Local storm chaser describes the thrilling hobby that also serves the public

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The months of April, May and June are considered the heart of severe weather season across the Bistate area.  So far, the weather has been pretty quiet which gave Fox 2 Meteorologist Chris Higgins some time to talk with local storm chaser Tom Stolze.

Stolze, of O’Fallon, Missouri, discusses how he became interested in chasing, his best and worst chases, favorite chaser food and the one thing that scares him the most about chasing – his answer may surprise you.  

Tom Stolze of St. Charles County has been watching storms since he was a kid. As an adult he turned that passing curiosity into a full-blown hobby. He researched chasers on the internet, watched them on TV, and eventually attend the National Weather Service’s storm spotter class.

Then in June 2009 he hit the road for his first chase.

“My oldest son and I headed out to Kansas and saw our first supercell. I’ve been hooked ever since,” said Stolze.

Since 2009, Stolze has continued to hone his skills as a chaser. He has captured some amazing pictures over the thousands of miles he’s driven. There’s no doubt he does it to feed a fascination but also to serve the public.

In June of 2015, Stolze’s report from the ground confirmed to me while I was on-air that a dangerous storm in Pike County was getting ready to produce a tornado.

“I look in my rearview mirror and there is a rotating wall cloud in my rearview mirror,” said Stolze.

Moments later, the storm did produce a tornado near Eolia, then again near St. Peters. So far, severe weather has been limited in this part of the country. When it finally does get active, Stolze isn’t sure just how much chasing he’s going to do.

“I’m second-guessing whether I’m even going to get out this year with everything going on,” said Stolze.

You can learn more about Tom’s and his work at https://www.ofallonweather.org/

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