Meteorologist and storm chaser Simon Brewer of Moraine relishes opportunities to daringly explore Mother Nature at her most destructive.
In 2011, Brewer, a 1999 graduate of West Carrollton High School, notably co-hosted his own television show “Storm Riders” on the Weather Channel, which allowed him to traverse the country chasing tornadoes and recording extreme weather phenomena. In addition to ravaging tornadoes and hurricanes, he has recorded blizzards, hail, ice storms, floods, wild fires, dust storms and earthquakes.
Looking back on his upbringing in Moraine — which celebrates its 50th anniversary next weekend at Wax Park — Brewer said that he is grateful to have been supported by family and friends who understood his passion: “I was always interested and fascinated by weather,” he said. “I always enjoyed being out in the elements as a kid. Moraine is a great community full of working-class, blue-collar people.”
“I truly love being out in the field witnessing so many different weather events,” said Brewer, 34. “I love all of the earth sciences, but meteorology in particular. Weather changes on a relatively quick time scale as opposed to geology’s time scale which lasts for centuries or millions of years. Weather is a business that changes hour to hour on a daily basis. It’s quite a thrill, and I get to see it all.”
In 2008, Brewer received his bachelor’s of science in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma, but his storm chasing career began in the fall of 1999. Over the past 15 years he notably documented two of the widest tornadoes in recorded history: the 2.5-mile-wide Hallam, Neb., and 2.6 mild wide El Reno, Okla., tornadoes. He has also documented 15 tropical cyclones including Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.
“I feel weather is only damaging if it affects civilization,” he said. “Most weather events do not affect civilization, human lives or property. Most weather events actually occur out in the middle of nowhere. For instance, most floods target streams and rivers rather than people’s homes. Most tornadoes occur out in open fields where prairie dogs are perhaps the only victims. But every once in a while, particularly in 2011, tornadoes certainly affect heavily populated areas and devastate lives.”
In addition to “Storm Riders” reruns on the Weather Channel, Brewer’s footage can be seen on various media outlets including CNN, NBC and ABC. He has been particularly encouraged by a growing number of individuals who seem intent on becoming better educated on weather-related issues.
“It’s great that more people seem to be becoming increasingly aware of weather, the good and the bad,” he said. “It’s important to know what’s going on. Really large, devastating tornadoes that may occur in central Oklahoma may not happen as often in the Dayton area, but the Xenia tornado of 1974 was certainly as strong as the strongest tornadoes that have ever happened in Oklahoma, Alabama or North Dakota.”
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