Logo for The Storm Chasing FAQ

About this FAQ

General Information


Gear and Strategy





Getting Started

More Resources


Background photo courtesy NSSL. Copyrighted photos are used by permission of each photographer. All other FAQ content is Copyright © 2000-2005 Roger Edwards and Tim Vasquez, all rights reserved. Limited reproduction rights are granted for educational and news quotes of 100 words or less with proper attribution of original authorship.


FAQ Last updated 17 Jan 5

This list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) has been compiled on a volunteer basis from questions asked of the authors and their colleagues, as well as basic research information and countless scientific resources. More material will be added, time permitting. All the links here are intended to direct you to more detailed info on the topic linked -- often from other educational FAQs such as those at SPC and NSSL.

The Storm Chasing FAQ is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to storm observation, chasing or spotting. Instead, this a quick-reference summary, which will link you to more detailed information if you desire. The intent here is to direct you to the best storm chasing info available, regardless of whether the source is private, public or commercial. It should also be read before you post an inquiry about storm chasing to newsgroups like WX-TALK, WX-CHASE or StormTrack forums. Reading this document can save you from embarrassing moments and getting into annoying discussions.

For learning about severe storms, or if you are doing your own research or school reports, please visit the library in person. There are many good websites with tornado information also, beginning with the The Online Tornado FAQ.

DISCLAIMER: This FAQ, of course, does not recommend or endorse storm chasing. It can be a dangerous activity with the potential for damage to vehicles and other property, personal injury, disability and death. We are not responsible for if, or how, any of the information in this FAQ is used; nor are we responsible for anyone's actions in the field except our own. None of the links to outside websites implies any kind of commercial endorsement on the part of the authors, nor either StormTrack or Stormeyes, non-profit educational websites not affiliated with any particular product or service. We are not responsible for the content, accuracy, availability or timeliness of any other web sites linked from here.


What is the definition of a storm chaser? A storm chaser is defined as a person who pursues imminent or existing severe thunderstorms, for any reason, and operates either independently or as part of a research effort.


Who is a storm chaser? What are their backgrounds? Where do they come from? Chasers are generally people from all walks of life, most of whom are very knowledgeable about meteorology and forecasting. Some examples of chasers' professions might include engineers, store owners, professional photographers, pilots, programmers, roofers, students, postal workers, and of course, meteorologists. Their average age is about 35, but probably ranges from 18 to 65, and women comprise about 2% of this group. A large segment of storm chasers have a college education. Although most live in the Plains or Midwest -- where the climatological frequency of supercells and tornadoes is highest -- storm chasers now reside in every state of the continental U.S.


Who are some storm chasers? StormTrack has a list of storm chaser websites you may peruse, as well as dozens of other informational links.


What's the difference between a spotter and a chaser? The differences are in method and motivation. Chasers are more mobile than spotters, and unlike most spotters, travel hundreds of miles and across state lines to observe storms. Spotters' primary function is to report critical weather information, on a live basis, to the National Weather Service through some kind of local spotter coordinator. Chasers, on the other hand, may be doing it for any number of reasons, including scientific field programs, storm photography, self-education, commercial video opportunity, or news media coverage. Some storm spotters also do occasional chasing outside their home area; and some chasers are certified and equipped to do real-time spotting. For more information on storm spotting, see the StormTrack spotter page, Keith Brewster's guide, and the Skywarn FAQ.


How real was the movie "Twister"? American audiences got their first real taste of storm chasing with the release of "Twister" in 1996. Its stereotype of a storm chaser -- a thrillseeking daredevil on a frantic science mission, racing down a rural dirt road with full-fledged tornadoes close in tow, day and night -- was outrageous fantasy. A more accurate picture would show both professional scientists and lay people from unrelated professions, driving hundreds of miles under partly cloudy skies, sometimes seeing violent thunderstorms, and only occasionally catching a view of a tornado. Even the "real chases" shown in documentaries and commercial videos are just a few minutes of highlights per scene, culled from hundreds of hours of road travel. There is a nice KC Star article from 1996 on the impressions of a storm-chasing couple about the movie.


How often do chasers see tornadoes? Most experienced chasers don't keep close score -- since tornadoes are only a part of the experience -- but the loose average is about 1 in 5 to 1 in 10 trips. This, of course, depends on one's personal thresholds for what kinds of weather situations to chase, and the chaser's definition of and tolerance for busts. Some very talented chasers willing to drive after almost any severe weather threat have gone 50 or 60 chases and several years without seeing a single tornado. During unusually active periods, others may see several per day for up to a week. On the very rarest of days, those once in a lifetime events like 3 May 1999, a chaser may see 10 or 15 tornadoes. Others may never experience a day like that; and anyone who expects to see a tornado every trip will quickly become disappointed, frustrated and disillusioned. Tornadoes are just not very common!


What is a "storm chase bust"? Simply put, a bust is a failed chase trip. But a dismal failure for one person may be the event of a lifetime for another. Only a very few consider failure to see a tornado as a bust, since tornadoes are so hard to find. Most chasers consider a trip a bust when no storms are seen -- or when an event falls far below expectations. Many chasers are so captivated by the beauty of the sky and open plains that they consider almost no storm chase trip a bust -- even when there is little or no thunderstorm activity.


Why do chasers do it? The root of almost all storm chasing is the challenge of forecasting the storm and trying to understand its inner workings. The most dedicated chasers spend countless hours during the cold winter months reading textbooks, studying scientific journals, and meeting with fellow chasers to find what makes the storm tick, or how the atmosphere producing the storm works. is power in storm chasing, giving the extra edge to reach more storms and encounter less busts. Not surprisingly, many chasers are professional meteorologists, including scientists at SPC, NCAR and NSSL who chase storms on their own free time, to sharpen their first-hand understanding of storms. Tactics and strategies developed by experienced storm chasers over the years have likewise had an impact on what scientists know about severe weather. But of course, no sane person would spend countless hours and days on the road just to get close to benign textbook weather systems. The real reward is enjoying the experience of one of nature's most violent yet beautiful phenomena -- the supercell thunderstorm. Photos and video are motivators too; but they can become just an afterthought! Chasers may have more reasons: the chance to get out and see the prairie, to wander through obscure towns in search of unique photo opportunities, or just the chance to get out of the house. For more insight, check out Dave Hoadley's timeless 1982 essay on why we do this unusual hobby.


What is the appeal of storm chasing? Storm chasing is most accurately compared to a memorable vacation. Take all the photographs you want, but there is simply no way to convey the fun, adventure, and challenge of intercepting storms through photographs. Yes, seeing a photogenic tornado can be the ultimate treasure find, the highlight of a season. But there is so much more! Storm chasing is the conquering feeling of a successful forecast, and the challenge of figuring out why a forecast went wrong when the skies stay blue. Chasing is a deep allure, a singular connection with nature's power, something not completely describable with words. It's manifest in fleeting moments of sensory magic, snapshots of time remembered for life: standing in the middle of nowhere under the full moon, entranced by a sparkling storm tower while a haunting rock ballad plays through the car stereo. It's losing the view of a spectacular storm immersed in a sea of dust...driving the 300 miles home to the sound of a distant radio station...seeing "anvil crawler" lightning streak overhead in the rainy night sky and cast a silver glow across the landscape...feeling a tingle of anticipation while refueling the car...seeing small cumulus erupt into a giant thunderhead nearby in less than 20 minutes...basking in the flaming orange light of a sunset sky filled with mammatus clouds...relaxing in a local restaurant far off the beaten path...hearing the tone alarm go off on the weather radio while cruising toward the ominous, lightning-sliced pall of dark sky looming in the southwest...seeing newly planted green wheat fields, dappled with drifting cloud shadows, and rippling from horizon to horizon in the warm southerly winds...the cameraderie of friendships forged through many hours of conversation while cruising open Great Plains roadways...the bonds renewed through meeting old friends and fellow storm enthusiasts in a small-town pizza house, hundreds of miles from anyplace in particular. And all that is just the beginning of the experience...


Are chasers drawn exclusively to tornadoes? A tornado is a prominent goal for most while chasing, but it's very rare that a chaser will expect to find one before it happens. Tornadoes are icing on the cake. They're difficult to find, even for the most experienced; and those whose one and only motivation is a tornado become discouraged and quit. Most chasers are realistic and enjoy any photogenic storm that they find, and if a tornado occurs, a safe distance (a mile or more) is kept from the tornado (contrary to popular opinion).


How many storm chasers are there? That depends on your definition of "storm chaser." The core group of the most dedicated chasers -- the people who set aside blocks of time to storm observing every spring for many years -- probably number around 100. Count students, media crews, serious but only occasional chasers, tourists, curious local residents and anyone who merely claims to be a storm chaser, and the number swells well past a thousand. Given an isolated supercell in central or western Oklahoma during May, there may be over a hundred carloads of storm chasers crowding the roadways.


Who were the first storm chasers? The late Roger Jensen is believed to be the first person who actively hunted for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes - in the upper Midwest in the late 1940s. David Hoadley, of Falls Church, VA, has been doing so annually since 1956, and is widely considered the "pioneer" storm chaser. The late Neil Ward of the National Severe Storms Laboratory was the first storm-chasing scientist, using insights gained from his field observations of tornadoes to build more complex and accurate tornado simulations in his laboratory. The first federally funded, scientific storm intercept teams fanned out from NSSL across the Oklahoma plains in 1972; but their greatest early success came a year later with their intensive documentation of the Union City, OK, tornado of 24 May 1973. This was also the first time a tornado was measured intensively by both storm intercept teams and Doppler radar -- the forerunning event to the nationwide network of Doppler radars now used for early warning.


How has storm chasing changed over time? When the pioneers of storm chasing got started, weather data was difficult to get and not much was known about storms. During the 1970's, the University of Oklahoma and the National Severe Storms Laboratory began mobile storm research programs -- the most notable of which was to deploy an instrumented package known as TOTO (totable tornado observatory) in the path of a tornado to verify Doppler-observed winds. It was during the 1970's when private storm chasing began catching on, and in 1977 a small newsletter called Storm Track was started. In the early 1980's, mobile storm research was covered by the television program "In Search Of" and later, "Nova." By the mid to late 1980's, many of the mobile storm research programs had ended (and TOTO was retired). Nowadays, with the exception of the recent VORTEX project, mobile storm research is confined mainly to performing precision portable radar observations to learn more about the small-scale structure of thunderstorms. Chasing as recreation, however, is blooming due to increased exposure and renewed interest through the media and Internet. Chasing has also become increasingly commercialized by hot competition for extreme storm video, increasing numbers of TV and radio station chase crews, pro photographers searching for the award-winning sky view, and even several "safari-style" storm chase tour operations.


What kind of research do chasers usually do? Contrary to popular belief, most chasers are not directly involved in research. Field research in meteorology requires methods and techniques that are meticulously carried out, so much so that they can completely absorb the enjoyment of storm chasing. However, few would dispute that the thousands of photos and videos collected by chasers over the past three decades have paid valuable dividends to the science of meteorology and to the public.


Have any storm chase teams performed real research? Yes -- most being affiliated in some way with either NSSL, NCAR or the OU School of Meteorology. Those insitiutions have been doing field work involving storm intercept teams for most of the last three decades. A few other collegiate meteorology programs have participated in individual research projects which last a year or two -- for example, the University of Mississippi's support of the "Sound Chase" program of the early 1980s. Perhaps the greatest field program ever attempted -- V.O.R.T.EX. -- was a collaboration between several university and government units. There are also several individual chasers who collect meteorological data on their own and provide it to research institutions such as NSSL. But again, the great majority of storm chasers are not participating in any kind of formal scientific study, despite the liberal use of the word "research" by many private chaser groups.


What is chaser convergence? A chase crowd? Storm chasers, many of whom know each other through their shared interest and previous encounters in the field, often meet again during a chase day: at a data stop while waiting for convective development, safely parked off a remote stretch of road in the inflow region of a storm, or in some 24-hour diner at 11 pm after the end of a long chase day. That is "chaser convergence," a friendly but safe event. Much different are "chase crowds," unpleasant and often hazardous accumulations of people (many of whom are thrillseeking locals with camcorders) on the roads near a storm. Chase crowds are commonly characterized by unsafe behavior, such as parking in traffic lanes, placing equipment in roadways and blindly pulling back into traffic.



How important is forecasting to chasing? What's the benefit of good forecasting ability? The most consistently successful storm chasers are good severe storms forecasters -- whether or not they do it for a living or have formal meteorological education. They waste much less time and gasoline heading to the wrong area on busts, and often arrive in the best storm potential well before convection begins. Computer models and access to the latest watch and warning information are no substitutes for good forecast skill. Models are often wrong on the scale of severe weather, and people who chase watches and warnings often arrive late and miss much of the most photogenic parts of a storm's lifespan. Having the meteorological insight to be there when storms form is also much safer and less stressful than frantically racing a hundred miles or more toward storms which have exploded in unexpected places! But that's not all...the best chasers also try to forecast storm motion, storm character and storm evolution with the roads and terrain of the target area in mind, in order to consider the best intercept routes and photographic angles. While this kind of advance strategic thinking doesn't always work; over the years it can save lots of time, money and gas, garner better photos and video, and provide a less risky and more enjoyable storm chasing experience.


How does a chaser forecast the target? That's a simple question with no simple answer, because every chaser has different methods. As a general rule, the chase day usually begins unfolding a day or two before, as model forecasts, severe weather outlooks, television reports, and computer model forecasts all begin hinting at an active day ahead. Chaseable severe weather requires some combination of moisture, instability, lift and wind shear -- the four ingredients all organized severe storms need, and which chase forecasters seek. A weakness in one may be compensated for by unusual strength in another; but with a glaring lack of any of those ingredients, storms may be weak or may not form at all. Analyzing surface and upper air data is important as far out as two or three days, to determine where these ingredients are setting up and where they may shift. This continues off and on through the morning of the chase, when the target areas get narower and decisions must be made about when and where to go. If the chaser is already in the general threat area, he/she may be able to continue analyzing weather maps, satellite pictures, upper air soundings and forecast guidance into early afternoon. The chaser is still trying to find the best combination of the four ingredients so that storms can form. Once the chase is underway, most decisions are made by looking at the sky; although some chasers with the technology may download satellite, radar and other observational data on the road, to better pinpoint the target.


What are the features chasers focus on when forecasting supercells and tornadoes later the same day? Anything which can provide enough lift in an environment of favorable instability, moisture and wind shear is fair game. The most common target is the dryline, a boundary between dry and moist air. Warm fronts, outflow boundaries and cold fronts also may provide enough lift for severe thunderstorms, if all other factors are favorable. When the cap is strong, chasers often target intersections of boundaries (say, an outflow/dryline or warm front/dryline intersection), where there is often a local maximum in both lift and shear.


What causes the most "bust" chases? This is no contest: the cap -- a layer of relatively warm and stable air above the surface which stops air parcels from rising any further and becoming thunderstorms. On some days, the cap is too weak, and a squall line quickly erupts for hundreds of miles, greatly reducing the chances of seeing a tornado from an isolated supercell. Sometimes, the cap and lift are both strong, and a few storms do form (such as the 12 May 1996 "I-70" supercell in Kansas). Other days, the cap and lift are both weak, resulting in a seemingly random pattern of chaseable storms (3 May 1999 being an extreme example!). But when the cap is too strong, nothing else matters; it's "bustola" time. Many chasers have driven home sporting a sunburn and festering with frustration when every ingredient was in place -- except enough lift to break the cap. For more details on the cap and how to analyze it, see this tutorial by Tim Marshall.


Of the ingredients for severe thunderstorms, what is most important to a chaser? Without enough of any one of them (instability, lift, moisture and shear), storms may be weak or not form at all. But most chasers are in the hunt for supercells -- the special breed of long-lived, rotating thunderstorms which tend to produce the most and strongest tornadoes. The moisture, instability and lift for thunderstorms is actually rather common in spring and summer; but to get supercells, there must be some vertical wind shear. This is defined as a change in wind direction and speed with height. A change in speed (like with light surface winds and a jet stream overhead) will support severe storms, but a change in direction, particularly in the lowest 6,000 feet of the atmosphere, is an additional element that helps to sustain supercells. An excellent scenario for tornadic storms is where winds are blowing at 15 knots out of the east at the surface, out of the southwest at 40 knots at 5,000 feet, and out of the west at 50 knots at 10,000 feet. Forecasters and chasers tend to measure wind shear using storm-relative helicity (determined using a hodograph), and look for patterns and trends that will set up high helicity values over a threat region. Such conditions will favor rotation in a developing storm. Of course, most supercells do not produce tornadoes!


So how can a chase forecaster separate tornadic from non-tornadic supercell potential? There are no easy answers to what environmental clues separate most tornadic supercells from the rest; but interesting tendencies have been discovered in storm-relative winds, layer shear, lifted condensation level and other sounding-based parameters in the last decade or two. This is why the most dedicated storm chasers also keep up with the science of meteorology, reading the latest severe storms conference preprints, relevant papers in American Meteorological Society journals, and historical scientific references to learn more.



What do storm chasers drive? What are the best storm chasing vehicles? Four-wheel drive SUVs (Broncos, Explorers, Durangos) are the most popular among many chasers for their ability to handle wet, slippery conditions and dirt and gravel roads; although they do have fuel mileage and expense burdens. More frugal chasers, including students, may be seen in older sedans or even compact cars. For chasing purposes, small cars (Civics, Celicas, Escorts) generally have great mileage, but get cramped after long hauls with people and equipment; and they are less safe in the event of a crash. Some chasers use large late-model sedans (Caprices, Crown Vics) for their durability, long-distance comfort, roominess and superior safety; but such cars are also relatively low-mileage and lack four-wheel drive capabilities. Government researchers and tour groups often use large vans; and some researchers use customized trucks for their equipment. Pickups are uncommon because of a lack of protected storage space for electronic gear. The variety of storm chasing vehicles is great; and there have been some very unusual and legendary ones.


How important is good vehicle maintenance and care? The vehicle is the most important piece of equipment; and maintaining it properly is extremely critical to chase success. That is, unless one enjoys standing beside an overheated, steaming heap of junk, in the middle of Motley County, Texas, 20 miles from the nearest town while a big supercell recedes off into the distance. Besides the mere annoyance of being stranded away from the action, breakdowns can cause chasers to lose control of their car or become stuck in a dangerous area of the storm. Chase vehicles don't have to look good; but they must run at peak performance. This means checking and changing all fluids and filters at the manufacturer's recommended intervals, along with all the tune-ups, tire rotations, tire changes and other check-ups for which car owners are responsible. [Any chaser unfamiliar with his/her vehicle's owner's manual is irresponsible.] Always stow plenty of emergency supplies on board for safety and rudimentary repairs. Such supplies can include: flat tire inflation spray, a small fire extinguisher, a properly inflated spare tire (in case of uninflatable flats), screwdrivers and wrenches compatible with the car's parts, a road flare, flashlight with spare batteries, motor oil, coolant, transmission and power steering fluids, brake fluid, extra wiper blades, jumper cables, spare belts and hoses, hose repair kits and/or suitable tape, extra headlights and tail lamps, and a tow chain. At least one chaser on every crew should be familiar with making basic emergency auto repairs.


What are chasers doing about shooting video? Most storm chasers carry at least one video camera as a central component of their equipment, for documenting the storms. Those who market their video may spend thousands of dollars on professional grade video cameras in state-of-the-art digital or betacam formats. Most chasers, however, still use VHS, SVHS, 8 mm or Hi-8 home camcorders; although Digital-8 and DV are becoming inexpensive enough for mass use. Digital video, Digital-8, Hi-8 and SVHS have the greatest resolution and may produce commercial quality video. Still, even the best equipment can't compensate for lousy technique and a lack of knowledge. Chris Novy offers a large and comprehensive list of tips for shooting storm video; and Dave Blanchard has some tips for scientific quality video.


What are chasers doing about still photography? Not as much as in bygone years, with the advent of video cameras. Consistently high-quality still film photography is a degree of difficulty above shooting video -- and perhaps even more sensitive to lack of skill and understanding on the part of the photographer. However, the 35 mm slide still carries greater resolution than any videotape or digital imaging available; and a few chasers have even begun to use medium-format cameras. Recommended camera gear includes multiple 35 mm removable lens cameras with fixed 50 and 28 mm lenses, along with fixed or adjustable zooms out to about 200 mm. Fumbling around with multiple lenses and filters can be difficult and annoying in the heat of the moment, when a tornado churns along in a field several miles away; therefore, a well-organized accessory kit is a must for the serious photographic storm chaser. As for photographic technique, there are as many pieces of advice as there are photographers; however, there are some basics of high-quality still photography which apply to shooting storm scenes. Veteran chaser Chuck Doswell offers outdoor photography advice, as well as a landmark guide to lightning photography. As for cameras and lenses, most name brands (e.g., Canon, Mamiya, Pentax, Minolta, etc.) are good bets; and great bargains can be obtained from second-hand sources like pawn shops and auctions. Fuji E6 films (Velvia, Sensia, Provia) are favored by most chasers; however Kodachrome remains a trusty, durable workhorse in many film photography circles. High-end professional digital cameras have begun to rival 35 mm film and medium-format resolution but remain unaffordable to most storm aficionados. Consumer digital equipment, while of unsuitable grain for commercial or large-print use, are handy ways to document storm scenes for timely uploading to the web or for home printing.


What other equipment is commonly taken on storm chases? The variety of chase equipment is almost limitless; however, some of the same basic components can be found in most chasers' vehicles. Besides cameras and camcorders, basic gear can include: 2-meter and/or weather radios, scanners, miniature TVs, tripods (for still and video cameras), microcassette recorders (for documenting times and locations of severe weather, photos and video scenes), first-aid kits, state and national road atlases, plastic bags (for litter and protecting cameras from dust and rain), and extra film, batteries and videotape. Many chasers have onboard PCs or laptops, cellular phones, GPS tracking, two-way radios (for communicating with other vehicles of a caravan), power adapters and splitters, anemometers, thermometers and hygristors, window-mounting camera brackets, built-in camera holders, and much more.


Where do most storm chasers go? The hub of activity is in central and western Oklahoma, into parts of northwest Texas and the eastern Texas Panhandle. This area has by far the most tornadoes per unit area on the planet; and it also tends to have open spaces for good viewing at a distance. Kansas and eastern Colorado are also favored for the same reasons. Some chasers venture further north into Nebraska and South Dakota during the late spring and early summer months, when the climatological trend of severe thunderstorms shifts northward. There are regional storm chasers from coast to coast, and even in a few other countries.


When is chasing done? Severe storms are most common in the central and southern Plains -- where viewing is best -- during the spring period. March storms often lack much instability or move too fast to chase effectively. April brings some of the first chasable weather, and by May the storms are usually moving slowly enough and instability is at its peak. This continues into the first half of June; but afterwards, the wind fields tend to weaken in the central and southern Plains and the best supercell activity shifts into the northern Plains. Some chasers go to Colorado in July to chase hailstorms and so-called "landspout" tornadoes, which are fairly common there during that month. Overall, the last half of May is statistically the best time to chase. A small secondary peak (within a week or two) of chaseable severe weather sometimes occurs in the Plains in late September or early October. For more details, see Bobby Prentice's analysis of peak chaseable storm periods.


What's the hardest part of many chases? How important is good decision-making? The ideal chase day is where towering cumulus begins bubbling up near a chase team in a clear blue sky, but it's almost never this easy. Often chasers are unable to see the sky due to haze or low cloud layers, or must contend with deciding which of several impressive storms will become severe. Other times, any storms are too far away to see. The hardest part of chasing is being out in the middle of nowhere at 3 in the afternoon, wondering if, where, and when the storms will develop. Make-or-break decisions are made here, and they are what separate the beginners from the experts. Intuition, skill, meteorological knowledge and blind luck all influence whether one will decide to continue driving, go another direction, or stop and wait. The decision can easily make the difference between being 5 miles away from a developing tornado or 50 miles. Some chasers get an extra advantage by using state-of-the-art tools such as laptops, satellite links and cellular phones to get the latest "feel" on the developing weather situation. But there are also a number of highly experienced and respected storm chasers who shun most of the gadgets and simply read the sky to formulate their tactics.


Do chasers use watch boxes to chase? Not the most consistently successful ones. SPC tornado and severe thunderstorm watches are issued a few hours or less before a severe weather episode unfolds, which doesn't give the chaser enough time to get in a good chase position unless storms erupt nearby. Furthermore, watches cover too broad of an area for a chaser to effectively cover. They are designed not for storm chasers, but for emergency managers and the general public to prepare for the posssibility of severe weather. However, they often serve as confirmation of what's going on. If a tornado watch is issued for where a chaser lives, it may alert him or her to a developing situation. The chaser will then retrieve data and decide on a specific destination before venturing out.


When does a chase end? Almost all chasers call off the pursuit at dusk and get back home or motel around midnight -- sometimes later. This means chasers will often cover up to 500 miles in a day. Some chasers will stop at least several miles from the storm to get lightning photos before heading back; but there is a risk of a deadly lightning strike anywhere near thunderstorms.


What and where do chasers eat? Most chasers consume the fatty convenience-store and fast food diet when on the road, in the interest of saving time; however, nutritious eating is not difficult for those willing to run into a local full-service grocery store. Non-perishable groceries can be a great way to save money and maintain healthy eating habits; but the lure of a steaming-hot Allsup's burrito is powerful. After the chase day ends, many chasers can be found congregating in the nearest major town's buffet-style eatery (e.g., Golden Corral or Sirloin Stockade); and 24-hour diners such as Denny's and Kettle are also popular. One of the unique advantages to chasing -- which has nothing to do with weather -- is the opportunity to sample amazingly flavorful local cuisine -- say, a from a German family restaurant in a small Iowa town, or a nostalgic road shack in west-central Texas serving up mesquite-smoked pit barbecue.



What are the most dangerous things about storm chasing? The greatest dangers to storm chasers are not tornadoes, but instead, traffic crashes and lightning. Driving in heavy rain, high wind, dust and/or hail is obviously dangerous, even to the experienced chaser. The only known death of a chaser during an intercept happened in 1985, when an OU student slid off a wet road while trying to avoid a large animal. Even the most careful and conscientious driver may have problems under severe weather conditions -- such as misjudging distance or hydroplaning. The solution should be obvious: Slow down on wet roads, watch for obstacles, animals and other vehicles in unusual and unsafe places; and drive very slowly whan making turns on wet surfaces. Given the hazards -- and the proliferation of inexperienced and reckless drivers around storms, it may be a matter of great fortune that more deaths haven't happened from vehicle wrecks. Lightning is especially insidious because you may never see or hear the bolt which kills you. Even when it doesn't kill, lightning can cause ugly and horrifying aftereffects which may linger for a lifetime and cause permanent disability. Several chasers have been struck by lightning; fortunately, none have died yet. Numerous others have had terrifyingly close calls. Simply being around a thunderstorm implies a heightened lightning danger, as Gene Moore, Chuck Robertson and others discovered on one infamous chase. But good lightning safety practices minimize the threat -- namely, staying inside the closed vehicle whenever possible, and when outside, avoiding being the highest target and touching metal wiring.


How can I practice good storm chasing safety? In general, be alert, aware and have a backup plan for every situation. Dr. Chuck Doswell has prepared an excellent website with storm chasing safety rules which every chaser should know.


Why isn't the tornado the most dangerous thing about storm chasing? Most storms targeted by chasers are LP (low precipitation) or CL (classic) supercells, where the main updraft regions are well-defined, and the development of wall clouds and rapid rotation indicate the presence of a mesocyclone. Even in HP (heavy precipitation) supercells, a dense "bear's cage" of rotating precipitation curtains marks the most dangerous area. So with a little experience, most chasers quickly learn to recognize the areas of a supercell where tornadoes form, and can avoid getting beneath them.


What is "core punching," and is it risky? Sometimes, the shortest route between the chaser and the target is a region of heavy precipitation (rain and hail), the core. Penetrating the heavy precipitation area of a storm is core punching -- and can be very dangerous because of:

  1. Limited roadway visibility, with the accompanying risk of wrecks;
  2. Large hail, potentially damaging or totaling the vehicle;
  3. Loss of the ability to observe storm motion and structure, causing confusion and lack of awareness;
  4. Slowed traveling, causing the chaser to miss the target action anyway; and
  5. Driving into a rain-wrapped tornado, which can cut short a chaser's trip and lifespan rather fast.
It's best left to experienced chasers under very limited circumstances. And consider that even most veterans will avoid core punching in a potentially tornadic supercell -- even if it means missing a tornado.

Are winds a threat? It doesn't matter much whether winds come from a tornado or a downburst, if they are strong enough to overturn a chase vehicle or blow out windows. Winds are a grave risk to inexperienced chasers who get too close to a threat area or are not observing trends in the storm's behavior. It's easily avoided by carefully choosing routes when near a storm and staying aware of the most dangerous downdraft and mesocyclone areas.


What kind of threat is hail? Some chasers enjoy the sight and sound of large hail -- as long as it is not pounding their vehicles. Besides the obvious danger to vehicles and outdoor equipment, giant hail can kill. On 30 March 2000, a softball-size hailstone killed a young man (not a chaser) in Fort Worth. Falls of baseball-sized hail in China have been known to kill hundreds of unsheltered people within five minutes; while on the Great Plains, hailstorms have left dead livestock behind. Likewise, the chaser can become fair game if venturing outside in hail. [It has been said that storm chasers are hard-headed; but our skulls are not that different from anyone else's! :-)] Hail can also pose a traffic hazard by covering a roadway and reducing traction, and by causing hail fog, which temporarily limits visibility. Hail danger can be prevented if the chaser is familiar with road networks and is attentive to storm trends and structure.


Should storm chasers be concerned about flash flooding? Absolutely! Supercells -- especially HPs -- are notorious flash flood producers, as are the thunderstorm complexes and squall lines many chasers encounter during their return to home base at night. Swollen playas (kettle lakes on the southern High Plains) and streams overflowing rural roads have aborted many promising chases. At night, the danger is higher because drivers often do not see flooding across a road until it is too late to avoid driving into the water. Chasers' cars have been flooded out, stranding them; though none have been seriously injured or killed yet.


Is night chasing a problem? Night chasing is an easy danger to avoid if you simply quit chasing at twilight. Only a very few chasers remain active at night, except for lightning photographers maintaining a considerable distance from the storms. Night chasing is like core punching, in that it requires extreme vigilance, awareness of winds and storm behavior, and experience to avoid downbursts, hail shafts, and tornadic circulations. Even some very experienced and respected chasers have almost lost their lives to tornadoes, floods, unexpected severe wind, animals in the road, and lightning while roaming the roads after dark.


What does the vehicle have to do with chase safety? A poorly maintained vehicle can break down at the worst moments, seriously endangering a chaser's life at the worst, and at best, causing great annoyance and inconvenience. Bald or underinflated tires, low coolant, frayed fan belts, overdue timing chains and swollen hoses are vertible time bombs for the automotively ignorant chaser. Keeping lots of gasoline in the tank is important, too, considering the great distances between towns with open gas stations in some parts of the Great Plains. A good place and time to fill up is in the last major town before reaching the target area where storms are expected to form. Leaving a storm to gas up isn't a pleasant prospect; but worse is desperately hunting for a fuel station while running on fumes during an outbreak. Many towns tend to "roll up the sidewalks" by dinner time, and power may be out to some areas (rendering gas pumps dead) during a major severe weather event. Being stranded in the middle of "nowhere" is the most helpless feeling for a storm chaser -- especially when caused by something as fundamentally boneheaded as running out of gas. Finally, many chasers put too much faith in four-wheel drive. While 4WD can be useful on slick roads and in shallow mud, even they can helplessly sink to the floorboards on a remote dirt road rendered to deep mush by a precipitation core.


How much of a hazard is wildlife and livestock on a chase? Enough to kill -- as a terribly unfortunate college student and storm chaser found out back in the mid 1980s. In his case, the animal prompted him to swerve, causing a fatal crash. Several chasers have had close encounters with cattle in roadways; and even a deer can do serious damage to a vehicle and/or cause a nasty wreck. Chasers should also be careful when wandering the roadsides of the plains. The southwest parts of Tornado Alley, particularly in parts of western Oklahoma, the Permian basin of Texas and the Caprock Escarpment near Childress, are infested with rattlesnakes and copperheads. Chasers David Hoadley and Mark Darrow have had close calls with rattlers. From north-central and west-central Texas across the Gulf coast states, innocuous-looking dirt mounds may contain millions of fire ants; they can rise in seconds from the disturbed soil and leave the unsuspecting intruder's feet and ankles covered with hundreds of swarming, stinging ants. One of the authors (RE) even acquired several ticks after trudging through some grass on a Nebraska chase.



Is there a common creed or set of ethics in chasing? Yes. As in many hobbies and recreational outdoor pursuits (e.g., hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing, camping, etc.), storm chasing is covered by basic creeds for the good of the hobby, and for the safety of all who participate. Plus, unlike other outdoor hobbies, storm chasing is highly visible, and uniquely vulnerable to extreme and sensationalistic media promotion. This requires extra conscientiousness by storm chasers about how they behave in the field. Here are some of the basics:

  1. LEARN all you can about safety and severe storm structure and morphology, and share your knowledge with the less experienced as the opportunity permits.
  2. LIMIT data-gathering visits to the National Weather Service. Many chase documentaries feature the casual words: "___'s chase starts here at the National Weather Service". The very issue of chasers using government resources and facilities as a "base" for operations has recently become an item of contention. Some offices have gone so far as to establish a local policy in dealing with chasers. Considering there are tremendous amounts of data available via laptop computers and local libraries with Internet access, it is strongly recommended that you don't begin your chase inside NWS offices. If you really have to visit a NWS office, only one person goes into the operations area and makes his request as brief and courteous as possible.
  3. OBEY laws. The "yahoo" segment has infuriated some law enforcement departments, particularly in Kansas, making responsible chasers more vulnerable to citations and even arrests. This means not, for example, parking or standing in traffic lanes, trespassing on private land to take photos, leaving trash on the ground, giving bogus severe weather reports, or falsely portraying oneself as a government researcher.
  4. MINIMIZE any enthusiastic discussion about severe weather while in mixed company. Remember that many residents in small towns on the Plains have had bad experiences or lost property due to severe weather. This includes one author's (TV) own grandmother, who lost a home near Fort Smith, Arkansas in a tornado.
  5. CONTRIBUTE to the common good by providing your severe weather reports to the National Weather Service (either real-time or later), providing photos or video to storm spotter education efforts, and generally setting a positive example in the field for future newcomers.

Where can I find out more about chase ethics? Why should chasers care? Longtime storm chaser, photographer and professional meteorologist Alan Moller has prepared a thoughtful essay on this topic -- a must-read for any prospective storm chaser -- at http://www.cimms.ou.edu/~stumpf/cethics.html.



How much do chasers get paid? Chasers generally do not get paid to chase. Some people even believe that there are chasers who are paid by corporations to do research, but this is not true. The only exceptions are government or university scientists, video crews, and film crews. A few TV stations pay freelancers to chase for them, either in privately owned vehicles or marked TV news trucks.


How can I get into a career in storm chasing? There is no such thing -- except for a few people who make most of their income as tour guides or from sales of videos, photos and other merchandise. The market for storm chasing related products is simply too small to sustain gainful employment for more than a handful of individuals. Most storm chasers have full-time careers in a variety of other fields, including meteorology.


How much does storm chasing cost? Much of the actual cost depends on the equipment and mode of transportation used; and those are mostly a matter of choice. Chasing is basically as expensive as one chooses to make it, above the basic costs of fuel and lodging for the period of travel. The frugal chaser with one camera, his/her own fuel-efficient car, a sack of non-perishable groceries and little or no electronic equipment, who already lives in Oklahoma and travels within a 300 mile radius, may only spend a few hundred dollars a year on chasing. On the other extreme, some chasers' vehicles alone are packed with tens of thousands of dollars in custom electronics. Then throw in costs of professional grade film and tape, dining out daily and staying at a motel every night for the traveler; and for a spendthrift, the expenses can top $50,000 per annum.


How do chasers pay for it? Most pay for their chasing out-of-pocket. Some chasers cover a portion of their costs through sales of merchandise, including photographic and video imagery. Again, however, the market is not large enough for more than a few chasers to recoup all of their costs this way. Many (but not all) experienced chasers put together a "highlights" tape to sell at the end of each season. They're usually sold for about $15 to 30 postpaid. Video sold to television stations usually runs upwards of $10 to $25 per second; and the rare clip of tripodded, well framed, professional-grade tornado footage may command up to ten times that much. However, this phenomenon may be past its peak; and chasers dreaming of a financial windfall are setting themselves up for failure. General tornado footage is nothing special anymore on the open market; and it is becoming harder to capture and offer truly unique scenes without venturing into the ethically corrupt "death and destruction" realm. On the same token, chasers should always try to contribute their material for free to the NWS, scientific researchers or non-profit educational efforts.


Can I make money off storm chasing? While some consider capitalizing on chases a legitimate way to offset costs, most chasers who have prioritized the need to make money end up frustrated and burned out. This is because of the intense competition for high-quality imagery in a tight, small market. Experienced chasers agree that the effort needed to "cash in" on a chase with valuable photo or video footage is dominated by chance and luck, and the stress from a fortune-seeking chase will erase the fun, adventure, and carefree feeling of roaming the Great Plains. Moneymaking should not be a goal.


Isn't there some hot debate about commercialization of storm chasing? Definitely...and the arguments have raged for several years, especially since the advent of Usenet and the World Wide Web opened the Internet to mass debate forums. There is little doubt on all sides that storm chasing was heavily influenced during the 1990s through video sales and publicity. Many chasers, especially some long-time veterans, consider commercialization of chasing harmful to the hobby, by creating economic and not artistic or scientific motivations, attracting a reckless thrillseeking element (yahoos), "dumbing down" the knowledge base, and causing unsafe accumulations of large crowds on small roads. Others disagree that these problems exist, or that money and video publicity are factors. For more, please see "A Cancer Within" by Rich Thompson and Roger Edwards.



Should I report severe weather I see to the National Weather Service? If so, when? Chasing is not spotting; and chasers have no firm obligation to provide real-time reports. However, those with the capability should do so in the interest of better warnings and science. As long as the information is accurate, yes, provide reports, and if not in real-time, as soon as possible after the event. "Accurate" means measured, not estimated wind and hail, along with exact times to the minute and locations (distance and direction from a town or landmark) of wind, hail and tornado events. No one has the observational skill to consistently estimate to within a few mph of a severe wind gust. [Recent informal trials have shown that even the most battle-hardened chasers and field researchers tend to grossly overestimate winds when compared to instrument measurements from the same vehicle.] Hail can be measured using a ruler or calipers, the natural tendency being to overestimate hail size as well. The more precise and accurate the measurements, the better forecasters can gauge a storm's strength at ground level -- far beneath the lowest scans of some distant radar antenna...and the better our severe weather climatology will be. For tornadoes, give both your location and the apparent distance and direction from your location of the tornado, as well as beginning and ending minutes, damage witnessed (if any) and visual characteristics. Do not, however, venture into damaged areas unless you are trained and equipped to render medical aid, or you are an NWS employee surveying the event with permission from local officials.


How can I give my severe weather reports to the NWS? Many NWS offices in the Plains have HAM radio receivers staffed with licensees during severe weather; and that is probably the most common way to provide reports. If this is an option, be sure to follow local spotter net protocol when doing so, to best ensure your report makes it through. Keith Brewster's guide may help greatly here. Some NWS offices have phone numbers (usable for live cell phone calls) and/or online event submission forms; see this map of all NWS offices for links to their websites. The online forms are especially handy for turning in reports after-the-fact -- say, that night or the next day after arriving at home or at the motel. Most offices also give their postal mailing address on their websites; and they do appreciate photos and video of severe weather in their area for storm documentation and spotter training. Address all severe weather reports and photo/video materials to "Attention: Warning Coordination Meteorologist" at an office's postal address.


How can chasers contribute to better public perception and knowledge of storm chasing through the media? How should a chaser handle interviews? First, any chaser who is uncomfortable doing media interviews should politely turn them down, then if possible, refer the reporter to someone else. A chaser who is nervously stammering away with rambling nonsense, and/or concocting statements on the fly which "sound good," actually looks like a buffoon and does storm chasing more harm than good. Only a small minority of chasers have the speaking skills, knowledge, poise, and interview experience to deliver a convincing, accurate portrayal of storm chasing in usable sound or print bites. The problem we fight here is the tendency, especially in TV, to slant stories toward the thrillseeking, death-and-destruction angle. However, the popular media (TV, radio, newspapers, online media) can be a beneficial vehicle to educate the public about chasing. Prior to an interview, turn the tables and ask lots of questions of the reporter -- about the target audience, story angle, and specific questions you will be asked. Then, if you have agreed to do the interview, take enough time before allowing it to begin to think of sharp, short and authentic answers. Have direct, concise answers ready to emphasize the public and scientific benefits of observing storms; and deflect the interview away from the "danger" angle. For example, "red flag" questions like, "How many tornadoes have you seen?" and, "What's the closest you have ever been to a tornado?" can be steered adeptly into an answer bite on how "Storm chasing is not about notches in the gun and playing bullfighter. My priority is to safely observe, film and track the tornado." And if you don't know an answer, simply say, "I don't know," and leave it at that.



How can I get started in storm chasing? The best advice is don't -- unless you are seriously motivated to learn and contribute to knowledge of severe storms, on top of your desire to witness them. Chasing does not require any sort of license or training. However, it is strongly suggested that you gather experience and knowledge; otherwise it could be a LONG time before you see your first tornado and you may put yourself or others in danger.

  1. First, learning about meteorology (and storm scale meteorology in particular) is strongly suggested. Find current meteorology texts and scientific references, and study! Peruse at length the StormTrack educational resources. Every little bit will help. It is impossible to understand how a severe weather situation will unfold -- and improve your odds for a successful chase -- if you don't know a cold front from a warm front, or a wall cloud from a mesocyclone. [Yes, there is a big difference!]
  2. Second, you'll want to learn effective tactics and techniques from experienced chasers so that you'll know how to react in different situations, keeping you safe and boosting your odds of seeing severe weather. This is difficult right now because of all the exposure from the movie "Twister". There just aren't enough experienced chasers out there compared to the onslaught of newcomers. Regardless, the best way to find a chaser remains to post your "resume" in Storm Track or the Storm Chaser Homepage (see the resources below). Many chasers don't mind bringing an individual along when space permits, however, don't expect the chaser to worry about how you will get to Tornado Alley or where you will stay. You'll need to be flexible. Over the years, some inexperienced chasers have taken it upon themselves to tailgate other chasers without their permission, sometimes having the audacity to demand reams of information or an escort to the tornado. Most chasers who are pestered like that do not appreciate this "chase roach" approach; and some have even stopped and angrily confronted tailgaters. Don't cheat yourself out of developing valuable chasing skills by tailgating.
  3. Third, gain experience as a sky watcher by relating things you witness to the meteorological concepts you study at home. One of the most wondrous experiences of storm chasing is making that connection between processes seen with the eyeballs and a previously unknown meteorological concept. That's the essence of learning in the field, with the sky as your personal laboratory!

Is certification or registration required? Definitely not. No kind of licensing or certification is required. There is no organization that has the authority to sanction or regulate chasing.


Are there any groups or chasers that would let amateurs tag along? This is something that you would have to investigate on your own. In recent years many such requests from uncommitted beginners and journalists and those not willing to travel has overextended the patience of most experienced chasers. Also, many experienced chasers have set crews and/or other valid reasons for not taking beginners which have nothing to do with "elitism." Some of the more well-known chasers are bombarded with such requests and have no way to fit everyone in -- much less filter the requests down to the most compatible, trustworthy and conscientious person(s). It's important to show dedication, flexibility, trustworthiness, a desire to learn, and a commitment to travel.


Can I benefit from storm chasing tours? How do I select a tour operator? If you can afford it, chasing with a reputable storm chase tour outfit is one way to gain experience in the field. Storm tours can be a safe, fun way of getting started. They've also proven to be a unique way of meeting others from all walks of life. Prevailing rates run about $2000-$3000 every two weeks. Slots tend to get booked up quickly, so you'll need to finalize your plans by late winter each season. There is no licensing organization or professional guild yet for storm chasing tours. The industry is small and basically unregulated, which makes it ripe for fly-by-night shysters who give the legitimate tours a bad reputation. Several operations making grandiose claims have appeared out of nowhere in the past two or three years, some of whom have used photos illegally pirated from legitimate tour and chaser sites. On a tour website, watch for these suspicious warning signs: bad spelling or grammar, sloppy website design and organization, lack of contact information, lack of names of actual persons, names unknown to the mainstream storm chasing community, and poor quality imagery. Those are clues of (at a minimum) poorly organized operators, probably worse, and should alert you to take your business elsewhere! Please verify the credentials, insurance, and experience of a tour operator before spending thousands of dollars. Tour operators should carry, and be willing to verify before accepting your money, general liability and commercial-level personal injury protection beyond their state's minimum personal automotive insurance requirements. Ask for at least three independent references who have toured with the group before and who can verify its safety and courtesy. Do your own detective work. A Google search using any names provided can get some insight into meteorological credentials and storm chase backgrounds of those people, as can searching reputable online forums such as Stormtrack.


I can't chase, for whatever reason. What can I do? For those who aren't able to chase, there are some good solutions. Hundreds of people are fascinated by severe weather but don't have the time or money to roam the Plains. Others do, but don't have the confidence or skill to risk getting near a severe storm. There's nothing wrong with this, and here's what can be done:

  1. If you live in the city or near a medium to large sized town, get a scanner radio from Radio Shack, Uniden, etc, that picks up the amateur two-meter band (144-148 MHz), and ask your salesperson to help obtain the Skywarn frequency for your area. When strong storms are threatening, you'll be able to listen to emergency management volunteers as they keep an eye on the situation. Make sure you don't get so caught up in the action that you miss out on an official warning for your location.
  2. If your interest is strong and you have some cash (for equipment) time, contact your nearest National Weather Service office or emergency management agency. Let them know you're interested in getting an amateur radio license and participating in your local Skywarn spotting program. They'll put you in touch with the right people who can help you get started. Two good things about spotting -- Morse code knowledge is no longer needed to participate, and spotting overall is safer and more organized than chasing.
  3. Become a detective. When you see tornado watches out for your area or somewhere on the plains on the Weather Channel, use whatever weather data you can obtain to educate yourself about the "meteorology" behind the situation (there's much more to it than what they show you on TV). Try predicting exactly where the severe weather will occur, then check the reports on TV late during the evening and see how well you did. Read through meteorology material to learn more about what you're doing. This is a great way to learn, especially if you're eventually planning to chase. Even experienced forecasters and chasers do this to sharpen their skills. On the Internet, a good start is the StormTrack links library, which includes meteorology tutorials and data sources.


Are there films or videos I can get which tell the real story of storm chasers? There are hundreds of storm chasing videos that can be found online through Google searches or by browsing storm chaser websites. Unfortunately, most of them for sale in stores and catalogs (even from "educational" outlets) are very misleading -- featuring non-stop tornadoes or heavily emphasizing thrillseeking and danger. They have little or no mention of safety, forecasting skill, learning, and the long days and weeks of travel which often yield no tornadoes. That's not as entertaining as nonstop tornado action to the storm video market.


What are some books about storm chasing? There aren't many books which deal primarily, or even devote significant space to, storm chasing; and some may be out of print. A few titles are provided below, alphabetically by author, with their Amazon links (if available) or direct links (if available) for more information. [NOTE: This FAQ doesn't endorse any of these tomes; however, they have been deemed informative and beneficial by many in the community.]

  1. Bedard, Richard: In the Shadow of the Tornado: Stories and Adventures from the Heart of Storm Country. Gilco Publishing, ISBN: 0964952718.
  2. Bluestein, Howard: Tornado Alley: Monster Storms of the Great Plains. Oxford Univ. Press, ISBN: 0195105524.
  3. Faidley, Warren: Storm Chaser: In Pursuit of Untamed Skies. Independent Publishers Group, ISBN: 1888763000.
  4. Vasquez, Tim: Storm Chasing Handbook. [direct] Weathergraphics.
  5. Verkaik, Arjen and Jerrine: Under the Whirlwind: Everything You Need to Know About Tornadoes but Didn't Know Who to Ask. [direct] Whirlwind Books, ISBN: 0968153704.

How can I talk about chasing with others online? Can I get anything useful in the chat rooms and listservs? Yes, if you are willing to filter out a great deal of noise. There are several news and chat groups, along with numerous web sites and a small web ring, devoted to storm chasing. StormTrack maintains a list of them as well as its own chat room; but beware of the reliability and accuracy of the information in these newsgroups and chats! For example, the main group, WX-CHASE, varies vastly in quality from funny and informative to useless or downright hateful. The "lowest common denominator" of weather-related chat rooms is shockingly primitive. To borrow from one of the authors' (RE) essays, many such posts are so horribly written that they make it seem like the author needs to be working very hard on his G.E.D., not roaming loose on the highways around storms as an "amature tornadoe hunter" and putting all of us at peril. Occasionally, however, someone may post a splendid meteorological tutorial, gripping chase summary or handy equipment tip. As for chase-related websites, the best bet for consistently reliable information is to stick with StormTrack and the individual web pages of the most experienced chasers. Commercial storm-chase websites intrinsically have a primary profit motive -- of convincing you to spend money. As such, they are good for buying merchandise, but not necessarily for gaining much insight about observing storms.



To find places in the Storm Chasing FAQ where these subjects were mentioned, just click on the numbers following each. [Note that numbers are not necessarily in chronological order. The main reference to a topic is given first.] To return to the Index after clicking on a number, hit the BACK button on your browser.

Animals (hazard): 1

Appeal (of storm chasing): 1

Bear's cage: 1

Bedard, Richard: 1

Blanchard, Dave: 1

Bluestein, Howard: 1

Books: 1

Brewster, Keith: 1

Bust: 1, 2

Cameras: 1

Chaser convergence: 1

Chat rooms: 1

Definition (of storm chaser): 1

Driving: 1

Dryline: 1

Cameras: 1

Cap (a.k.a. lid or inversion): 1

Careers: 1

Chase crowds: 1

Chaser convergence: 1

Certification: 1

Classic (supercell): 1

Core punching: 1

Cost: 1

Crowds: 1

Dangers: 1

Decisions (strategic): 1

Discussion groups (online): 1

Doswell, Chuck: 1, 2

Edwards, Roger: 1, 2, 3

Equipment: 1

Ethics: 1

Expense: 1

Faidley, Warren: 1

Flooding: 1

Food: 1

Four-wheel drive: 1, 2

Forecasting: 1

Gasoline: 1

Hail: 1

HAM radio: 1

Helicity (storm-relative): 1

Hoadley, Dave: 1, 2, 3

HP (heavy precipitation) supercell: 1

Inversion (a.k.a. cap, lid): 1

Jensen, Roger: 1

Licensing: 1

Lightning: 1, 2, 3

LP (low precipitation) supercell: 1

Marshall, Tim: 1

Maintenance (automotive): 1

Media (popular/news): 1

Meteorology: 1

Moller, Al: 1

Moore, Gene: 1

National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL): 1, 2, 3

National Weather Service (NWS): 1, 2, 3, 4

Night chasing: 1

Novy, Chris: 1

Occupations (of storm chasers): 1

Oklahoma, University of: 1, 2

Photography (still): 1

Reasons (for storm chasing): 1

References, scientific: 1

Reporting (severe weather): 1

Research: 1, 2

Resources: 1

Robertson, Chuck: 1

Safety: 1

Science: 1

Shear, vertical wind: 1

Spotters: 1

Storm Prediction Center: 1, 2

StormTrack: 1

Strategy: 1

Supercell: 1

Thompson, Rich: 1

Thrillseekers: 1, 2

Tornadoes: 1, 2, 3, 4

TOTO (TOtable Tornado Observatory): 1

Tours: 1

"Twister" (movie): 1

Vasquez, Tim: 1

Vehicles: 1, 2

Verkaik, Arjen & Jerrine: 1

Video (shooting): 1

Videos (about chasing): 1

Wall cloud: 1

Ward, Neil: 1

Watches (severe thunderstorm and tornado): 1

Websites: 1



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thanks to the following for their contributed data, illustrations, and/or critical suggestions so far (alphabetical order): Glenn Dixon, Tim Marshall, NSSL.

Storm Track - Storm Chaser Home Page

SPC Forecasts

Stormeyes (hosting site)

Contact the Lead Author