Building on Common Ground: Resolve

Storm Chasers, Storm Spotters, SKYWARN North & South, and Espotters.
They have a lot more in common than not


As a new member to STORMTRACK, I have a chance to say something that I couldn't have said when I was reading it for the last couple of years. But now that I am an eSpotter and a member of STORMTRACK and now wish to reflect on some of these issues here.
Input is more than welcome from all on this point...

It my belief that the common ground in all of this is simply the STORM - and how it affects people....

A tornado can drive thru a community and destroy homes, businesses, vehicles, general infrastructure, and people's lives. As well as people.
All that storm spotting and chasing can hope to do is to warn people.
The volunteers that make up these aforementioned groups all share this common goal.

I don't believe that the NWS or the US Gov't is at fault with the perceived loss of continuity in these groups. They certainly don't find fault with chasers (some WFO's communicate with them directly); so where is the center of the problem?

Communities that have in the past looked down upon storm chasers need to realize that they also can help the warning system and give them respect for their presence, knowledge, interest, and the fingers that calls it in. Emergency Managers have mixed feelings twards the chaser; is he/she perhaps throwing away and speaking ill of those who are of the warning process and fails to realize their real value to the communities they invariably protect? I know that the EM that I spot for appreciates my interests and appreciates my phone calls. But mileage varies from state to state, and from community to community. It is my perception that a lot can yet be done to make small towns as safe as large ones. I cannot say that I have the answers; I am hoping those members of STORMTRACK can weigh in on these matters and offer construction criticisms and offer timely and constructive ideas and thoughts.

:D
 
I've not seen too many EM's "speak ill" of spotters or chasers... I'm not sure I follow where your post is going?
Clarification:

Who is it then - speaks ill of storm chasers if it isn't the EM's or the police/fire? It's not the storm spotter that has caught the grief from the press. But it has been storm chasers - that has been troubled by accusations and insinuations of their actions. Some chasers still face/will face ill will while invariably helping out communities while chasing.
People have complained in the past of vast numbers of chaser convergence.
Or is it the communities themselves that don't have a grip?
Why should chasers be blamed for what they do in the process of a chase - if it isn't illegal?

I am attempting to point out the whos and whys that keep a greater good for occurring.. If storm chasing/storm spotting can become more harmonious - what would you do or say that you feel can have a positive impact? It just seems that with so many people chasing and spotting that there couldn't be a better arrangement and a better meeting of minds. It all seems so ludicris to me - IMHO.

Is this clearer now?
My Apologies for any misunderstanding - Sorry!
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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It's mostly CHASERS that complain about chaser convergence... Spotters don't converge since they are in one spot or dispatched to a specific part of the county.

Communities complain about chaser convergence because Joe Public drives out in his pickup, parks in the middle of the road with the doors open and blocks emergency vehicles. That's something that should be complained about.
 

Mike Hollingshead

If some local EM or spotter wants to wash my car every so often I will like them more. Just a fwiw. Otherwise they'll remain like every other person to me, not terribly important, unless I know them...see them frequently.....etc. It's all pretty silly imo. People won't like people, and some will lump....
 
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Apr 4, 2006
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Rob W. has a point. It would also help the image of both storm spotting and chasing if everybody would remember that we all contribute to the science and warning process, instead of sniping at one another, as has occurred in past threads. Regardless of whether you chase and photograph storms in the plains, or spot them locally, each of us have a level of training, education, and experience that helps contribute to the process. That's the common thread.
 
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Jason Foster

I've not seen too many EM's "speak ill" of spotters or chasers... I'm not sure I follow where your post is going?
There are certainly a few from the Office of Emergency Management and Skywarn that have been vocal about their dislike of Storm Chasers here in the DC area....in particular Montgomery County, Maryland. I wish I had a tape recorder for some of the comments I've heard at times. I'll just have to remember to bring one next time I'm around these folks.
 

Jeff Rector

I am a EM director for Tillman County in OKlahoma,although I do have volunteer spotters throughout the county it is a added bonus to have chasers that come into your county giving reports of the storms they are on.I appreciate the work of both the spotter and the chasers.The underlying problem for me is what was discussed in earlier threads about,with the chasers that I do not know are they actually seeing what they are reporting.I can say my experiences with both spotters and chasers for the last 14 years has been good experiences,except for the occasional "know-it-all" spotter/chaser.
 
Dec 18, 2003
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There are certainly a few from the Office of Emergency Management and Skywarn that have been vocal about their dislike of Storm Chasers here in the DC area....in particular Montgomery County, Maryland. I wish I had a tape recorder for some of the comments I've heard at times. I'll just have to remember to bring one next time I'm around these folks.
I didn't realize that storm chasers/chasing was such a big issue in that tornado hotbed of Maryland/DC! I need to start forecasting outside the box looks like.
 
There are certainly a few from the Office of Emergency Management and Skywarn that have been vocal about their dislike of Storm Chasers here in the DC area....in particular Montgomery County, Maryland. I wish I had a tape recorder for some of the comments I've heard at times. I'll just have to remember to bring one next time I'm around these folks.
Wow you guys have strong chaser convergence in DC? Is it as bad as when foreign diplomats get a 50 car escort through the area and shut down traffic? I'm a bit amazed that a skywarn group would say anything of the such, especially in a place with a lot worse traffic related issues. But even though I'm amazed - I'm not really doubting you.

The only people that I've really heard complaining about chaser convergence is other storm chasers oddly enough. I can think of maybe 2 days at best - both in central KS when I can recall hearing someone complain about "all the storm chasers" and one of those issues was related to the checkout line at a convenience store counter. But in my opinion this issue usually pops up due to someone afraid of their thunder getting taken from them...whether it be a spotter, or a chaser or at least it seems that way.

-Brian Barnes
 
Feb 5, 2009
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I know of a couple situations that happened locally to some county LEO's where they found the road blocked by some tornado tour groups as they were trying to get somewhere they were needed. They were delayed in getting there because they had to wait for all the people to get off the road with their cameras and tripods as well as get the vans to the side of the road.
Now even though they were tourists, it cast a shadow over chasers in general.
I think most chasers are good people with good intentions but a few bad apples can spoil it for everyone. I was able to observe the DOW/TIV caravan in May of 2008 and I can say that can be very overwhelming, not so much the core group, but all the tag-alongs that end up following them.
It would seem that since all the media exposure with storm chasing shows has increased, the number of recreational chasers has increased greatly and that is where a lot of the problems come from. Too many are treating storms like an amusement park ride that is all fun and games when it is dealy serious business. Last year my hometown (Ellis Ks) came very close to being heavily damaged but luckily, for whatever reason, the tornado (1/2 mile wide) that was bearing down on town lifted and only dropped small fingers as it passed. There was still some damage but not what it could have possibly been. I learned later that some friends of ours that farm southwest of Ellis had lost their home, but they were ok in their storm cellar. It always makes me realize how quickly lives can be changed by a couple of minutes of wind. We ended up with no electricity for about 4 days but that was better than being


The following video is one I think that shows how it has degraded from helping people to being an amusement park ride.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbN-B5EzlMw
 
Jun 21, 2004
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I was able to observe the DOW/TIV caravan in May of 2008 and I can say that can be very overwhelming, not so much the core group, but all the tag-alongs that end up following them.
From the couple times I saw them in the field last year, most of the caravan behind them looked to be Discovery Channel film units and support crew. I've no doubt they attract tagalong chasers, though. Imagine how fun it'll be this year once Vortex 2 gets cranked up. :) Caravans that big can't be helped for the kinds of research they're trying to do.