Disclaimer: We accept no responsibility for your actions after reading this article. Mother nature is a very dangerous thing, and should be treated as such. Storm chasers in real life are very highly trained personnel that take extreme risks for the protection of others from the most dangerous weather on earth. The decision to place yourself intentionally in front of or close to any storm of any caliber should be a very educated decision. Death or serious injury could result from your ignorance of the specifics of a storm. We make our decisions based on training that both of us have received from different entities, and are in no way encouraging others to participate in this way. This article is strictly for entertainment purposes only. DO NOT TRY THIS ON YOUR OWN!
Over the years we have grown extremely fascinated with severe weather. This lead us to seek out training as well as personal research, and resulted in us enjoying a mild form of storm chasing. From time to time when possible, we will chase a severe storm both for personal entertainment, and to document the storm for research purposes. We also work with local entities to assist with warning people in the path of the storm.
Today was one of those days. While relaxing at home, we got word of some storms moving into the area. After some cloud watching, it was obvious that we would soon be dealing with a possible severe storm. Grabbing our gear we headed out to see what we could get on camera.
After some radar work, we got in position for some photography. Nothing was going right, as the storm seemed to be splitting around us, leaving me chasing the tail flashes of every lightning bolt in the sky. We made the decision to head south and get in front of the storm in hopes of getting some good shots, but with dark quickly approaching, we didn’t have much time. Diving smoothly into the rain belt we were soon in torrential rain. We found a nice location and set up for the storm . It was one of the most impressive electrical storms I have seen in a long time. If the storm would have passed a few days later (July 4th) it would have been as fitting and any fireworks display in the country.
The lightning flashed in every inch of the sky, with huge blue and white cloud to ground bolts dropping all around us. Mind you were were in the safety of our vehicle. The storm continued for several minutes with wind and rain blasting the entire time. From the dark parking lot atop a hill in the middle of the country we had the perfect vantage point. The rain was so heavy that the photography and videography was not possible. Without many other options, we simply sat back and enjoyed the show mother nature had for us.
Its important to remember, especially for hikers and other outdoorsmen, that for all the beauty mother nature has, there always remains an extreme possibility for danger. The power released during a severe thunderstorm is immense. Its humbling to see in general, but from such a vantage point, and experience that neither of us will soon forget.
Storm chasing in general is a somber event. You feel the rush and love the excitement of what is occurring, but at the same time, everyone somewhere in the back of their minds, feels compassion for the people hurt during the storms. We are not excited for the damage that is caused, and would prefer that all storms occur over open fields, but we realize that this is not possible, and that people are hurt in many ways by such activity. We feel very much for these people, and one of the main reasons we do what we do is to assist in providing information for the weather services to provide better warnings, as well as video and pictures to use in the research of severe weather. In a perfect world these storms would simply be grand shows on huge stages, but they are not. They are in fact, very dangerous to our society, and to anyone in their paths.
To all the other chasers out there, I hope you are doing this for the right reasons. It takes people like you, like us, to improve the safety for everyone. God bless, and stay safe. To everyone else, the next time a storm rolls through your area, watch it carefully, and remember that its very possible that someone is chasing it as it passes.