How a passion to keep people safe drives FOX Weather Storm Tracker Brandon Copic

Over the years, Copic has utilized the power of visuals to educate people about both the majesty and horror of some of the country’s greatest storms.

Storm chasing is not for the faint of heart. Tornadoes can hurl homes off of their foundations, hurricanes can decimate neighborhoods under seawater and winter storms can bury cities in several feet of snow.

While many people buckle down and hope to avoid the fury of these weather events, FOX Weather Storm Tracker Brandon Copic heads toward the danger with a goal far greater than himself or the storms he chases.

"I'm passionate about helping people and keeping people safe," he said. "I just go out there and chase and do my best to be the best neighbor I can be."

Copic’s journey as a storm chaser is years in the making and, like some of the storms he sees, has included a number of twists and turns.

Revving up

His fascination with the weather began in Ohio, as a child who was terrified of storms. However, this fear morphed into an intense curiosity about the storms.

He started studying meteorology at the age of 12 and even had a local meteorologist become a mentor in his pursuit of understanding the weather. Through this education, Copic was able to overcome his fears.

With his college years approaching, he considered going to school for meteorology. He instead pivoted to a field geared toward serving his community as a law enforcement officer, but his life took another turn as tragedy struck.

As he was preparing to join the force, Copic lost his father.

"That made it a liability for me to really handle firearms after such a traumatic experience in my life," he said.

Looking back, Copic sees how such a loss became a major influence on the direction his life would take.

"It's unfortunate the way things happened, but if I would have went to become a meteorologist or even went into law enforcement, I wouldn't be doing what I'm truly passionate about right now," he said.

For the love of the chase

Despite his life experiencing twists and turns, Copic found a way to combine his fascination with weather science and his desire to serve his community.

He recalls how he became passionate about chasing after receiving one particular piece of advice in 2011. The advice came from a meteorologist, who noted the power and influence of showing people a tornado.

"If somebody's in that area and sees there is one on the ground, they're more likely to react than getting a tornado warning," he said.

Over the years, Copic has utilized the power of visuals to educate people about both the majesty and horror of some of the country’s greatest storms.

One of the more recent storms was the winter storm that struck New York this month. As civilians were asked to stay home, Copic made his way through the slippery, snow-laden roads to capture images of the wintry devastation.


Along the way, however, he met someone who needed a snowblower. During a phone interview with FOX Weather, Copic went to Home Depot to purchase the snowblower for the person.

While chasing another winter storm, Copic assisted an elderly couple in Iowa who had blown a tire during a blizzard. He removed the flat tire for them, drove to a nearby tire store and purchased a tire for the couple.


Copic noted how the purchase was made possible by his followers on social media, who crowdfunded the cost to purchase the new tire.

"I try and do that as much as I can to help people," he said. "I grew up in a poor family where the money you could need for a tire means you can’t eat the rest of the week. So, you know, I always do my best to try and help people in that aspect."

Storm chasing with heart

For Copic, serving his community is rooted in something that helped shape his future as a stormchaser: his father and the legacy he left behind.

That legacy is encapsulated by a letter of commendation he received upon leaving the military, after serving as a military police officer. In the letter, his superiors praised how he led every aspect of his life with the fullness of his heart.

Copic said he tries to fulfill this trait without recognizing it because it is in his blood.

"I truly think that's something that I, by the grace of God, learned from my dad that, no matter what you do in life, continue to push, to be better at it no matter what – not to get better than anybody else, but just to grow for yourself and to help the people," he said.

Now in his 15th year of storm chasing, Copic can look back at, not just the weather events he’s seen, but also the countless people he has encountered and helped, finding space for humanity amid the storms.