Monday, September 16, 2013


No mater what anyone tells you, fear is a good thing.  It is your body preparing yourself both spiritually and mentally for the worst.  The key is not to let fear become panic.  The moment when you let fear defeat you is the moment you start to panic.  If you can establish what causes your fears, it can be a powerful ally.  Typically, fear is just not limited to a specific event, it runs deep within you and is fueled by many life experiences.  Heard the saying you have to love yourself before you love others?  The same can be said about fear.  First you have to get a grasp of the fears within your own life, embrace them, accept them, and then you can tackle the fear of any event.  The fears built up over a lifetime exceed any singular event.

So why bring this up?  My love in life is hurricanes.  I feel more peace in the eye of a hurricane than anywhere else on this Earth.  Crazy, probably, but it is me.  I live to chase hurricanes and this passion has been deep inside me ever since I was a child.  I have given a lot for this love, including walking away from other loves in my life that was not easy.  So why give up so much for something that does not happen that often?  In a weird way I think that is what gives it appeal.  It is rare and every time I am blessed to experience this incredible feeling, I never forget it.  It stays with me wherever I go, and it becomes a part of me.  It is me.

Ultimately, my goal in life is to chase a category-5 in a place like the Florida Keys.  Not just chase it, but take the full wrath of it, hopefully getting into the eye.  I am a student of weather history as I constantly try to study hurricanes every chance I get.  I want to understand what they are capable of, what they have done, so hopefully I am prepared.  You can never be fully prepared, but I want to be prepared enough to control my fear.  It is a constant learning process and I feel like it has not happened yet because I am still searching for answers not only to my own fears in life, but to the fears associated with chasing the elusive category-5. 

Every time I chase, every time I forecast, every time I teach, every time I scout the Florida Keys or interview a hurricane survivor, read a historical book, talk to my fellow peers, I am coming closer and closer to completing this process.  Think of it like training for the Olympics.  It can take a lifetime of preparation for one single day.  And when that day comes, you get one chance.  I want to know I did everything I could to maximize that chance.  I think everyone has a fear of failure deep inside, but for myself I tackle this fear everyday knowing I put my heart and soul into what I love.  I always search to do more, I always want to be better, I always know I’ll never achieve perfection, but I do know I am always trying my best.  That is something I can live with.

Know this…  Every time a major hurricane is approaching the US, I will be somewhere facing my fears head on.  Fears of both life and this obsession called hurricane chasing.  Do not be fooled, a tingling sensation of fear will surge through my body, only understood by the very few that have been there before.  Millions of thoughts will race through my head, but I refuse to let this fear become panic.  Why should I let fear defeat me?  In the end if I did die, it is my true love in life, which I know is worth dying for.  So I leave you with this advice and words of wisdom.  I do not have every answer, no one does, but I promise your fear is a good thing as long as you do not let it become panic.  Try to get a grasp of the fears you struggle with everyday to help yourself use it in a positive manner with whatever your love is.  Again, fear is preparing your mind for the worst.  The more you understand yourself and how fear affects you, the better you will be at controlling panic.

I will chase a category-5 hurricane someday.  I will have fear.  I will understand where these fears come from.  And I will not panic! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

1935 Labor Day Hurricane

78 years ago today, the strongest hurricane in recorded US history struck the Florida Keys. 185 mph sustained winds (gusts well over 200 mph), 15-20 foot storm surge, a 80mb pressure gradient over ~20 miles, obliterated Craig/Long/Lower-Upper Matecumbe Keys. Every time I'm in the Keys, I can't stop thinking about this storm, typically stopping at the monument and where the train derailed. The more I study this hurricane, the harder it is to comprehend the true power behind it. Being able to interview three survivors of this historic storm were some of the best days of my life so far. Truly an honor!