Storm Chasing: Equipment, Safety, Tips & More

Introduction to Storm Chasing

Storm chasing is a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping pursuit that has captivated the hearts of many adventure enthusiasts. Storm chasing, considered as the world’s most exciting adventure, involves tracking and observing severe weather phenomena such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Storm chasers immerse themselves in the raw power of these natural forces, documenting their formation, development, and the destruction they leave in their wake. This article dives into the fascinating world of Storm chasing in 2024, exploring the equipment used, safety precautions taken, and the risks involved.

Some adventures have the power to leave a lasting impact on individuals. For those captivated by weather phenomena, storm chasing is an unforgettable and often sought-after experience. However, it is crucial to approach this activity with caution and thorough preparation in order to mitigate the associated risks.

In this post, we will provide you with the essential information you need to know about storm chasing. It is important to carefully read and understand every detail from start to finish in order to kick-start your preparation in the right manner.

What is Storm Chasing?

There are numerous and diverse reasons why individuals may choose to actively pursue a storm. These motivations encompass a wide range of factors, including but not limited to: seeking to embark on an exhilarating adventure, desiring to gather comprehensive and valuable information about the specific intricacies and dynamics of a particular weather phenomenon, aspiring to obtain compelling material in order to craft an engaging and captivating media narrative, or driven by the noble pursuit of conducting rigorous scientific research in the field of meteorology. In essence, the primary impetus that propels individuals to partake in this extraordinary endeavor is their innate yearning to personally witness and intimately experience the sheer power and awe-inspiring nature of a storm.

By willingly and intentionally chasing after tornadoes, which are formidable meteorological occurrences, these intrepid individuals are referred to as “chasers” or “the best storm chasers” by the storm chasing tour companies. It is important to note that storm chasers do not retreat or flee from these hazardous weather conditions. Quite the contrary, they purposefully seek out means and methods to approach and get as close as humanly possible to a storm, driven by an insatiable curiosity and a steadfast determination to delve into the heart of these tempestuous phenomena.

 

Storm Chasing

How Do You Chase A Storm?

Are you currently considering the possibility of embarking on a thrilling career as a storm chaser? If you wish to see a tornado, it is imperative that I offer you a word of caution before you eagerly dive into this exhilarating pursuit. It is crucial that you refrain from impulsively throwing yourself into the world of storm chasing without first acquiring the necessary knowledge and understanding of how to effectively and safely engage in this daring endeavor. In order to assist you in your quest to chase storms with utmost efficiency and security, I have compiled a comprehensive list of invaluable tips that will undoubtedly aid you in your storm chasing pursuits.

1.Conduct Research

This particular step that I am about to describe to you is exceptionally crucial and should never, under any circumstances, be disregarded or overlooked. It involves dedicating a significant amount of time and effort to the task of immersing yourself in the vast knowledge and information that is readily available to you both online and within the confines of your local library. It is of utmost importance that you engage in an extensive reading and studying process, making it your mission to absorb as much pertinent material as possible pertaining to the fascinating and often unpredictable world of storms.

It is highly recommended that you explore a wide range of resources that delve into the multitude of storm types that exist, including but not limited to tornadoes, thunderstorms, and various other forms of atmospheric disturbances. By doing so, you will gradually become well-acquainted with the intricate details, unique characteristics, and distinct patterns that define each specific storm. Furthermore, this comprehensive approach will enable you to gain a deep understanding of the inherent dangers and potential risks associated with each and every storm that may come your way.

2. Download Storm Chasing Apps

To ensure that you are well-equipped and informed when it comes to storm chasing, it is highly recommended that you install various storm chasing applications on your mobile device. By doing so, you will not only stay up-to-date with the latest developments but also enhance your knowledge and understanding of storms. In the ever-evolving world of technology, there are several popular storm chasing apps available in the market, all of which have been updated in 2018.

One such app is Live Chasing, which is exclusive to iOS users. This app allows you to actively follow veteran storm chasers in real-time during their tornado tours, providing you with access to their best shots for your highlight video. Additionally, through chat functionality, you can engage in conversations with both chasers and fellow viewers alike, discussing your vacation of a lifetime chasing tornadoes. Moreover, an interactive map feature displays the current positions of the chasers, enabling you to track their movements effortlessly.

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For those looking for the highest level of radar detail on their smartphones, RadarScope is the ideal choice. Available on iOS, this app offers NEXRAD Level 3 and “Super resolution” radar data, providing you with unparalleled accuracy. Such accuracy is so reliable that even private pilots rely on this app to navigate safely around storms.

Another noteworthy app is NOAA Weather Radar, which is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. This powerful yet user-friendly weather station ensures that you are always prepared for adverse weather conditions. By offering real-time animated weather radar images on a highly interactive map, this app ensures that no sudden changes in the weather catch you off guard.

If you prefer to listen to live audio feeds from the weather channel during your day of chasing storms, Scanner Radio is the perfect app for you. Specifically designed for Android users, this app grants you access to over 7,000 fire and police scanners, weather radios, amateur radio repeaters, air traffic channels, and marine radios from around the world. With Scanner Radio, you can stay updated with the latest communication happening during storm situations.

Lastly, there is mPING, an app available on both iOS and Android platforms. By using this app, you can actively contribute to the National Severe Storms Laboratory’s research efforts in partnership with the University of Oklahoma. The mPING Project (Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground) aims to collect valuable weather information from the public through their smartphones or mobile devices. By participating in this project, you can assist in advancing scientific understanding of storms while also contributing to the improvement of weather forecasting and warnings.

By installing these storm chasing apps on your mobile device, you can ensure that you are well-informed, well-prepared, and actively engaged in the world of storm chasing.

3. Buy Storm Chasing Equipment

As a beginner in the thrilling adventure of storm chasing tour companies storm chasing, it is crucial to equip yourself with the right tools and gear to not only enhance your experience, but also prioritize your safety above all else. There are several essential storm chasing equipment options that you should consider procuring:

Firstly, having a reliable tablet or laptop is paramount, as it serves as your technological hub during your storm chasing expeditions. Coupled with a sturdy car mount, this setup ensures that you have easy access to real-time weather data, storm tracking information, and various apps that assist you in your storm chasing endeavors.

Investing in top-notch storm mapping software is an absolute must. This software provides you with detailed visualizations and accurate predictions of the storm’s path, enabling you to make informed decisions and navigate your way through the tempestuous landscape.

Capturing the awe-inspiring power of storms on film is one of the most rewarding aspects of storm chasing. A high-quality video camera, such as the renowned GoPro, allows you to document your experiences in the Great Plains and share them with others, immersing them in the heart-pounding moments of your storm chasing vacation.

In addition to a video camera, having a reliable still camera is indispensable for capturing breathtaking photographs of thunderstorms, lightning strikes, twisters, and other atmospheric phenomena during storm chasing tours – the best. These snapshots serve as timeless mementos of your storm chasing adventures.

Staying connected while on the chase is imperative, which is why a wireless hotspot should be part of your storm chasing arsenal. This ensures that you can access crucial information and communicate with fellow storm chasers or emergency services if needed.

Being prepared for any unforeseen circumstances, particularly during your world’s most exciting tornado chasing tours, is crucial. Therefore, always carry an emergency kit that includes essential items such as first aid supplies, a flashlight, batteries, a portable weather radio, and non-perishable food and water.

Lastly, don’t forget to utilize some of the previously discussed apps that are specifically designed for storm chasers. These apps offer invaluable features such as radar imagery, severe weather alerts, and storm reports, further enhancing your storm chasing capabilities.

When it comes to choosing the ideal storm chasing vehicle, there exists an ongoing debate within the storm chasing community regarding whether a four-wheel drive SUV or a reliable minivan is the better option. Both vehicle types suitable for storm chasing vacation have their pros and cons, and the decision ultimately boils down to personal preference and specific requirements for your storm chasing pursuits in the Great Plains.

Storm Chasing

4. Pack Wisely

In addition to the previously mentioned equipment, it is highly recommended that you pack an ample supply of water and snacks to ensure that you remain properly hydrated and energized throughout the duration of the long and potentially exhausting chase. Additionally, when planning for your vacation of a lifetime storm chasing, it would be wise to remember to bring along some extra cash, providing you with a safety net in case any unexpected expenses arise.

5. Join a Team

Chasing a storm on your own is not only risky, but it can also lead to failure and potential danger. Without the support of a team during these world’s most exciting tornado tours, you may find yourself in a situation where you are unable to handle the challenges that come with storm chasing. Belonging to a team ensures that you will have the backing of individuals who share the same goals and aspirations as you. This collective effort can greatly increase your chances of success and survival.

Being part of a team also brings along the advantage of having access to additional equipment that can complement or even upgrade your own storm chasing gear. This means that you can take advantage of the combined resources and expertise, making your storm chasing endeavors more efficient and effective.

Moreover, working in a team allows for the division of tasks, ensuring that each member has a specific role to play. For example, while one person focuses on capturing stunning photos of the storms, another can take charge of driving the vehicle, while yet another can keep an eye out for any nearby storm activity. This division of labor not only ensures that all important aspects are covered but also helps in maximizing productivity and achieving better results.

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Tornado Chasing

A vast number of storm chasers are incredibly enthusiastic about the thrilling pursuit of tornadoes, as these powerful natural phenomena provide an unforgettable and exhilarating experience. The sheer intensity of a tornado, with wind speeds reaching up to a staggering 320mph, is a major draw for these dedicated individuals. Moreover, the relatively compact size of tornadoes, typically no larger than 0.25 miles, makes them ideal subjects for capturing breathtaking photographs and awe-inspiring videos.

It is worth noting that the majority of tornado chases occur within the United States, where the country accounts for more than 75% of tornado incidents worldwide. This statistic highlights the unique geographical and climatic conditions that make the United States a hotbed for tornado formation and activity.

Tornado Chasing

The Fascination with Storm Chasing

The allure of storm chasing, especially tornado chasing tours, lies in the exhilaration of witnessing nature’s fury up close and personal. It is an adrenaline rush like no other, as storm chasers embark on a quest to capture breathtaking images and videos of extreme weather events. The fascination with storm chasing stems from a deep-rooted curiosity about the power and unpredictability of Mother Nature. It is the desire to understand and document these phenomena that drives storm chasers to venture into the heart of the storm.

Equipment for Storm Chasing

In order to effectively chase and document storms, storm chasers heavily depend on specialized equipment that is specifically designed to withstand the harsh and unpredictable conditions they often encounter. Among the plethora of tools and gadgets that storm chasers rely on, one of the most crucial pieces of equipment is a high-quality camera capable of capturing stunning and high-resolution images and videos of these awe-inspiring natural phenomena. These cameras are not only essential for documenting the storms, but they also allow storm chasers to share their experiences with the rest of the world, shedding light on the power and beauty of these atmospheric disturbances.

Aside from cameras, storm chasers equip themselves with various meteorological tools that enable them to gather real-time data on the storm’s intensity and movement. Anemometers, for instance, are used to measure wind speed and direction, providing valuable insights into the forces at play within the storm. Barometers, on the other hand, help storm chasers monitor changes in atmospheric pressure, which can be a key indicator of a storm’s strength and development. Additionally, national weather service radars and weather channels are employed to track the storm’s size and shape, allowing the best storm chasers to anticipate its path, making a day of chasing a rewarding experience.

In their quest to stay connected and receive up-to-date weather information while on their vacation of a lifetime chasing tornadoes, storm chasers make use of portable weather stations and mobile internet devices. These weather stations provide localized data on temperature, humidity, and other atmospheric conditions, allowing storm chasers to gather valuable information about the storm’s immediate surroundings. Moreover, mobile internet devices give storm chasers access to real-time weather updates and forecasts, ensuring that they are always aware of any changes in the storm’s behavior or trajectory.

All in all, the specialized equipment used by storm chasers plays a vital role in their ability to effectively chase and document storms. Whether it’s a high-quality camera capturing breathtaking images or meteorological tools providing crucial data, these tools enable storm chasers to gain a deeper understanding of these powerful natural events while also sharing their experiences with the world.

Essential Gear for Storm Chasers

In addition to the necessary equipment, storm chasers must also have essential gear that is crucial for their safety and survival while they are out in the field chasing storms. One of the most important pieces of protective clothing that storm chasers need is sturdy boots. These boots not only provide them with grip and stability on rough terrains but also protect their feet from potential hazards, such as sharp debris or unstable surfaces. Waterproof jackets are another vital piece of clothing that storm chasers should have. These jackets not only keep them dry during heavy rain or storms but also provide an additional layer of protection against the harsh elements.

Helmets are also a must-have for storm chasers. These helmets are designed to shield storm chasers from any flying debris that may be present during a storm. This can include anything from hailstones to tree branches, which can pose a serious threat to their safety. By wearing a helmet, storm chasers can reduce the risk of head injuries and ensure that they are well-protected.

Communication devices are also essential for storm chasers. Two-way radios allow them to stay in constant contact with their fellow storm chasers on tornado tours – the best, which is crucial for coordinating efforts and sharing information about the twister. Satellite phones are also important for storm chasers in Great Plains, as they provide a reliable means of communication when regular phone lines may be down or unreliable. This is especially important in emergency situations when storm chasers may need to contact emergency services for help or assistance.

In addition to protective clothing and communication devices, the best storm chasers should also carry a well-stocked first aid kit during tornado chasing tours. This kit should contain essential medical supplies such as bandages, antiseptic ointments, and pain relievers. Having a first aid kit readily available can be a lifesaver in case of any injuries sustained during a storm chase. Storm chasers should also carry emergency food and water supplies with them. In the event that they become stranded or injured during a chase, having these supplies can sustain them until help arrives.

Overall, storm chasers must ensure that they have the necessary gear to protect themselves and survive while out in the field. From your highlight video recording gear, protective clothing, and communication devices to first aid kits and emergency supplies, having these items is crucial for a day of chasing storms ensuring your safety and well-being.

Setting up a Storm Chaser Vehicle

A properly equipped storm chaser vehicle is a crucial element for successfully pursuing storms. These vehicles are specially modified to withstand the demands of storm chasing and provide the necessary tools and equipment for the chase. Reinforced exteriors protect against hail and flying debris, while internal modifications include mounting brackets for cameras and meteorological instruments. National weather compliant storm chaser vehicles are typically equipped with advanced GPS and navigation systems to track storms accurately and safely navigate through unfamiliar terrain.

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Storm Chaser

Safety Precautions for Storm Chasers

While storm chasing can be an exciting and rewarding pursuit, it is not without risks. Storm chasers must prioritize safety and take necessary precautions to minimize the dangers they face. It is crucial to stay informed about weather conditions and forecasts by regularly monitoring reliable sources. Seeking shelter during severe weather is essential, and storm chasers should never attempt to outrun a tornado or place themselves directly in harm’s way. Additionally, maintaining a safe distance from storms, being aware of road conditions, and staying alert to changing weather patterns are all vital safety measures for storm chasers.

Stories of Storm Chasers Killed in the Line of Duty

Tragically, storm chasing has claimed the lives of several dedicated individuals who pushed the boundaries in pursuit of their passion. These brave storm chasers, including veteran storm pursuers, lost their lives while documenting severe weather events, their unwavering dedication ultimately costing them everything. Their stories serve as a reminder of the risks inherent in storm chasing and the importance of prioritizing safety above all else. It is crucial for aspiring storm chasers to learn from these tragic incidents and ensure they take every possible precaution to protect themselves and others.

The Dangers and Risks of Storm Chasing

Storm chasing exposes individuals to a myriad of dangers and risks. The unpredictable nature of storms means that even experienced chasers can find themselves in perilous situations. High winds, lightning strikes, hail, and flash floods pose significant threats to storm chasers. Additionally, the chaotic and rapidly changing conditions within a storm can make navigation and escape challenging. It is essential for tourists on storm chasing vacation to be well-informed, well-prepared, and constantly vigilant to minimize the risks associated with their chosen pursuit.

Compensation for Storm Chasers

While storm chasing, often seen in the Great Plains, is primarily driven by passion and a thirst for adventure, some individuals are able to turn it into a career by 2024. Professional storm chasers can earn income through selling their captivating footage and images to media outlets, documentary producers, and advertising agencies. However, it is important to note that the income potential for storm chasers varies widely and is dependent on factors such as experience, reputation, and the demand for their work. It takes dedication, perseverance, and a deep understanding of the industry to achieve financial success as a storm chaser.

The Storm Chasing Community in Illinois and Indiana

The states of Illinois and Indiana boast thriving storm chasing communities, attracting enthusiasts from all around the country. With their unique geographical location and favorable weather conditions, these states have become hotspots for storm chasers seeking intense storm activity. The close-knit community in Illinois and Indiana provides a platform for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and camaraderie among fellow storm chasers. Regular meetups, workshops, and storm chasing conferences are organized to foster a sense of community and promote the exchange of ideas and experiences.

FAQS

Q: What are tornado tours?

A: Tornado tours are guided expeditions that take participants to areas prone to tornado activity, such as Tornado Alley, for the purpose of witnessing and experiencing extreme weather phenomena.

Q: What is Tornado Alley?

A: Tornado Alley is a colloquial term for the area in the central United States known for its frequent tornado activity, including parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Q: What kind of weather conditions might one expect to encounter on a tornado tour?

A: Tornado tours often involve exposure to severe weather, including thunderstorms, hail, and potentially tornadic activity, under the guidance of experienced storm chasers and meteorologists.

Q: How can I find tour companies that offer tornado chasing expeditions?

A: You can find tour companies offering tornado chasing expeditions by conducting online searches, seeking recommendations, and reading reviews from individuals who have previously participated in storm chasing tours.

Q: What makes extreme tornado tours different from regular storm chasing expeditions?

A: Extreme tornado tours typically focus on intercepting and witnessing tornadic activity and intense supercell thunderstorms, providing participants with a more intense and immersive storm chasing experience.

Q: How can I book a tornado chasing vacation?

A: You can book a tornado chasing vacation by contacting tour companies specializing in storm chasing tours and following their booking procedures, which may involve reserving a spot for a specific chase day or season.

Q: Are tornadic expeditions safe for participants?

A: Tornadic expeditions are typically led by experienced storm chasers and meteorologists who prioritize safety, knowledge, and situational awareness, making the experience as safe as possible for participants.

Q: What is the significance of tornado tours in Tornado Alley?

A: Tornado tours in Tornado Alley provide individuals with the opportunity to witness some of the most intense and dynamic weather systems on the planet, including supercells and tornadoes, creating a unique and unparalleled experience.

Q: What are the best storm chasing tours in the industry?

A: The best storm chasing tours in the industry are often characterized by experienced guides, access to advanced weather tracking technology, and a track record of providing participants with opportunities to witness and learn about severe weather events in a safe and educational environment.

Q: How can I book my storm chasing tour in Tornado Alley?

A: You can book your storm chasing tour in Tornado Alley by researching and contacting reputable tour companies that specialize in tornado tours, comparing available options, and selecting a tour that aligns with your preferences and schedule.

Conclusion

Storm chasing is not a pursuit for the faint of heart. It requires a deep passion for weather, a thirst for adventure, and an unwavering commitment to safety. The world of storm chasing offers an exhilarating and unique experience, allowing individuals to witness the awe-inspiring power of nature firsthand. However, it is crucial for storm chasers to approach this pursuit with respect, caution, and a thorough understanding of the risks involved. By combining their passion and dedication with proper equipment, safety precautions, and a supportive community, storm chasers can embark on an unforgettable journey into the heart of the storm.

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