On his belief in superstition and lucky charms
I am not superstitious at all. There’s nothing I use for luck, although there are some funny traditions we’ve built up over the years. For example, when I’m with the crew that chase hurricanes, we have a tradition that if we’re in the eye of a hurricane, we’re going to eat a chicken stir fry. But I’m not a superstitious kind of guy.
On the worst thing about his career
The unpredictability, the inconsistency of it, especially when you’re trying to make a living. Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate, so there are times of feast and famine. Even with 25 years of experience, it’s hard and dangerous, and there’s a reason not many people make a living doing it. You have to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm, as they say. You can spend a tremendous amount of time and resources, and then nothing happens. The fact is [my career] is all nature-based, at the intersection of place and time. If you’re not in the right time and place, you get nothing to show for your efforts. And if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you end up dead. Touch wood. Doh, I just did something superstitious!
On if he has any regrets
Any event that I choose not to go to, or can’t get to for whatever reason, I regret. I’ve done a lot of trips and expeditions where the results were not fantastic, but I don’t regret those. It’s cliché, I know, but I regret the things I didn’t do. I was not at Hurricane Ian because of scheduling conflicts. I also missed the last big eruption in Iceland. I’m experiencing chest pains just thinking about it. And social media makes it worse because you see what other people are capturing, you see what you’re missing. I’m not impervious to envy and jealousy.
On what people should know about the weather
People always joke about how meteorologists get paid to be wrong most of the time, but they are right most of the time. Weather forecasting over the last 50 years has gotten so much better. Stop making fun of the meteorologists, they do know what they’re doing, they’re doing a good job, you’re just not paying attention. And when they say evacuate, don’t throw a hurricane party! People should also understand the difference between weather and climate, as they often confuse those two a lot. “Oh look, it’s snowing, global warming is fake!” No, you don’t know the difference between weather and climate! Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. People really mess that up a lot on both sides. I hate politicizing weather, but we have climate change deniers holding up snowballs and people saying a tornado was caused by climate change. It’s not that simple. It’s difficult to pin a single weather event on climate change.