Oz Cyclone Chasers are a team or tropical cyclone enthusiasts that decided to make a serious effort to study and document tropical cyclones. The business began in 2011 in what was a memorable season with a massive cyclone called Yasi impacting the Queensland coastline in February. The team has grown both in number and in popularity globally with video footage that we have shot being used by local, national and international media and data we have captured being used by the BoM and numerous overseas organisations. Our team boasts a relationship with the JCU cyclone testing station as well.
CHRIS NITSOPOULOS - NITSO
Chris was born in Northern Greece and came to Australia as a young boy. He initially lived in Sydney and in 1988 was amazed by a very intense hail storm that smashed his house. This hailstorm had torn off the roof, blown out the windows of his house and left his family in complete shock, all with almost no warning. Since that day, Chris Nitsopoulos (Nitso) has been passionate about studying the weather and learning about what makes thunderstorms tick in order to better understand and forecast them. Upon completing his high school education in Townsville, he went on to James Cook University to begin a degree in Meteorology. He got very close to completing the degree but chose to go down a different path due to lack of job prospects and completed a degree in Secondary School education majoring in Geography, minoring in Mathematics and Physics. Nitso successfully taught Geography, Science, Mathematics and Physical Education for 5 years before dropping his full-time teaching load to pursue a small business goal which could give him a lot more time off and help fund his storm chasing.
Even though Chris never completed his Meteorology degree, his passion for studying the weather and in particular severe weather systems has never diminished. During the dry season, you would normally see Chris spending much of his spare time burying his head in old meteorology books or online researching meteorological studies from around the world. Chris enjoys and learns from every storm chase regardless of its success/failure, in fact Chris believes that in storm chasing you learn more from a failed chase or a failed forecast because it drives you to learn why you got it wrong and to strive to get it right next time. Chris is a registered storm spotter with the Bureau of Meteorology, he is a trained first aid officer and a qualified gym instructor. Chris also enjoys refereeing Rugby Union in the Winter months and says that he would go crazy with boredom and weigh 200kg if he didn’t have a hobby like refereeing to keep him fit and busy in the months between April and October.
Chris is in charge of all of our subscriber services at OCC and runs the OCC business.
MICK KEELEY - NTMICK
From as far back as I can remember I had an interest in what was happening with the weather and the older I got the more interest I developed. Then in the mid 80’s I decided to moved from Perth to Darwin and found a whole new world of dynamic weather to inspire me. Nothing could have done this more to further inspire my interest. than when in the early 2000’s a microburst hit my home and surrounding areas. this caused me to look into the science of what caused this to happen.
From that day on I’ve been involved in weather forums, learning more and more about how this all works. this, combined with the photography interest that I’d had since my teenage years, went hand in hand with my storm chasing fascination.
Then back in about 2012, Trevor and I joined up with Trav and Nitso to become Oz Cyclone Chasers.
TRAVIS ROBERTSON - TRAV
Travis gained an early interest in weather at a young age, and has always been fascinated by Science including Weather, Astronomy and Geography. However, during his first Tropical Cyclone ( TC Tessie Cat 2 Townsville ) he never thought that, during the howling gale force winds, that this night would lead to his fascination that he has today. Now Travis works full time as a Land Rover, Volvo, Jaguar and Holden Mechanic at a Local Dealer in Townsville. His spare time during winter is usually spent playing Hockey on Weekends and spending time with his mates like any other young person in their early 20s. His other interests include Cricket, Rugby League, Photography, Fishing and Camping.
Travis has now got a reasonable tally of Tropical Cyclone Intercepts, which have all been Associated with Oz Cyclone Chasers. It currently stands as –
Tropical Cyclone Ului ( Cat 3 )
Tropical Cyclone Anthony ( Cat 2 )
Tropical Cyclone Yasi ( Cat 5 )
Tropical Cyclone Lua ( Category 4 )
Tropical Cyclone Dylan ( Category 2 )
Tropical Cyclone Ita ( Category 4 )
Tropical Cyclone Marcia (C3)
Tropical Cyclone Debbie (C4)
During A Tropical Cyclone Intercept, Travis is usually doing many things, however these duties change on each individual chase. His main duties are
Updating Social Media During Busy Times
Keeping Vehicles Mechanically Sound
Shooting Footage and Editing Footage
Travis loves the fact that the OCC bond between members is very tight, and hope this can continue in the future, and that through better coverage of these natural disasters that the public is made well aware of the dangers that Tropical Cyclones possess.
TREVOR ACTON - WAL
Trevor Acton was born and grew up in Wollongong on the south coast NSW. Trevor started surfing at a young age and he soon become interested in the weather.Trevor moved to the Pilbra for work in the late 70's where he had his first contact with Tropical Cyclones. In 1981 Trevor moved back to Wollongong where he met and married his wife of now 33 years. In 1988 Trevor, his wife and young family moved to Darwin NT where he found a new love for weather, severe storms, storm chasing, weather photography and Tropical Cyclones.Between 2003 - 2013 Trevor worked as a Systems Engineer/Safety Manager on the Darwin to Tarcoola Railway where part of his duties was to warn Trains and Workers to possible inclement weather,flooding and Tropical Cyclones. During this period Trevor became involved in weather forums in Darwin and accross the globe and later became a founding member of OCC.
OUR SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM
While the founding members may have started OCC, its success in getting the weather message out there is attributed to our social media team. They work tirelessly on our Facebook page in particular to bring the latest and best severe and significant weather information to the public. This work really comes to the forefront during times of Tropical Cyclone impacts.
Our social media team consists of:
Queensland - Dylan Campbell (social media coordinator), Guy Millar, Belinda McMahon, Cameron Hines, Michael Drogemuller
NT - Daryl Lehman, James Pickett
WA - Steve Brooks, Theresa Russel-Smith,
OUR TECHNICAL BRAINS CREW
OCC provides a fantastic and enhanced subscriber experience for those folks generous enough to support our work. The brains behind the computer modelling video analysis and forecasting and radar/satellite data crunching is all down to our brains crew. The crew consists of:
Shane Ekerbicer - Shane is in charge of our website, and the back end operation of all of our subscriber needs/pages. He is the go-to resource person for subscribers who are having any technical issues. Shane also manages and runs our OCC Weather Centre making sure our radar, satellite, mapping and our servers are running effectively.
Mike Manning - Mike is our models guru. He gets the OCC Weather Centre computer models working effectively and efficiently. He does all the coding necessary to get the models working and get them up to display in a user friendly format on the Weather Centre.
Chris Nitso - Nitso runs all of the video forecast updates and produces 100's of weather and cyclone forecast videos a year for subscribers with many of these accompanied by text.