I started on this Twitter road March 23, 2009. It started small and was used to post occasionally. Then, July 5, 2010, I heard this voice in my head that said to share my love of weather with the rest of the world. And that’s when my persona, OKCStormWatcher, was born.
Before we get into the details of that journey, my love for weather started as a young 10 year old visiting Longway Planetarium in Flint, Michigan as part of a 4th grade class trip. It was there I saw a presentation on the world of weather and thus jump started my love of weather.
I shouldn’t tell you that as a 5 year old that in July 1979, I saw my first tornado. A F1 that took out a neighbor’s barn too.
As I grew up in my teen years, I became a storm watcher for WDIV in Detroit, Michigan. I provided weather reports from an area that saw a very few people who would report weather. It was while I was in college in 1996, I became a storm spotter for the National Weather Service out of Pontiac, Michigan. I chased my first storm with my sister later that year. I would be a spotter out of Sandusky, Michigan for 4 years before moving to Oklahoma in 2000 to be with the love of my life and wife of now almost 13 years, Sherri.
I would chase with my stepson in 2002 as funnels would threaten my house in Guthrie, Oklahoma. We have shared a few chases since then as recently as May of 2012.
That kind of gives you my back story. But in July 2010, with just 30 followers, I launched OKCStormWatcher to the twitter world. As time continued, I would hit my 1000th follower in November of 2010 and my 5000th follower in June of 2012. In November, 2012 I would eclipse the 6,000th follower mark and as of the time of my twitter suspension on February 22, 2013 would have 6,610 followers with a total tweet number of almost 305,000.
But then, I digress. I would have built my following with the love and support of my followers and through word of mouth. I would go on to have more than 100 TV stations nationwide and the CBC in Canada having meteorologists following me.
For those of you who have been with me since the early days, you have been there for a lot. The birth of my youngest grandson, Emmett, in January 2011. A lot of you stood by my side when my wife nearly died in April 2011.
My first real outbreaks on Twitter came May 10, 19, and 24, 2011. A lot of you would spread my words over the Twitter universe, undoubted saving countless lives here in Oklahoma. Even when I was threatened by the May 24, 2011 outbreak here in central Oklahoma, you guys wondered if I was ok. I was thankful for you then.
On May 29, 2012, when another tornado and a massive hailstorm would threaten me, even though I was at work, my words became your words. You guys helped me through the aftermath as I would personally suffer windshield damage from grapefruit sized hail.
As recently as just a couple weeks ago, you helped retweet my words. Saving lives in Arkansas and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, you guys were there. An outbreak earlier this month, people in media outlets in Little Rock, Arkansas would use my words to tell viewers to get out of harm’s way.
We have been through a lot, peeps. There are countless times I had each and every one of you as therapists when I went through the trials of my personal life, even an unplanned move in May 2012, a custody battle for 3 of my grandchildren. You were there for me.
Then, on Friday, February 22nd, 2013, at approximately 12:25 pm CST, I would tweet for the last time. Shortly thereafter, at about 12:50 pm CST on that February day, while out of town in Enid, OK on a work assignment, Twitter would silence the StormWatcher. Suspending my Twitter for reasons unknown to me at this time.
My life’s work, my passion, my love gone just like that. I urge you, let Twitter know how you feel. I have moved my Twitter to a backup account, StormAlertsOK, for the time being. Please tell Twitter how you feel. I have heard from a lot of you. Numerous times in the last 4 years, we have saved lives together. It’s not a me thing, it’s an us thing. Let them know!