Unpredictable twists on the job? It’s what Dry on the Fly® Pants were made for — they’re ready for any kind of dicey weather or soggy adventure you find yourself in. But we were still blown away to hear from professional storm chaser Mike Casey about how our pants hold up when he’s out hounding tornadoes.
If you live in the North Texas area and a supercell blows through, it may well be Mike you see reporting live with a funnel cloud spinning in the background. He and his partner Bill Ford have tailed twisters together since 2011, and each acquired more than a decade of experience before that. You won’t see Bill on the news, but his role is just as vital — he’s the steely nerves behind the wheel of the chase vehicle.
The awe and respect these men have for storms is evident when they tell their stories. They’ve driven through the tornadic center of a funnel, and were a single nerve-fraying mile away from the 2.6-mile-wide El Reno tornado. The widest tornado ever recorded anywhere. But if you thought they chased tornadoes for the thrills or for a news-making photograph, you’d be wrong. “Our calling is to help people,” Bill says. “Every action we take is to assist and warn the most people possible. Often we’re the first guys on the scene, and there’s so much aid work to be done.”
And the work they do outside of reporting is staggering. As the chase unit of Minuteman Disaster Response, a first responding and relief organization, Mike and Bill are on the scene as soon as the storm moves through — chainsawing through tree-blocked roads, aiding search parties and directing storm victims to safety. And when the weather is calm and there’s no twister to chase? Mike and Bill are educating emergency workers, many of whom have never witnessed a tornado, to better read the changing characteristics of a storm.
With all those wildly changing situations to work in, they need the gear to match. Says Mike, “We can go from 90 degrees to 58 degrees in less than 10 minutes. You’re hot and then you’re in rain and cold mud and debris. It goes from one extreme to another out there, and Dry on the Fly are the most reliable pants we’ve found for that!”
Tour Mike & Bill’s Chase Vehicle
Bill drives the storm chase vehicle while Mike navigates. They’ve been in the center of a tornado, debris, bridges that have been taken out and baseball-sized hail but the only time the vehicle’s been damaged has been in a parking lot. Take a tour of the storm chaser vehicle that’s ready for anything.
Headed into a real pants-wetter? Better get Dry on the Fly! Shop Men’s Dry on the Fly Pants, Shorts, Shirts and Vest.
Photos provided with permission by Wild Wonderment photographer Matthew J. Sanchez and Minuteman Disaster Response.