Storm Chasing 101

If you’re interested in getting involved in storm chasing, storm-chaser Tony Perkins offers these top tips:

Take a Skywarn training class.

Most of these are free and offered through government agencies every spring. This will help you identify server weather correctly, report it, and most of all make you aware of your potentially dangerous surroundings.

Educate yourself.

Read, read, read – the more you know about storms, the better you’ll do at spotting “the perfect storm.”

Join storm-chasing forums or groups on the internet. (Storm Track is a good one). Or ride along with an experienced storm chaser to learn the ropes.

WHN TIP – Storm Chasing Tours: Not sure if storm chasing is right for you? Give it a whirl and try a storm chasing tour. Keep in mind that you might not see anything and they can be quite expensive ($1000-$2000, according to StormTrack.org). Type “storm chasing tours” in a search engine to find one in your area.

Prepare for your travels.

  • Buy a NOAA weather radio and bring it along for the ride. It will be your basic source of information. (Read 4 FAQs About a NOAA Weather Radio for more details and options available.)
  • Bring roadmaps, especially ones with detailed county roads as well as your GPS system.
  • Pack snacks and beverages because you may go a long time without a food stop.
  • Be patient. It’s been said that for every trip that results in a seen tornado, you’ll have 9 other trips where you will not.

Drive carefully!

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.

Slow down on wet roads, watch for obstacles, animals and other vehicles in unusual and unsafe places; and drive very slowly when making turns on wet surfaces.

Thanks, Tony! Want to read about Tony’s experiences? Go here.