About

Me hiking at Glacier National Park in 2014

Contact

You can find my email address at the very bottom of this page.

Bio

I'm James Hammett, a Systems Engineer in Denver, Colorado. I've always been fascinated by storms and tornadoes and began chasing them in 1999. In 2004 I purchased my first video camera and captured a tornado on video later the same day. I've been hooked ever since and have been out on the Great Plains each spring in search of the most incredible severe weather to witness, record, and report.

I've taken a course in weather forecasting from Iowa State University but otherwise have had no formal meteorology training. Much of what I know about meteorology and chasing I've learned from meteorologists, other storm chasers, and lots of trial and error out in the field. I've attended spotter trainings and report severe weather to the National Weather Service when I'm out.

My chase vehicle is a 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX. Subaru's superior all-wheel drive system combined with all-terrain tires helps keep me moving when road conditions are less than ideal. I've chased in it from Montana to Texas and Colorado to Iowa and may stay on the chase for a few days at a time as the weather and life allows.

During the off season I spend time working on projects in support of storm chasing like video and photo editing, website updates, and chase vehicle upgrades. I also engineer software and electronics that will help me make better forecasts, make better chase execution decisions, and get better photos and videos. Read more about my chase vehicle and the technology I use»

Why chase tornadoes?

Much has been written over the years about the various reasons chasers chase. In 1982 legendary storm chaser and Storm Track magazine founder David Hoadley weighed in and his reasons resonate with my own. A lot has since changed about storm chasing but the core experience described here remains the same.

Why chase tornadoes? This is a question frequently asked of chasers. It is not something that can be answered while waiting for the elevator or in small conversation at a cocktail party. It touches many levels and requires a measured response to fully answer. If my experience is characteristic of most chasers, there are at least five levels at which we relate to the big storm.

First is the sheer, raw experience of confronting an elemental force of nature, uncontrolled and unpredictable, which is at once awesome, magnificent, dangerous and picturesque. Few life experiences can compare with the anticipation of a chaser while standing in the path of a big storm, in the gusty inflow of warm, moist gulf wind, sweeping up into a lowering, darkening cloud base, grumbling with thunder as a great engine begins to turn.

Read more at Stormtrack: WHY CHASE TORNADOES?

Interested in storm chasing?

Here are some educational links to get you started:

 
 
 

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Chase Stats

2004-05-24 - 2017-06-12
Chases:
Busts*:
Tornadoes:
Severe Hail:
Severe Wind:
Active Hours*:
Miles:
99
35
35
7
6
817
41,205
see more stats

SPC Outlook

spc outlook day 1
spc outlook day 2
spc outlook day 3
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Aurora Monitor

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© 2017 James Hammett. No part of this website may be reproduced, published, translated, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit written permission. This site is for educational use only. Do not attempt storm chasing. Property damage, personal injury, and death can result from the hazards of storm chasing. StormDig cannot be held liable for any damages that result from the use of this website. By using this website you agree to assume all risk and responsibility for its use and the use of any of the information derived.