The thrill of the chase: student pursues future passion

McKenna Waddill

Macky Dailey, Co-Sports Editor

Before a crack of thunder, a gust of wind, or even a drop of rain, senior Chris Barrows is on the look out. He is an aspiring meteorologist.

When Barrows was 6 years old, his passion for weather was sparked. His dad took a meteorology class in high school and taught Barrows about it; but his true love for this field started snowballing when he witnessed a storm first hand.

“I saw my first tornado in Fort Worth and that’s what accelerated my passion for it,” Barrows said.

Now-a-days Barrows studies weather every day and he watches it periodically throughout the day through windows, on the computer, or on his iPad mini.

“He’s always talking about weather,” junior, Tyler Vaughn said.

Barrows uses social media to chat with fellow meteorologists. He made friends with Cody Howard from Arlington, and Stacy Gifford, of Brownwood, on Facebook. He met them in person, Feb. 14, 2012, on the way to a storm-chasing convention in Denver, Colorado. Now, they chase together.

“We go storm chasing whenever we can,” he said.

Barrows learns weather from observation, weather festivals, conventions, his dad who is his inspiration, and friends. He doesn’t walk away from a storm with just knowledge; he walks away with virtues that will last a lifetime.

“I’ve learned to keep patience because if you know that the storm is going to produce a tornado, it’s worth the wait,” Barrows said.

A perfect day to Barrows is stormy with hail and high winds surpassing 60 miles per hour along with the potential for tornadoes.

“The risk of a tornado is what puts the icing on the cake for me,” he said.

Even though he enjoys the thrill of the chase and bad weather, his favorite part of this field is watching the clouds.

“If you look at the clouds closely on days that you have very fast vertical motion, you can see them tower,” Barrows said. “Just watching the energy in a cloud explode into a single thunderstorm is amazing.”

After high school Barrows plans to cover his basics at Weatherford and then transfer to the University of Oklahoma. He wants to join the Students of Meteorology Program and get his bachelors degree over the next six to eight years.

“After I finish getting my bachelors degree I want to become a meteorologist in Memphis with my cousin,” Barrows said. “He is a meteorologist at WMC (We’re Memphis Commercial).”

This story is an excerpt from our most recent print edition. To view more stories, click here.

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