I guess it actually started when I was nine or ten and read about the deadly F-5 tornado that struck Lubbock, Texas in a newspaper. I was always a boy interested in science; the kid who wanted to make a volcano and perform chemistry experiments at school.
My interest in weather and storms really went into the stratosphere four years later when an early morning March tornado badly damaged my home and neighborhood west of Atlanta. The infamous April 3, 1974 tornado "Superoutbreak" occurred two weeks later and I was hooked.
After that all I wanted to do was learn about weather and storms; learn what made tornadoes and hurricanes occur, how to predict them, and how to protect yourself and survive severe storms when they occurred.
I spent my spare time in area libraries, radio and tv stations, and the Atlanta National Weather Service office, pouring over weather data, storm surveys, reports, and research information; what I couldn't find locally, I ordered through the mail....hurricane reports from the National Hurricane Center, tornado statistics from the Severe Storm Forecast Center, research info from Dr Theodore Fujita. I called NHC long-distance to ask questions of hurricane forecasters in Miami.
I had a thirst for weather information that couldn't be quenched. When cable tv became available in our area in 1980, I had live weather data and radar 24 hours a day. I purchased all sorts of thermometers and weather gadgets, including a Tradewind anemometer in 1983. The Weather Channel began broadcasting at about the same time (and only 24 miles from my home); another source for learning about storms. I purchased my first Davis home weather station in 1996 (Weather Wizard III).
I chased my first hurricane in 1979, and saw my first tornado two years later. I decided to use what I'd learned to help save lives, so became a trained Skywarn spotter in 1982, and have continued trying to educate and save lives ever since (and will never stop). I feel an obligation to help others learn about hurricanes and severe weather in order to prepare and stay safe. A lifelong passion to learn and teach.....but that's how it all began.