This is my Chaser Story

California to Arkansas via Alaska

Michael Hook

I am a native of San Jose, California. A place where the weather is pretty boring unless you like sunshine and mild temperatures. I've lived in California, Alaska, and Arkansas and have observed many types of extreme weather, ranging from sub-zero temperatures to blizzards, hurricanes, floods, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. I've also experienced several earthquakes.

While living in Alaska I endured temperatures as low as -61 degrees F and snowfall of 50" in 48 hours. My passion is storm chasing but I'm a weather enthusiast as well. Although I am not a meteorologist, I've spent years studying the atmosphere and though my time living in Arkansas I've gained valuable knowledge on our states weather patterns and use that knowledge to build my daily weather forecasts.

The lowest actual air temperature I've experienced was -61 degrees while living in Delta Junction Alaska in 1976.

Some of my accomplishments include having a successful weather segment on the number 1 rated morning show in Little Rock radio for 16 years, storm chasing for ABC TV affiliate KATV channel 7 also in Little Rock, being named one of the most reliable weather sources on social media by two Arkansas magazines. I've also had a couple of articles written about my storm chasing adventures and had some of my work shown on CNN and Good Morning America.

When severe weather threatens, If I'm not out in it, I spend my time sending out the most up-to-date weather information via social media in an effort to enhance the early warning network of the National Weather Service.

My main chase area is Arkansas in addition to the surrounding states. I've also gone as far as Florida to the east and Colorado, Nebraska and Wisconsin to the north and west.

My total tornado count is 38 as of 12/31/2020. The most I've seen in one day is 4 in May of 2017 while chasing northern Oklahoma.

MY TOP THREE WEATHER EVENTS

  • Chasing extreme weather is one of my favorite things to do. Whether it's hunting severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, or trying to get into the heaviest snow band I can find, I try to get out and experience the amazing weather we have in Arkansas and the United States. My top chase experience has to be the El Reno Oklahoma tornado event on May 30, 2013. Although I didn't see the El Reno tornado directly, I did experience the parent supercell and an additional EF-2 tornado near Mustang Oklahoma including a 108 mph wind gust as that tornado moved near me.
  • My second favorite extreme weather event was on May 18, 2017 when I was lucky enough to observe 4 tornadoes and one funnel cloud in Oklahoma. A couple of long tracked supercells produced the tornadoes as they moved NE across the north-central part of that state. This ranks as the most tornadoes I've seen in one day and ties a 4-tornado event in Kansas which produced and an EF-2 and I saw the birth of what would become an EF-4 tornado along with a storm that produced two tornadoes and eventually an EF-3 tornado near Wichita Kansas.
    • My third favorite chase day is actually a tie between the super outbreak in Arkansas on January 21, 1999 when 56 tornadoes were produced setting the record for most tornadoes in one day in Arkansas and the April 27, 2014 Western Pulaski County/Mayflower/Vilonia tornado. During the January 21st outbreak I witnessed a funnel cloud near Maumelle and also saw the EF-3 tornado move through the eastern portions of Little Rock that evening. During the April 27th event, I was positioned about 2 miles north of Mayflower traveling south on Interstate 40 but trees along the interstate did not allow me to see the full funnel. I did clock 50+ mph winds at my location with trees falling just to my south. I moved in quickly to Mayflower with my chase partners and we ended the chase and started to help in any way we could.