10 Questions by Shane Adams
Every week or so I sit down (via internet) with a different storm chaser and ask him/her ten questions on various topics, most pertaining to storm chasing in some way, shape, or form. A few questions may have nothing to do with chasing at all. What I want to do is offer chaser interviews which are more creative and personal, rather than just technical. You'll see questions on here you've never seen anywhere before, and you'll find out interesting, surprising, and sometimes just plain weird things about chasers you never knew before. From their fondest chase memory, to their favorite cheeseburger, you'll get the skinny on all types of chasers from all walks of life. Enjoy!!!
presents 10 Questions with
Matt Sellers hails from Beulah, Colorado. He attends the University of Oklahoma, and is a meteorology junior. He began chasing on the High Plains of E Colorado, NW Kansas, and SW Nebraska in 1996. Some of his career highlights include a 19-tornado year in 1999, and bagging 2 tornadoes on his very first chase, one of which was a half-mile wide F3. He was only 16. He works as a pizza delivery driver for extra cash, and has recently acquired both a new chase truck and a fiancee. Now that you know the man, here are his answers to this week's "10 Questions".
1. What have you been up to lately; any
cool recent chases to tell us about?
I've been working and hoping for a weak hurricane to hit the Texas coast (sounds bad, but you know how hurricane rainbands can produce tornadoes). The last time I chased was on June 20, and aside from traveling through the Alva area for the first time, nothing significant happened. It sure is flat out there in parts of Woods County.
2. What entails a typical chase day for you - from the time you wake up in the morning until the time you hit the road?
Wake up, check the weather. Then check the weather some more. Talk to my storm chasing friends about the situation, then check the weather again. The weather always changes, and my target area depends highly on what I see right before I leave. By then I'm totally pumped up and ready to go.
3. What type of chase rig/equipment do you use?
TV, 2 scanners, and weather station. I'll have a cell modem soon, and maybe someday, a ham license.
4. Your career began in 1996 - the same year the movie TWISTER came out. Have you ever received any criticism from
others, chasers or non-chasers, about being a "Wannabe?"
None at all (as of yet). That speaks volumes about the storm chasing community as a whole. I saw TWISTER on May 25, 1996, 2 weeks after it came out. My first storm chase came 5 days later, and I saw 2 tornadoes. I was 16 in the spring of 1996; it was the first season that I had the opportunity to chase. The timing of my storm chasing debut makes me a perfect target for those that want to label me as a "wannabe." But no one has ever criticized me in that way. Anyone out there want to call me a TWISTER "wannabe" now? (laughs)
5. If you could have only one chase in your entire career to do over again, which would it be?
None. They're all in the past, and I learned something from every chase, even the "blue sky busts." There will always be more chases, and more tornadoes.
6. Who are some of your inspirations/heroes of chasing?
No one specific. I didn't become a storm chaser because I wanted to be just like (insert name here). I love severe weather and the thrill of the chase, just like any other chaser.
7. Do you see yourself ever retiring, or will you chase forever?
The day I "retire" is the day I die. (laugh)
8. Of all your tornadoes, which is your favorite - and describe that chase.
April 19, 2000 near Cherryvale, KS. We left at 3pm, heading north toward the front east of Ponca City. We almost turned home at Skiatook (OK), as it seemed like nothing was happening. On the drive to US75, we saw towers to the north. After driving into Kansas and making a loop, we got under a tornadic storm near Independence. Minutes later, and just before dark, a tornado formed a mile or so to our east. First tornado of the 21st century, and first ever for my stormchase-crazy fiancee, Kelley. 3 more would follow after dark, but that was the most exciting success of my chase career.
9. What is your main chasing goal as of today that you've yet to reach?
I want to get in the eye of a hurricane, or at least try to see tornadoes that form in hurricane rainbands.
10. What's your favorite "chaser food" while out on the road?
Anything and everything that I can get quickly. Usually, that means chips, beef jerky, and those quick-mart packaged sandwiches.
Coming Next Week - 10 Questions with Roger Hill
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