Hi, I am Derek Sibley. I am 22 years old and
live in Mobile, Alabama and I was born and raised in
Miami, Florida. I' am a student at the University of South Alabama
majoring in meteorology with a minor in mathematics, and work part time
at my university's pool lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons.
My meteorology interest began when I was four years old, having lived in
south Florida through out most of my life, I saw interesting weather on
a daily basis, especially in the Spring and Summer months.
Lightning, thunder, heavy rain, hail, and high winds, always excited me.
From the late 1990s-the early 2000s I was into the NOAA weather radio,
this was my first weather gadget, and I used to almost take it
everywhere I went to get up to date weather conditions, and if the alert
tone would go off I would be as excited as ever.
By 2004, I discovered another meteorological phenomenon, tropical
cyclones. During this year three hurricanes stuck the
state of Florida, though I was a little far from where they made
landfall, I still remember some of the effects they brought to me.
The next year, was the busiest hurricane season on
record for the Atlantic basin, seeing 28 named storms beating the old
record that was set back in 1933. 2005 ignited my interest into
tropical cyclones. And yet Florida, was another hurricane landfall
target, this year I experienced my first 3 hurricanes. Hurricane
Dennis I witnessed over water on a cruise ship, with winds right around
hurricane force and seas as high as 22-30ft. Hurricane Katrina
made landfall in south Florida as a category 1 storm with winds
sustained at tropical storm strength and gusting to hurricane force.
And lastly hurricane Wilma, which was a rare late October major hurricane,
that had the lowest minimum central pressure ever recorded in the
Atlantic basin. This storm eventually made landfall in Southwest
Florida as a category 3, before moving through the rest of South Florida
as a category 2. These storms still have great vivid images in my head
that I will never forget.
After those two big seasons I needed something to look back at in
case another storm would come by, and in 2006, as a Christmas present, I
got my first video camera to film anything that came across me, whether
it was thunderstorms, high winds, or even just anything interesting I
would capture it. My first video was tropical storm Ernesto, and
though the impacts of that storm was minimal, it was still exciting to film my first
In the summer of 2009, I appeared on a live hurricane internet show on
Hurricanecity.com by Jim Williams, this was my first time being on a
show where I got to talk about hurricanes. On the show I also got
the honor to meet the famous storm chasing legend,
Jim Leonard, became one of my closest friend's, as we would always hang
out and have deep conversations about storms. Sadly, Jim passed
away on November 3, 2014 from cancer. To this day, I still have
not met anyone who has the same amount of passion for severe weather,
and he will surely be missed.
During the summer of 2010, I began an internship at the Miami National Weather Service, there I got
to learn everything about how to forecast using there special computer
setups, and work on projects. Now, I still intern there and hoping
to be in that position someday.
In June of 2012, I traveled to the great plains for my first time to
chase mother nature's incredible storms. I was joined with storm
chasers Michael Laca and Jim Leonard. Even though the storm
pattern that year was slow, we did have one good chase during the
evening of June 12 (watch
here). During that same year in the summer, I also experienced
my first tropical cyclone chase, on August 26th, Tropical Storm Issac
brushed the Florida Keys. On this chase I was joined with storm
chasers Jim Leonard and Jim Williams. (watch
Aside from meteorology, I love to have free time. On my spare time
I like to swim, play a few video games, hang out with friends, and watch
sports (Go Dolphins!)
Welcome to Hurricane Connect!!
How did Hurricane Connect start? Hurricane Connect
was first originally called Storm Center that started off doing tropical
update videos on YouTube in 2009 and doing live internet shows on
Ustream. After doing my first few internet shows, I realized that
this was the time for Storm Center to go live on the internet as a
website. However, after realizing I could not use the name for the
website I could not move forward with Storm Center any longer.
This was the time when I sat down to take the time to come up with a new
name that will actually be more beneficial by connecting users to the
storm. After coming up with the new name ''Hurricaneconnect'',
plans to make the website started immediately. In early 2012,
Hurricaneconnect started to go under construction, but the site would
not be possible without the help of Michael Laca, a veteran storm chaser
Michael helped put the site together for me after I designed it.
HurricaneConnect had its first hurricane season run in 2012, after going
through a very busy season, the site went through it very well.
What is Hurricane Connect? Hurricane Connect is an
online tropical weather information site that originally started in
Hollywood, Florida but than moved to Mobile, Alabama as Derek Sibley
moved the operations there as he attends school. On this site you will
find the latest tools you will need to connect you to the storm.
These tools such as satellite, radar, upper winds, sea surface
temperatures, computer forecast models, and links will keep you updated on the
tropics all the time. These tools can be used by using the top
navigation bar. My latest tropical update video is found on the
front page along with my storm chase photographs, videography, chase
cams, and my season prediction. What makes Hurricane Connect so amazing is that its user
Myself doing the weather on WKRG-TV in Mobile,
Alabama for my intro to tv weather class in 2016.
Myself with former National Hurricane Center
director, Max Mayfield in May of 2011 with bushy hair.
Myself with Dr. Phil Klotzbach (left) and Dr. William
Gray (right) at the Florida Governors' Hurricane Conference in May 2011
with the bushy hair again.