracting for the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP)), a career computer technologist, and — Surprise! — a storm chaser. I’ve been chasing in several forms now for 20 years: I go with tour groups, chase with a few local teams, and chase solo. I’ve seen about 3 dozen tornadoes and uncounted severe storms in that time. I still have plenty to learn, but I know enough to keep myself safe chasing and doing storm spotting for my local emergency management agency.
I’ve chased with Tempest Tours since 2002 (though I’ve missed a few seasons, due to job or economic constraints). If my count is correct, my 2016 trip will be my 14th chase with Tempest. I guess you become a regular after spending over 100 days with these folks. You may find other excellent tour companies, but none better! If I had all the money I could ask for, I’d still choose Martin Lisius and Bill Reid to guide me ‘under the thunder.’ (Yes, I use that expression a lot!) I would have to say that about 2/3 of the tornadoes I’ve seen in my life were with Tempest.
I tend to favor chasing in May, since we cover a broad range of the central and southern plains during a ten-day stint. I’ve found that this makes for better ‘blue sky’ days, as well as lots of target choices when the weather is active.
If you were to ask those who’ve chased with me before, they’d probably tell you I carry a lot of ‘toys’ and invariably am the unofficial IT helper for the tour. If your technology gets messed up, please feel free to ask me for help. I do not know every thing about every gadget or software package, but I give good guidance, tend to be generous with my time, and derive great satisfaction from helping others. (I also speak a little Spanish, should the need arise; I spent a lot of time translating for one guest a few years back.)
Also, those of you who know me will note that I’ve dropped about 80 pounds since last year. This is partially due to a (usually) strict low-carbohydrate diet, better commitment to exercise than I’ve had in years past, and the mysteries of modern medicine. You’ll see me eating a lot of salads, but trust me, I’m really enjoying myself.
One last thing: I sometimes talk too much. Feel free to stop me!
S M I L E S,