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View Full Version : Storm Chaser: Give It A "Whirl"


PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 04:51 PM
As I've mentioned in other threads, for the last 22 years I've been active in storm chasing... I've recieved several messages from people on here, inquiring about it...

When I first started, my belief was to get behind it and follow it as closly as I possibly could -- the tornado that is... Well; after finally getting afew brain cells added in my head, and attending several storm seminars, I realized that it was more than just that...

I've been hooked up now with several radio and television stations within my area, for the last 18 years... Whenever I recieve an alert on my cell phone, all the "chasers" in my area report to their assigned zones... My zone runs about 50 miles either direction of my house...

If I see any reported activity -- wether it's a funnel cloud just developing -- or one on the ground -- I will call in the location of the tornado to the stations that i feel is threatened by the oncoming storm... Generally; most tornados will travel in a north/northeast direction...

My biggest fear is going out after dark... It's very hard to spot one, and about the only time you might see one is during a lightning flash... You will use your ears more than your eyes at night...

Another tornado hard to spot, is a "rain wrapped" tornado... This tornado is generally surrounded by a down pouring rainstorm... Spotting this is very difficult...

You MUST know all the roads you will be traveling, and if you don't -- you better have a map with you... There's been afew times when I've gone down the wrong road, and there's only one way out... And that's trying to out run it on a road where you have no idea where it leads you...

Very seldom do I have time to take video or photo's of the storm unless I have someone with me to do it for me... Occasionally I will set in a spot where I know one will pass within a mile of me... The closest I got was last year... I was within probably with a 1/2 mile of one just south of my house... I was running into it, trying to get behind it, so then i could turn around and follow it... I just let my emotions tell me the wrong thing to do... I should have just set still and let it pass by...

So; for any of you interested in doing this, keep looking out for storm seminars coming to your area... They will not teach you how to do this, but you will have a better understanding of the impact tornados have...

For you in small rural towns, get hooked up with your local fire departments... Most of them go out and act as spotters and first responders...

Your first few will scare the living hell out of you, but within a few more, you will be all pumped up and ready to get closer even yet... And most and foremost --- be safe --- not stupid !!!

HonestChieffan
02-13-2007, 04:54 PM
Cool post and good info...Ive always wondered who does that and how you got involved

crazycoffey
02-13-2007, 04:55 PM
I thought I was nuts

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 05:00 PM
I thought I was nuts


It's not bad... Largest one I saw was in 2004... It was 7 miles east of my house... It was 3/4 to a mile wide, and had wind speeds of over 200 MPH... They said it was an F-4... I'm saying it was an F-5...

The countryside is STILL torn all to hell to this day... Three people died that night just east of me...

Donger
02-13-2007, 05:04 PM
keep looking out for storm seminars coming to your area... They will not teach you how to do this, but you will have a better understanding of the impact tornados have...

So, seminars are as tricky as tornados.

boogblaster
02-13-2007, 05:13 PM
When I was a kid we used to chase them twisters..seen as many as 6 in one nite..tornado alley sekansas ...

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 05:26 PM
So, seminars are as tricky as tornados.

Ummmmmmmmmm... No...



:p

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 05:27 PM
When I was a kid we used to chase them twisters..seen as many as 6 in one nite..tornado alley sekansas ...


I saw as many as 17 on one day in 2004...

scott free
02-13-2007, 05:34 PM
I totally understand the thrill & desire to get close to those, i just question the wisdom. Few things in life match the spectacle of an awesome storm, but i wouldnt do it unless i was in one of those weighted down & armored trucks that the pros use.

crazycoffey
02-13-2007, 06:06 PM
It's not bad... Largest one I saw was in 2004... It was 7 miles east of my house... It was 3/4 to a mile wide, and had wind speeds of over 200 MPH... They said it was an F-4... I'm saying it was an F-5...

The countryside is STILL torn all to hell to this day... Three people died that night just east of me...


I understand a need is there, just crazy is all, IMO. I know it's kind of backward, I've been trained to take a gun and a few buddies into a building with a nut who also has a gun and I think what you are doing is crazy.

But at least neither of us are jumping out of an airplane.

Brock
02-13-2007, 06:09 PM
Personally, when I see a caravan of cars a mile long heading out to chase the tornado, I can't help but hope that all of those people catch it.

Archie F. Swin
02-13-2007, 06:35 PM
Many Natl Weather Service offices host spotter/SKYWARN seminars which are very informative, and an absolute must if you're considering becoming a spotter.

Here's the KC area spotter talk schedule (http://www.crh.noaa.gov/eax/?n=outreach-schedule)

Otter
02-13-2007, 06:43 PM
How is all this funded? If I had to guess I'd say university or research grants but still curious.

Thx for the info

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 07:31 PM
Personally, when I see a caravan of cars a mile long heading out to chase the tornado, I can't help but hope that all of those people catch it.


I'm glad I work alone then !!!


:p

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 07:33 PM
How is all this funded? If I had to guess I'd say university or research grants but still curious.

Thx for the info


Majority of the "major" storm chasers are funded thru universities... Oklahoma University has one of the top research teams in the U.S... They are always on tv...

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 07:36 PM
Many Natl Weather Service offices host spotter/SKYWARN seminars which are very informative, and an absolute must if you're considering becoming a spotter.

Here's the KC area spotter talk schedule (http://www.crh.noaa.gov/eax/?n=outreach-schedule)


You should all mark this site on your computer, and attend one of the classes... You'll be amazed at all the info these guys will tell you...

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 07:45 PM
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/#Spotting%20&%20Chasing

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 08:12 PM
I understand a need is there, just crazy is all, IMO. I know it's kind of backward, I've been trained to take a gun and a few buddies into a building with a nut who also has a gun and I think what you are doing is crazy.

But at least neither of us are jumping out of an airplane.


I'd much rather have a tornado pointed at me rather than a loaded gun...

Archie F. Swin
02-13-2007, 08:28 PM
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/#Spotting%20&%20Chasing

Very important that the differences between spotters and chasers be noted. Roger does it well in the second paragraph.

crazycoffey
02-13-2007, 08:32 PM
I'd much rather have a tornado pointed at me rather than a loaded gun...



I know how a gun works, and I Know how to work one myself (to help ensure the other one doesn't shoot me)

with a tornado, it could shift suddenly with no warning and engulf a little car, not like you could hit it with the bumper and knock it back, you just F'ed.


Bottom line, I respect your Balls Meter.

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 08:32 PM
Very important that the differences between spotters and chasers be noted. Roger does it well in the second paragraph.

Yep... I was pretty stupid my first two years... I thought it was a piece of cake following one... Boy --- I was wrong...

It's a must to attend a seminar if you wanna get serious... The one in Liberty is pretty darn good... The one is Cameron is so-so...

I should say --- it's a must to attend one if you wanna live....

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 08:38 PM
What were the deadliest U.S. tornado days? On 3 April 1974, the main day of the two-day "Super Outbreak," tornadoes killed 308 people. The next deadliest day for tornadoes was 11 April 1965, the original "Palm Sunday Outbreak," where 260 perished. A list is online of top 20 deadliest tornado days since detailed record keeping began in 1950.


I was in the one's on April 11th 1965... I was 5 weeks old...

Joie
02-13-2007, 08:56 PM
Thanks for the info. I have been fascinated by tornados since I saw one when I was 5.

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 09:10 PM
Thanks for the info. I have been fascinated by tornados since I saw one when I was 5.

I have 104,000 miles on a 2001 Ford pickup... Half of those miles are from chasing storms I'd say...

Joie
02-13-2007, 09:13 PM
I'm envious. I will attend a seminar eventually, although possibly not this year. I drove my mother crazy as a child because I always ran outside in storms. My dad shares my fascination.

PinkFloyd
02-13-2007, 09:20 PM
I'm envious. I will attend a seminar eventually, although possibly not this year. I drove my mother crazy as a child because I always ran outside in storms. My dad shares my fascination.


Dad wasn't home when our house blew away one year... He's not bothered at all by them...

Mom on the other hand ---- she freaks at the first black cloud in the sky...

Hog Farmer
02-14-2007, 08:15 AM
I've always wanted to chase one using a Hot Air Balloon.

GoHuge
02-14-2007, 09:01 AM
It is a hell of a time. I saw three last year. Two in Sedalia and one north of Marshall. You will rack up some miles on your vehicle in a hurry. I'll go 100 miles either way if there is the strong possibility of an outbreak. If your gonna get serious about it I strongle recommend get a Sprint broadband card for your laptop. Having a radar in the truck makes it alot easier and safer. I buy a new truck every year and my insirance company is always curious as to why I have so much hail damage. If you want to experience a rush...that will get you jacked up!

PinkFloyd
02-14-2007, 07:20 PM
It is a hell of a time. I saw three last year. If you want to experience a rush...that will get you jacked up!

Without a doubt !!!!!!!!!

crazycoffey
02-14-2007, 07:51 PM
I've always wanted to chase one using a Hot Air Balloon.



Yeah, that can't be a smart decision.

Mile High Mania
02-14-2007, 10:01 PM
Enh, I went to Orlando over Christmas... visited Universal Studios.

Done that. :harumph:

http://www.cesmechanical.com/images/twister.JPG

Archie F. Swin
02-15-2007, 07:59 AM
got this sticker on my cherokee

http://jitcrunch.cafepress.com/jitcrunch.aspx?bG9hZD1yZXN1bHQsaHR0cDovL2ltYWdlcy5jYWZlcHJlc3MuY29tL2ltYWdlLzEyNDg0NzIxXzQwMHg0MDAua nBnfHNjYWxlPXJlc3VsdCwwLDIwMHxjb21wcmVzc2lvbj05OQ==