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(Portland Press Herald)   Good news: New technology lets anyone become a storm chaser. Bed news: ANYONE can become a storm chaser. "There were morons out there. There were plenty"   (pressherald.com) divider line 19
    More: Obvious, drive-in theater, severe storm, emergency services, storm watch  
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6564 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Apr 2012 at 10:29 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-04-22 08:16:26 AM
7 votes:
I don't care if some hillbilly wants to Darwin his family "so's we can get little Earnhardt's picture with a ternader what for the Facebook," but when some poor 19-year-old National Guardsman has to risk HIS life to get that brain-dead family out then it's everyone's problem.
2012-04-22 07:53:46 AM
3 votes:
Why is everyone getting worked up. This is clearly a self correcting problem.

Besides, think of all the great video we could get. Give them a helmet mount GoPro and then recover the footage when we find their body.
2012-04-22 11:13:53 AM
2 votes:

SwiftFox: Not sure really. Nova? National Geographic? Anyway, TV documentary about a guy who had a Doppler radar unit on a vehicle and trying to get very up close images of tornadoes to find out why they form.


If the guy had a Doppler-on-wheels, he wasn't just any 20-something storm chaser. He was most likely a researcher from the University of Oklahoma and may have had special documentation regarding dragging a million-dollar piece of equipment into severe storms. If I had to hazard a guess I'd say it was either Howie Bluestein or Joshua Wurman.
2012-04-22 11:10:54 AM
2 votes:

SwiftFox: I was under the impression that you could get get official storm-chasing documents. Allowing you to exceed the speed limit, "authorizing" you to turn around in limited access highway medians.

Is this a state-by-state thing, does anyone know? It doesn't tornado where I am often enough for anyone to chase locally.


Never heard of this. My dad was a storm chaser for the Sedgwick Co sheriff's dept in the 70s. He was a deputy and did take a few liberties with the speed limit. I went out with him and we chased with police radios and no doppler radar. What was done then was vital to safety- a storm spotter was the first warning. Probably a child endangerment charge in there somewhere but it was kinda cool. I'm guessing what you are talking about are LEOs.
2012-04-22 11:00:12 AM
2 votes:
Has any non-professional ever been killed or even hurt chasing a storm? I really don't think these gawkers are getting in anyone's way. My impression of some volunteer emergency responders is that they feel pretty full of themselves and don't want anyone horning in on their action, especially the general public. Makes them feel a little less special.
2012-04-22 10:53:17 AM
2 votes:

reillan: When we go out, we don't intentionally put ourselves in harm's way - we put ourselves in a position to watch the storm without running stupid risks.

If any idiot can do it, they're endangering themselves and others around them.


It does remind me of the scene in Jaws where the Amity dock is filled with every redneck moron within 50 miles trying to kill the shark for the reward money.
2012-04-22 10:41:44 AM
2 votes:
Could we have a new Twister movie where all the stupid people get killed off in various funny and bizarre ways, ala "Scary Movie"?
2012-04-22 02:08:48 PM
1 votes:

Aigoo: sk8r: SwiftFox: I was under the impression that you could get get official storm-chasing documents. Allowing you to exceed the speed limit, "authorizing" you to turn around in limited access highway medians.

Is this a state-by-state thing, does anyone know? It doesn't tornado where I am often enough for anyone to chase locally.

Never heard of this. My dad was a storm chaser for the Sedgwick Co sheriff's dept in the 70s. He was a deputy and did take a few liberties with the speed limit. I went out with him and we chased with police radios and no doppler radar. What was done then was vital to safety- a storm spotter was the first warning. Probably a child endangerment charge in there somewhere but it was kinda cool. I'm guessing what you are talking about are LEOs.

And often still is, since the radar network does not and cannot cover the entire US. (Anyone watch Nova two weeks ago that covered last years tornado season?)

NWS trains spotters for just this reason. If you're not trained, get off the farkin road and watch Storm Chasers or, in OKC, News 9.


The core purpose of storm chasers seems to have undergone a radical shift. We weren't interested in CATCHING the storm, just spotting it and projecting the track for warning purposes. Spot it, track it and GTFO. 15 years of fun and not a single photo to show for it.

Have to brag on dad- he set off a few small town muni sirens himself when the need arose- he had their keys. Like to have never lived down setting of an air raid siren pattern once. Got those farkers to their basements though. Duck and cover!
Mog
2012-04-22 12:36:47 PM
1 votes:
I think the public gets the wrong idea about storm chasing from those awful TV shows with people essentially core-punching super cells. If one knows the science (as well as the current environment setup) well, they can put themselves away from danger every time.

That said, I certainly wouldn't say I was saving lives when I used to go chasing (I haven't been in a few years). There's something messed up about getting giddy over seeing a tornado, then shortly after seeing people's houses/businesses destroyed.
2012-04-22 11:54:15 AM
1 votes:

LouDobbsAwaaaay: AbbeySomeone: Generation_D: I grew up in the midwest, when it was still considered smart to seek shelter during tornadoes unless you were TRAINED EMERGENCY PERSONNEL. Not some effing halfwit storm chaser and his $200,000 tardmobile.

I would be in favor of laws making it illegal to be on the road unless you were running from a storm or seeking cover, or part of emergency rescue.

Storm chasing is a dumbass hobby and people can and do get hurt, and not just the ones doing it.

Simple solution - mandatory lockdown when any storm is possible? Get to the approved shelters citizen!

Seriously. Sirens go off in every city in the county if a tornado is spotted in any part of the county. So now I'm going to be ticketed for driving on the road because a supercell clipped the county border 40 miles away? It just sounds like an opportunity for local police to raise revenue on a ticketing spree every time we get a thunderstorm in the summer. Will they be enforcing the law during every severe storm watch? It will be illegal to drive for 25% of the summer.

Great idea.


That may be true where you live, but it's not true here in the Tulsa metro or most anywhere else in northeast Oklahoma. It is up to each city's Emergency Management in coordination with both the National Weather Service and the local spotter network whether or not the sirens in a particular city -- and even in a particular area of a particular city -- are sounded.

Sadly, though, that did not seem to be the case in Joplin. The loss of life in the Joplin tornado can be in part directly connected to exactly that mistake -- sirens that were sounded all over Joplin for a smaller tornado in the far northwest part of the city, and people thought it was a false alarm when the sirens were sounded in town for the second and more devastating event because there was absolutely no indication in the first event... also, the NWS office that covers Joplin is 75 miles away in Springfield, and I don't know for certain whether they have the same type of spotter network with the same connection to their regional NWS office.

Mentat: Any minute now, some Junior Tornado Ranger will be in here talking about how their efforts SAVE LIVES DAMNIT AND THE SCIENTISTS DON'T OWN NATURE!


I won't promote myself as a Junior Tornado Ranger, but I am a trained storm spotter, and part of a network of spotters who report their observations directly to the National Weather Service office in Tulsa when warranted during severe storm events. There are specific criteria involved for reporting. Each year we attend training delivered by the NWS so we understand what to look for and how to report it. We also review any major storm events in the NWS Tulsa reporting area and any lessons that could be learned from it.

Note that I didn't say 'chaser', but rather 'spotter'. Radar can not indicate the presence of a tornado on the ground. At best, it can indicate a mesocyclone in a storm. Spotters are crucial to reporting to the NWS what is happening on the ground so that they can correlate it to what they see on their radars. Generally we deploy at predetermined locations (predetermined by NWS and by local emergency management) and report our observations as requested or needed. In some cases we are asked to move to other locations either by NWS or local emergency management. When an observation is made that warrants the sirens to be activated, the local emergency management coordinators are the ones who make those decisions, and they are made for specific areas rather than across the county or other area not likely to be affected. Our movements are communicated to local law enforcement, who generally don't take kindly to the kind of idiocy referred to in TFA.

We also have trained chasers -- most of them are either very experienced chasers or professional meteorologists -- in the network who report as well. None of them are thrillseekers. While some have gotten spectacular images, I can say with some confidence that all of us are more interested in public safety then we are about having our video shown on The Weather Channel.

And, yes, I hope we do save lives. It's worth it. I didn't look at your profile to see what part of the world you live in, but if you've lived through a tornado event you'd understand and your'd be a lot less snarky about those who do it because they are truly trying to do public service.
2012-04-22 10:58:02 AM
1 votes:

SwiftFox: I was under the impression that you could get get official storm-chasing documents. Allowing you to exceed the speed limit, "authorizing" you to turn around in limited access highway medians.

Is this a state-by-state thing, does anyone know? It doesn't tornado where I am often enough for anyone to chase locally.


I've never heard of this and a Google search comes up with nothing. Where exactly did you hear about this?
2012-04-22 10:52:19 AM
1 votes:
[Rant]
I honestly think some of this is Weather Channel programming. For example, right now The Weather Channel in the North East is running this "OMG! WESTERN NEW YORK IS GONNA DIE FROM A SNOWSTORM! POWER LINES WILL BE DOWN! TREES WILL FALL! ARRGHHH!" programming, even going so far as to have the weather channel spokesmodels complain on the air that none of the local papers had the weather on the front page this morning...when NOAA has already downgraded the forecast to "meh, Buffalo might get 2 inches of snow over the next 36 hours, but the lake is 46 degrees and it's going to melt, but it might be slippery driving for a while."
What we have is WALL TO WALL coverage of Aprilsnowaggedon, and what we're getting is a rainstorm with some flakes, but flurries of weather reporters incoming.
Eventually I think everyone is going to realize the weather channel is full of shiat, and this storm chasing, every storm is the storm of the century, every tornado is the tornado that ended the world, let's wreck our car in the hailstorm fashion thing will be seen as the silly fad it is, and the silly fad THEY STARTED.
[/Rant]
2012-04-22 10:50:03 AM
1 votes:

Crosshair: Why is everyone getting worked up. This is clearly a self correcting problem.


Some of us are actual trained storm chasers...

There's a big difference. When we go out, we don't intentionally put ourselves in harm's way - we put ourselves in a position to watch the storm without running stupid risks.

If any idiot can do it, they're endangering themselves and others around them.

/to be completely fair, I haven't done it in a long time...
2012-04-22 10:46:09 AM
1 votes:

AbbeySomeone: Generation_D: I grew up in the midwest, when it was still considered smart to seek shelter during tornadoes unless you were TRAINED EMERGENCY PERSONNEL. Not some effing halfwit storm chaser and his $200,000 tardmobile.

I would be in favor of laws making it illegal to be on the road unless you were running from a storm or seeking cover, or part of emergency rescue.

Storm chasing is a dumbass hobby and people can and do get hurt, and not just the ones doing it.

Simple solution - mandatory lockdown when any storm is possible? Get to the approved shelters citizen!


Seriously. Sirens go off in every city in the county if a tornado is spotted in any part of the county. So now I'm going to be ticketed for driving on the road because a supercell clipped the county border 40 miles away? It just sounds like an opportunity for local police to raise revenue on a ticketing spree every time we get a thunderstorm in the summer. Will they be enforcing the law during every severe storm watch? It will be illegal to drive for 25% of the summer.

Great idea.
2012-04-22 10:42:00 AM
1 votes:
"Jo. Things go wrong. You can't explain it, you can't predict it. Killing yourself wo'nt bring your dad back. I'm sorry that he died, but that was a long time ago. You gotta move on. Stop living in the past, and look what you got right in front of you."

They're all just trying to channel their guilt because Daddy died during the twister and they didn't.
2012-04-22 10:41:31 AM
1 votes:
As someone who had been really close to getting hit by tornados on several occasions, anyone who would intentionally go looking for them needs a good swift cock punch.
2012-04-22 10:35:53 AM
1 votes:

Generation_D: I would be in favor of laws making it illegal to be on the road unless you were running from a storm or seeking cover, or part of emergency rescue.


Well that would be a stupid law.
2012-04-22 09:15:01 AM
1 votes:

cheap_thoughts: Some of the people quoted in the article are contributing to the problem as well. And they have the nerve to believe they're above themselves? Cabbage muffs all of them!


One of those dumb shows on cable had guys trashing each other over their relative qualifications be be driving around after tornadoes, as if that rally required a PhD in meteorology. These guys were all idiots.
2012-04-22 08:20:38 AM
1 votes:
If they are chasing storms from their beds, how is it anyone's problem?
 
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