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Too many chasers and safety?

Shawn Gossman

Skywarn Forum Owner
Staff member
Thread starter #1
Over the years, the increase of storm chasers has grown rapidly especially since smartphones now have decent enough cameras for chasers to be able to get their claim to fame. Do any of you feel that the increase of storm chasers creates a concern for safety? Is it too dangerous to chase storms these days because of all the chasers who flood out to the storms?
This is the reason I started to use the term Mobile Spotter. I do feel it has, and continues to create a concern for everyone's safety. As you mentioned with the rise of even our cell phones having better cameras, and the glorification of chasing from some movies every spotter and chaser out there are aware of, people are flocking for their 10 seconds of fame that money shot that they almost died to get because "internet fame", and because of this many don't know what the flip they're doing. Now not all new chasers, nor old are like this, and I know several that sit through college classes on meteorology, along with as much written material as they can so they both understand and respect what they are going after while being safe etc.

That said the bulk, at least from my perspective, are a hazard to us and the public at large. They clog up main road ways trying to get that "Money Shot" (which can and will make it harder for rescue crews to get through to save people), put themselves in harms way potentially putting first responders in harms way, because they have to come pull the dumb dumb out of whatever trouble they put themselves in, which in turn puts the public in harms way because a rescue crew had to come to them for being idiots instead of john doe down the street who lives in the town and has his house on top of him and his family. I've only heard of one or two instances where some "Chaser" chased off a spotter for getting in their way (might have been the same just read two separate articles on it thinking it was two its been a few years).
If you want to chase learn it study it understand it. Go out with a reputable chaser(s) and/or storm spotter(s) put your knowledge to the test with those whom have it and have experience utilizing it in the field.

(Apologies if this seems more of a rant just kind of a pet peeve of mine.)

Mike C

I assume this problem is mostly in the plain states?

But yes, to many spotters and chasers can cause a huge safety issue on roads. Thankfully I live in a community that has doesn't have this problem.
This is a problem a major one. Movies glorify the chase (after all it's Hollywood and they want to make their millions) And even Discovery Channel's Stormchasers (same thing Discovery is in the making money business), though they had the Warning at the beginning of the show has made it look easy.
And many people don;t fully understand the risks. I recall a few times Shawn Casey and even Reed Timmer with their armored vehicles didn't get to close cause they knew the tornado was to strong.
Even myself I have ran from storms (I hate to admit it), but I'd rather live to fight another day (live to chase another day) as the old saying goes.
And people don;t understand that. They just want that quick fame, be the cool person. It's sad. It gets people hurt or even killed, then makes those of us that go out for the science or to give the NWS and EM the ground truth so they can give the public timely warnings a bad name.