Severe weather has been an interest of mine ever since I was about 4 years old. It probably began when my father drove our family to pick up my father's parents. My grandparents had just lost there home in one of six tornadoes that had devastated the suburban Minneapolis and St. Paul area on May 6, 1965. I was amazed to see the National Guard directing traffic and keeping sightseers and looters out of the damaged areas. My family and I saw many homes with no roofs, some without a couple of walls, and many that simply were not there any more. I was completely awestuck by what nature had just done, and from then on I was hooked.
I followed the weather on a daily basis, especially when I was a teenager, and was determined to become a meteorologist. I chose the University of Oklahoma to obtain my college education because of its reputation in meteorology, particularly in the study of severe local storms. There was also the consideration that it had those legendary storm chase teams.
Tornado chasing with the other "storm freaks" was a thrill. It was great to be around others who shared my passion for severe weather. The anticipation of the upcoming development of severe thunderstorms, preparing for the chase, and the long drives around the Oklahoma and Texas prairies were things I will never forget. Of course, feeling the adrenaline rush when you see your first tornado also makes an indelible impression! As with any endeavor like this, you have your good days and your bad days, but you always seem to remember the good ones the best.
I am currently employed as a meteorologist at Northwest Airlines in the Twin Cities. I am happily married, have two daughters and twin sons, and we live in the city of Apple Valley, Minnesota. I don't chase storms as often as I use to, because of family and work considerations, but I always watch the skies for supercells and do my best to help other chasers by providing them with valuable information through my web site.
All Graphics & Text Copyright © 1999 Robert M. Lattery