Jun 24
About Me  E-mail
Monday, 30 March 2009 23:01

My interest in severe weather began as a small child. I was often glued to the TV when they were "on air" with severe weather information. As a child I would often make up my own weather maps, of course I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing. The Red River tornado outbreak in 1979 that caused massive destruction in Wichita Falls, TX really began my big interest in tornadoes. I had extended family there that was narrowly missed. I would check out every book I could find in the library on tornadoes (not much information available back in those days). I watched every program that came on TV or cable about severe weather. I could never get enough of it!

In the mid 1980's, I began actively chasing storms as a young adult, only vaguely aware at that time that there were others out there like me, who pursued storms across the plains. In those days I would chase storms as much as I possibly could, mostly around the Lubbock area and Texas South Plains, gradually going just a little farther each time. Detailed weather information to the everyday person wasn't as readily available at that time, like it is now via the internet. You actually had to visit a National Weather Service office to get any real meaningful information.

In the early 90's I moved a bit south to the Midland/Odessa, TX area. While living there, I joined the local SKYWARN storm spotter group. This turned out to give me more of a sense of purpose in my storm chasing activities. It was during this time I became a licensed ham radio operator with the call sign KC5URH. My original website domain name (wx5tvs.com) came from my current call sign, which is WX5TVS. It is what is known as a "vanity call", where the call sign owner can pick the call sign they want, much like a vanity license plate. It represents: WX (Weather) 5 (FCC area I live in) Tornado Vortex Signature. A TVS is a doppler radar algorithm that can detect possible tornadoes in a thunderstorm. It fit perfectly for storm chasing! WX5TVS was one of the first "weather calls" on the air. Now there are many! Of course, while I still own that domain name, I have since switched to using DavidDrummond.com

As time went on I would extend my chasing range more and more as the seasons progressed, chasing storms across several states, experiencing all sorts of interesting weather, often threatening, always beautiful and interesting. I am passionate about chasing storms, constantly striving for personal excellence in it, and everything else I undertake. It didn't take me long to realize that if I wanted to be able to chase as much as I wanted to, working a regular 9 to 5 type job wasn't going to cut it. Mother Nature could care less about our schedules! I tried my hand at starting a couple of small businesses and did ok with that. During that time in the late 90s I chased a storm that produced a particularly nasty tornado that devastated Jarrell, TX. I saw horrible death and destruction there. I almost quit chasing storms because of it. Without getting in to details, I saw very gruesome scenes there that I had not adequately prepared myself for, if you ever can prepare for something like that. I finally came to terms with it, and realized that I was nothing but an observer, and that these events were going to happen regardless if I am there or not, and if I am there, and least I am documenting it on video and still images. Even perhaps one of my reports just might help someone save themselves.

In 1999, I moved back to the Lubbock area and shortly thereafter created Dryline Enterprises. Initially, the main business name was going to be Dryline Design, a small company that offered website design. It was something I was good at, and best of all, I didn't have to keep a set schedule to earn money doing it. Worked out great from a storm chasing perspective. Not long after that, after being disgusted with dealing with mediocre web hosting companies, I decided I could do a better job and started Dryline Hosting under the company name of Dryline Enterprises as well. I started first marketing this to storm chasers, since most of them have or want websites to show off their wonderful images they get while out chasing, and to talk about what it is they love to do. Today, Dryline Hosting is the premier storm chaser web host, but it has become more than that, and now hosts various businesses and other interests too, and is growing daily! If you're interested more on that it can be found at http://drylinehosting.com

On another front, I gained opportunities to license my video of extreme weather to various news media outlets, such as The Weather Channel, ABC, NBC, FOX and CNN. I started getting requests for video from producers at places like Towers Productions and National Geographic. I decided I needed a business name from my storm chasing activities as well. While very competitive, licensing out my video proved to be an excellent way to recapture some of the ever increasing expenses in storm chasing. Especially with the huge rises in fuel costs, my single largest expense. I put as much as 50,000 miles a year on the road; you can image the gas bill! So I decided to start Dryline Media. Dryline Media has served as a dba for my work, as well as licensed some works for a few other storm chasers.

Since I started licensing out my videos, I have had dozens of video packages shown on all them major networks, many local TV stations, including one company in the UK, and various programs seen on National Geographic, The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel, as well as on several of the Storm Stories programs on The Weather Channel. I was even fortunate enough to get an incredible event I was a part of in Nebraska mentioned in the book Big Weather, written by Mark Svenvold. Needless to say the opportunities have been fantastic and I couldn't be happier. It's led to many interviews and speaking invitations with the chance to talk about what I love to do! The downside of it is you have to chase more, to shoot more stuff, to have fresh stuff to license out. With that comes added expenses, and when gas prices start hovering around $4/gallon, you really have to work at it to make any profit back on it.

In 2005, Graham Butler (my main storm chasing partner) and I were fortunate enough to team up with the Lubbock, TX NBC affiliate, NewsChannel 11 as their First Alert Storm Chasers. This coincided with a particularly active year in the area for tornadoes so everyone involved was extremely happy with how well things worked out. Graham is now finishing up graduate school at Texas Tech and will be embarking on his career as a Geologist shortly. In 2009, I continue that partnership with Ch. 11 and I believe it will continue for many years to come. The folks at the TV station there are FANTASTIC to work with, and just all around good people. I can't say enough nice stuff about them. Working with meteorologists John Robison , Steve Divine and Cary Allen there has been a great experience! I am most excited about this opportunity because it allows me to give LIVE real time reports on the air, which in one case I know for a fact our team coverage and live reports was directly responsible for one life being saved. I can't even express the sense of accomplishment that gives to know you're given the opportunity to make a contribution that can directly save someone's life from severe weather!

That's been the great thing about the boom of the Internet. It's allowed storm chasers from all over the country, and some even from as far away as Australia to get to know each other, to meet up on chase days and enjoy the chasing, and in general just become friends with a common interest. One of the best places they do that are the forums over at StormTrack. I was delighted to have been voted by the members there as one of the moderators, which has also been a fun opportunity. The main site admin at StormTrack, Tim Vasquez, offered me a position as Technical Administrator as well which I was pleased to accept. The geek stuff to do and weather stuff all in one venue! I have since left the staff there to spend more time on my own projects but still visit there often.

As you can see, storm chasing has been a big part of my life, and is very much a part of who I am as a person. I expect I will probably being doing this as long as I can still drive, and then I guess I will have to ride with someone else! While I am not a formally schooled meteorologist, over the years I have continued to study severe weather and severe weather forecasting and have learned much. I often spend a lot of time in the winter brushing up on forecasting, and reading up on the latest thinking in severe weather research. I have to say, I could have accomplished none of this without the support of a few great friends in the storm chaser community. You know who you are; my hat is off to you.

In 2009 I joined up with Reed Timmer and the gang over at TornadoVideos.net. You might recognize them from the Discovery Channel series, "Storm Chasers". I was streaming my chases with live video through them. It was a great opportunity.

Currently, I'm still working with KCBD, working different ventures for Dryline Media, and still storm chasing when I get the chance!

Hopefully also in the near future, I have a couple of DVD projects planned I can get accomplished, and can't wait to be able to share that with my visitors here. Hopefully get much of my vast library of past storm footage online and old chase accounts. I'm also hoping to start doing a lot of other activities in life I have wanted to partake in, but were unable to due to my intense involvment in storm chasing.

I am available for interviews and public speaking engagements, just contact at the link on the top of this website.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my website. I hope you were able to take something useful to you away with you and found it a great source of information about storm chasing. Be sure to stop by frequently and see the latest storm chasing adventures!

Last Updated on Monday, 03 October 2011 20:48