12 February 2012

Chaser Profiles: Brandon Copic


1) What is your name and where do you live?

I'm Brandon Copic and I live in the #8 most miserable city in the country...Toledo, Ohio

2) Do you have a website or a brand name that people identify you as?

www.toledotornadotrackers.webs.com just a small site that was put together

3) What got you interested in weather?

I'm going to sound like Reed here, but as a child I was terrified of storms, and it basically turned into an intense curiosity about weather, especially Severe Wx.

4) What is your favorite aspect of weather?

Severe Weather that isn't doing damage anywhere to anything. 

5) When did you first start chasing?

My First "Official" Chase you could say was on May 7th, 2010 Chasing HP Supercells across Northwestern Ohio, using my visual skills. 

6) What do you see chasing as... a hobby or a business?

More of a hobby I guess you could say, I am with KDR Media, so any money made from video sure helps a lot, but I don't expect it when I go chase.

7) Who do you credit for getting you into chasing and what have they done to further your career?

There are three main people. First off, Norm Van Ness, the Chief Meteorologist at NBC 24 WNWO-TV here in Toledo, ever since 7th grade I talked to him on a daily basis and he has taught me everything that I needed to know about severe weather and chasing, I made sure to know what I was doing before I started chasing. Second, Matt Hughes and Brandon Ivey they were inspirational to me as chasers (the old fashioned way) and their passion was amazing for it, I have lately become very close with Brandon and also Matt's family after his passing, I definitely consider them family now. 

8)  Do you have any chase partners?

I chase with my driver, Ryan Beach, and a fellow forecaster and amazing Navigator, Brett Kreais. We chase occasionally with James Gustina, and a new addition to the team for the 2012 season, Robert Forry. 

9) What is your most successful chase?

My most successful chase would have to be on July 27th, 2011 we headed out to Dyersville, IA and watched a storm blow up right on top of us, and caught 3 Tornadoes while chasing that storm through Illinois. 

10) What is your most terrifying moment?

Most terrifying moment was likely a chase in late June of this year in Central Ohio when unknown to us a tornado started to drop right next to our vehicle.

11) About how many tornadoes have you seen?

My total is only 6. In 2010 I didn't see one single one and in 2011 I have seen 6, but I mean if you want to go the "Pics or it didn't happen" like most of the chaser community, I only have 1 confirmed picture, the others I either got it unexpectidly or I was talking with EMS Personnel or 911 Operators. Sorry, I'm no Brandon Sullivan...yet!

12) What do you think about people who chase for sales and the need to get up close and personal with Mother Nature?

Chase as you wish....I just hate hearing the BS of people saying they chase to save lives....admittingly I used to say that too, but I don't go out there everyday like, I'm going to chase to call in reports to the NWS! I mean yes I call in reports, but that's not why I chase, I chase for the love and amazement of the power of Nature. If you chase and get paid for it, good on ya! I wish I could do that more to fund my chasing!

13) Describe your dream chase.

Simple enough, I would probably love to just see a beautiful tornado in the middle of nowhere South Dakota (basically everywhere SD) with beautiful structure, amazing striations and a crisp updraft, mammatus would be nice too  but it wouldn't be a dream chase without my chase partners Brett, and Ryan, I can't imagine chasing without them.

14) What is your favorite set up to chase?

I prefer just a nice day with Supercells in an open area, and moving slowly. Unlike most chasers I can deal with the 60MPH moving storms...I'm from Ohio...a favorite set up to chase is chasing anything that will produce a good tornado that's not a QLCS! 

15) Which state has brought you the most success? Least success?

Illinois has brought us the most success gave us 3 tornadoes in 2011, the least success would probably be in Indiana...I've busted there twice, not always by my forecasting, but when you work chase as a team, you take the fall as a team. 

16) Do you want to pursue a career in meteorology? Would you ever chase locally for a t.v station?

I honesty don't see myself pursuing a career in meteorology, I am planning to become a Law Enforcement Officer, and hopefully that as an Oklahoma Highway Patrolman. Would I chase locally for a TV Station? Of course, I give NBC 24 (WNWO) here in Toledo free live streaming and stock footage because their Chief Meteorologist talked to me everyday year after year to teach me all I know, I feel like I owe them.

17) What do you see chasing as being like in 5-10 years?

Hopefully chasing is a little less popular, not as much hype with "Storm Chasers" being cancelled, granted it was a great show (outside of the drama) it turned kids into chasers and people that have no idea what they're doing into chasers, and that's just dangerous, and chasing is dangerous as it is. I was not influenced by the show, I had no idea chasing existed until Norm told me oh yeah people chase these things and I was like, that's legal?!?!

18) Despite all the deaths and destruction in 2011, are you looking forward to chasing in 2012 knowing you can run into a Tuscaloosa or Joplin?

I am very much looking forward to Chase Season 2012, I know I could run into a Tuscaloosa or Joplin this season, but I have taken the actions I feel needed to be prepared...I am trained in First Aid and in First Responder work (in some states I would be a qualified EMT) all given to me through my Criminal Science classes at Whitmer High School. Honestly if you can't deal with the destruction, you're not fit to chase, plain and simple. 

19) Is there any point in time where you had no desire to chase anymore? What caused that and what gave you the power to move on.

Chasing is my life quite frankly, I've never not wanted to chase, I will chase anything that I can with the money that I can make...I am 17 and unemployed but we still managed to put 15,000 miles on the chase vehicle last season.

20) How long do you plan on continuing chasing?

I will chase until the day I die...no doubt, you will find me out there at 90 years old wearing my depends and seeing a tornado, crapping my pants and enjoying myself while holding my prune juice. 

21) Outside of chasing, what do you like to do?

I LOVE to be outdoors! I love to ride my bike around, or just walk around in general, I enjoy all the time I have outdoors. I am not a hiker or anything like that, but I might work myself into it.

22) What kind of music do you like to listen to on the chase or in general?

Usually once the chase starts, we turn off the music to concentrate on the storm, navigating, etc. but usually we'll listen to country, hip-hop, R&B, and of course some Rock and Heavy Metal! I am a Christian myself, and I love the music...but nobody in the car likes the music so I listen to it when they are sleeping so I don't have people needing a waaaaaaambulance

23) What is your favorite professional and college sports team?

Miami Dolphins ever since I was a child....and lately Oklahoma....obviously!

24) Do you have a family or pets?

I have 7 cats at home and 1 dog looking to get another pup. I am both a cat and dog person, but I am closer to my dog, Nellie, she's 10 years old now and she's been my best friend since I was a kid. I have family too, don't always get along with them but my sister Tabby is awesome and let's me use her laptop for chasing, I have 2 Nephews with 2 More nephews on the way, along with 1 niece and 1 niece that's in Heaven. I love my parents because they allow me to chase my heart out, and I honestly couldn't live without my grandparents! 

25) Tell me 3 things that someone outside of chasing may not know you for.

I'm an avid Videographer and Photographer, but that could go either way, I am a God loving Christian, and I love working security, I was a Toledo Police Explorer but I stopped so I could chase all the time. 

26) If you have kids or plan on having them... would you like to involve them in your chasing?

I'd love to have my kids see what I do, I'd likely take them on a few chases, but I won't force it down their throat, I will let them do what they are passionate most about. 

27) Do you have a job and what do you do?

No set job myself, I usually just do some landscaping or something like that to help get some money to chase, then chase my heart out!

28) How do you feel about people who say they chase tornadoes for the sole purpose of saving lives?

Total BS no doubt...nobody goes out to report back to the NWS, you don't just go out and say I'm chasing this storm today so I can report this storm to the National Weather Service and save lives....like I said before I used to claim I did that, but it's not the truth, I chase because I love the power of nature and I love experiencing it all!

29) If there was one event in history that you wish you were around for to chase, what would it be?

One event I would have loved to have chased was the Palm Sunday Tornadoes up around here, but at that time not even my parents were born!

30) Do you only chase severe weather or do you chase hurricanes and winter weather as well?

I love chasing all extremes of weather, that's the key though, extremes! You won't catch me driving 300 miles to drive in light snow or a Tropical Storm I want to experience the most powerful of it! Hurricanes and Winter Weather I do chase.

31) Do you go to a college or university, if so, what do you major in?

I do not go to College at the moment, but when I do go next year I plan to Major in Criminal Justice.

32) What do you expect in 2012?

I'm hoping for the best season yet, it's been quite a mild winter, and tornado season has sort have started, sadly destroying lives and property already, but I hope this year isn't destructive just a year of beautiful tornadoes out in the middle of nowhere. 

Overall I can't wait for Chase Season 2012, I love chasing to see tornadoes, and severe weather in general, I'm not a Tornado Chaser...I'm a Storm Chaser! I will have EMT and First Aid training for 2012 and have a large bag full of supplies just in case we do have a tornado hit somewhere, and we are first responders. I just wanted to say I may be 17, I'll be 18 by the start of Chase Season, but I should never be doubted because I don't have a degree. I have proven multiple times to out do people who thought they were better because they have a degree, honestly in Chasing....it's just a piece of paper. There is a difference between book knowledge and chasing experiences. Also, I'm a fun loving guy and if anytime anyone needs help they can feel free to contact me to come along chasing or anything like that, our team is making sure to have Tow Straps in our vehicle this season so if we see anyone stuck in a ditch or mud, we'll be there to help out. Chasers have to look after each other...we might not like each other at times but I'd rather kill my enemy with kindess as opposed to feeding them with anger. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone out there this season and NEVER STOP CHASING! Keep it up! Can't wait to see everyone out in the field! (Not literally speaking, farmers don't tend to enjoy it  Also, never fall asleep in my chase vehicle...pictures will be taken, and the stream camera will be turned on you and skittles will be thrown! One final remark, this "Whacker" is planning on getting a lightbar this season...let the controvesy begin! 

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