17 February 2012

Chaser Profiles: Charles Russell


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

Charles Russell - Greenville, MI

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

Charlesimages-Stormedia - http://www.stormedia.info/

3) What got you interested in weather?

When I was 4 years old. I remember sitting on the floor in front of the tv with paper and crayons copying weather maps, while watching Meteorologist Craig James present the weather forecast on WOOD TV 8 in Grand Rapids, MI.

4) What is your favorite aspect of weather?

It's variables, from bright sunny days, to snowstorms, to severe thunderstorms. I love it all. 

5) When did you first start chasing?

Officially, 2006. But I would "porch chase" before that.

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


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

I came up with the idea of wanting to chase on my own, but my late Father was always into weather, he and I would watch storms together and marvel over them. He'd relay severe reports on his travels to and from work also. I partner up with friends every once in a while, but mainly prefer to chase solo.

9) What was your most successful chase?

I may sound like a noob here, but the Derecho that occurred on July 11, 2011 in Grand Rapids, MI. Something about those 90+mph winds that I just love. Reminds me of the 1998 Southern Great Lakes Derecho, which I was smack in the middle of.

10) What was your most terrifying moment?

I don't get scared or worried while out chasing. I respect the storms for their power, but have never had a scary moment. 

11) About how many tornadoes have you seen?

2 in my lifetime, but both times I didn't have a camera, I was just a kid. 

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

I think they have a passion, and if they can make money doing it, great. I personally enjoy making money with it, money = more chasing.

13) Describe your dream chase.

Catching a mothership supercell from the first cumulus clouds, taking a time lapse of it developing/maturing, then having it drop a beautiful tornado in a field somewhere about 300yds from me. Then core punching the HP remnants with large hail, follow that up with a beautiful sunset with other cells in the background and a double rainbow and loads of color and it's a win. 

14) What is your favorite set up to chase?

Discrete, slow moving cells. Whether they be supercells or not.

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

Michigan, I live here, and have been able to experience so many weather extremes. 

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

I could never pass the math courses involved. I'd chase for a tv station, sure. I had FOX follow me on may 31, 2011 for a news story on myself and storm chasing, I would do it again. 

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

The way it's going, I wouldn't be surprised if eventually becomes a national sport. People love nature, and most are too afraid to get up close and personal with it. I feel that sponsors should take a better look at chasing, where it's headed, and make some investments. There are lots of folks who go out for the thrill, but if you toss business into the mix, things could get somewhere. It's proven fact. 

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?


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.

A couple of times. Once while facing a foreclosure, and another when nearly left to die in the streets. But I love chasing too much to just give up.

20) How long do you plan on continuing chasing?

Until the day I die.

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

I like fishing, hiking, photography, watching NASCAR races and NFL games. I'm a pretty simple guy. 

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

Metal of course! Metallica, Lamb of God, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Slipknot, and loads more. I will chase with rock too though.

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

Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) and I don't watch much college football, but I like UofM and OSU.

24) Do you have a family or pets?

Yes, my Mom, Sister, and 2 cats.

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

I like pop, rap, and hip hop music, and will listen to the likes of Britney Spears and Ke$ha often. My appearence is only half of what I'm about. I am a straight male, who is only interested in females (the way people joke, I had to toss that in there) LOL

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

I will never have children, but I try to help fuel the fire that burns in other children in regards to chasing, and educate them in any way I can.

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

Legally? I'm classified as Unemployed, but I make money where and when I can, doing what I can. 

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

That's great if you do, but if you don't, then just be honest, the world works better with honesty.

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

April 1956 Hudsonville-Standale tornado.

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

I chase anything, even strong rain showers. I love it all. I will drive somewhere just to get time lapse footage of cumulus clouds. Hurricanes are on the bucket list. I've chased plenty of winter weather. 

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

I go to the College of Life, I major in Living.

32) What do you expect in 2012?

I expect an above average severe weather season as a result of the La Nina pattern and the long term effects of it. This year is "Andy's Year" and myself, along with many others are dedicating our chase season to Andy Gabrielson's memory. 

I’m a Storm Chaser. Not many people can legitimately say that, considering the population of the world exceeds 6 billion. I am proud to be a storm chaser, and as a storm chaser, it is my duty to spot, report, inform, collect data, record media, and use it all to educate others, provide entertainment, and hopefully, save lives and property in the process.

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