Chaser convergence- getting even worse.

A financial barrier in hopes that you'll have less chasers on the road? Hmm....
Somewhat of a financial barrier, more of a gamble if you're not willing to spend.
That goes against the very premise of an open society.
Can't wait til they make the turnpikes free then. Just saying lots of things that were free are being charged for these days.
I'm not following your line of thinking... You suggest that people would see a HIGH RISK from SPC yet would NOT drive across three states because they don't have model data? I'll straight out call that as wrong.
If you have a high risk from Nebraska to Texas and didn't want to spend the money on forecasting, even if it didn't stop one chaser from coming you don't think they'd be spread out on targets just a bit more if some were going just by an SPC target?
Sure, because 1) the HRRR busts often and 2) other non-government sources run model data so you could use those.
Non-government entities get their info from the same data if I'm not mistaken. They'd pay to play too. Edit: I see what you're saying there. Are their models just as easily accessible?
Out of the 419 units in the National Park Service (NPS), only 112 parks charge an entrance fee. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) allows the NPS to collect and retain revenue and requires that fee revenue be used to enhance the visitor experience.
Couldn't you use revenue from subscribers to enhance and invest back into the NWS for betters tools/forecasting to help with planning by schools/events/safety?

I know the idea isn't a great one for chasers because it would affect chasers. Thankfully it would most likely never happen anyways...but then again you never know.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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skywatch.org
Can't wait til they make the turnpikes free then.
I'm not sure you understand the premise of turnpikes :) While general road taxes pay for all roads, you pay extra to use the turnkpike since it isn't required that you drive on it. Suggesting that people who already pay taxes for weather data should now pay extra in order to keep chaser convergence to a minimum just doesn't pass any sort of common sense test available.

Are their models just as easily accessible?
Yes. Texas Tech Real-Time WRF Modeling System Illinois Real-Time Modeling Site

In addition, how many chasers get their model data from weather.gov? Hint: Not many :) So how do you charge those who access from websites like Forecast Models - Tropical Tidbits NCEP GFS/NAM Model Forecast Precipitation Type and Accumulations: Snow Rain Freezing Rain Sleet pivotalweather - Models: NAM

I know the idea isn't a great one for chasers because it would affect chasers. Thankfully it would most likely never happen anyways...but then again you never know.
Actually we do know :) It would be illegal for the NWS to charge for model data.
 
I'm not sure you understand the premise of turnpikes :) While general road taxes pay for all roads, you pay extra to use the turnkpike since it isn't required that you drive on it. Suggesting that people who already pay taxes for weather data should now pay extra in order to keep chaser convergence to a minimum just doesn't pass any sort of common sense test available.
Yes I get the premise, and for regular joes like me (99%) weather models aren't required for daily life so it would like a data turnpike :)
In addition, how many chasers get their model data from weather.gov? Hint: Not many :) So how do you charge those who access from websites like Forecast Models - Tropical Tidbits NCEP GFS/NAM Model Forecast Precipitation Type and Accumulations: Snow Rain Freezing Rain Sleet pivotalweather - Models: NAM
I guess I was under the understanding that sites like Pivotal, Twisterdata, COD, etc run off the same data we see across multiple sites, but present it in a more user friendly way.

I understand where you are coming from since you spend each day living in weather data. I'm looking at it as a guy who chases in the spring and doesn't think about it again until the next season...you know, part of the convergence problem ;)
 
Apr 10, 2008
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isaac.zpato.net
The way I see it, only you decide how you interact with chaser convergence. Up to and including chasing secondary targets and/or avoiding the hordes all together, even if it means missing something.

Seems pretty often that a good storm occurs far from the obvious primary target with little to no dots nearby on SN.

Additional financial barriers don't seem likely to reduce the number of people who go out. Even if gas prices tripled, I think convergence would be just as bad on high risk days, especially in Oklahoma.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Even IF the data were charged for (and I agree with the posts saying this cannot and/or should not be done), the cost would be immaterial relative to the other costs of chasing so I don’t see how it could be a deterrent.
 
Even IF the data were charged for (and I agree with the posts saying this cannot and/or should not be done), the cost would be immaterial relative to the other costs of chasing so I don’t see how it could be a deterrent.
I'm kind of having fun with this so bear with me. I believe you are a chasecationer correct? Would you purchase model data for $600 in order to spend a week or two on the plains to have a good handle on where/when to be? Or would you forego the cost and simply play it by SPC outlooks or whatever other data you could scrounge up and still come out to the plains knowing it would be quite a bit tougher (other than following dots on Radarscope, another problem for another day) without hi-res models, NAM, etc?.

This really isn't about the cost, it's about removing the ease of it all (which still isn't easy!)
 
Jun 14, 2010
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The big question I think everyone needs to step back and ask is how many times has convergence significantly affected your chase? For me, it's been almost never. And I'm right there with you all most of the time. The convergence fears have always been around. There are examples in the old ST print edition archives as early as 1988.

For those who weren't aware, I maintain a web site dedicated to this subject here which includes full-day timelapses from my 4-way dashcam setup of every chase I embark on in the Great Plains:

People gotta have something to bitch about...agree with you almost 100%. Chaser convergance directly affected me twice and both times were because my planning sucked ass. May 10 and May 19 2010.
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
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www.meteor.iastate.edu
Staff note
Okay, folks, the conversation here has really digressed away from the topic of the thread, so I'm going to end the conversation related to paying for weather data. If you'd like to discuss the issue of restricted weather data, start a new thread.
 
Jun 16, 2015
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quincyvagell.com
Another thing I’d like to see is stats on or maybe a heat map of when/where chaser convergence is the worst. I think we can assume it is worst in the KS/OK/TX area in May, but where else does it peak? Maybe in eastern CO when threats are close to Denver?

Also, how quickly does convergence drop off in June? It’s probably a function of how far north and how late into the month.

I wonder, too, if this active stretch keeps going on, if we’ll see numbers fall off quicker than usual in June if some chasers run low on money for gas and such. I don’t think it’ll be a big factor, but it might still affect convergence a bit.
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
2,954
1,429
21
Westminster, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
Another thing I’d like to see is stats on or maybe a heat map of when/where chaser convergence is the worst. I think we can assume it is worst in the KS/OK/TX area in May, but where else does it peak? Maybe in eastern CO when threats are close to Denver?
If you're up on Python and Git and want to combine the data yourself, someone has made a script for that. See
 

James K

EF1
Mar 26, 2019
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I moved out of Denver cause traffic was awful... one of a few reasons, but that was a topper.
And to answer your question, ever sit in that traffic with a Supercell coming at you?
I live outside city limits (thankfully LOL) but still reasonably close.

-----
Years ago I did get caught up in a severe thunderstorm (don't know if it was a supercell or not, and ofcourse no tornadoes). Some of the heaviest rain & hail I've ever seen. It brought I25 to a complete standstill, that one was honestly a bit scary to be out in. (luckily the hail didn't get too big)
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Saw this headline this morning, eerie parallels to our own hobby:

Everest traffic jam creates lethal conditions for climbers
Two mountaineers have died on Mount Everest after crowds of people became stuck in a queue leading to the summit of the world's highest mountain.

 
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I've said this before, I believe we are evolving into the Idiotozoic Era of chasing where we will see an average of 1-2 deaths per year. There have already been some very close calls this year, when chasers survived because the circulation ended or weakened right before impact. This is fueled by the desire to drive into the actual vortices, not just to enjoy the show. The time is coming when a first responder crew is killed or injured responding to an idiot-caused accident. Then we will see how the public reacts when manslaughter charges and / or civil complaint is filed. So sad how this once enjoyable hobby has become a circus.
 
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This will probably not sit well with a lot of people, but I would wager chaser jams like the one near Mangum on Monday are not just annoying, but completely unacceptable. This was a particularly extreme case, but I'm not sure there's an excuse for potentially thousands of people to be creating such a major hazard for locals/emergency management. I'm not saying this is every chase or even close to it (we know for a fact that it isn't), but the fact that this has happened at all is a problem, and anyone who chases these kinds of high-end days in this region is partially to blame (myself included). I don't even care about the annoyance. It's irrelevant. We all risk busting every time we chase and shouldn't complain that convergence makes us miss tornadoes. The bigger issue here is unnecessary hazards for people who aren't involved. Considering this, I'll likely never chase a major event there again.
 
Jun 16, 2015
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quincyvagell.com
I know there was a joke about buses, but it's too bad that carpooling wasn't a more realistic option. I thought about it. A lot of chasers already go in groups. Then there are logistical challenges, as where do you leave cars and then as you chase, you're probably going to end up far away from where the vehicle(s) were left. Some people have jobs/families/etc. to come home to, as many go in different directions after a chase is over. Sure, it is safer to travel in a group than by chasing alone, but then you'd have to consider, how much do you trust the driver in a potentially dangerous situation?

I will do my part, which isn't much. In a chase, if there are side/dirt roads, I am almost exclusively going to use those roads. It's hard when there's only one or a few passable roads. I'll also be favoring secondary and/or sleeper targets more than ever before.
 
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I've been chasing in the Plains since Tuesday, and I have come to the conclusion that the root this issue most of the time isn't chaser amounts, but just poor driving. Large amounts of chasers just exacerbate the instances of poor driving. This could be folks who are naturally bad drivers or are driving poorly because they are trying to multi-task while moving. I have yet to encounter more than roughly 12 chasers in an area at once, but even small amounts have given me numerous headaches while driving. I've come upon numerous chasers driving 10-15 mph below speed limits on flat, straight, clear roads. Each time there was no storm immediately near, so I'm not sure the reason for the slow speeds. I've had chasers break suddenly in front of me, pull out in front of me, turn around in front of me, block roads, etc. These instances occur in isolated areas with very few others around. No surprise, a lot of people just suck at driving and do not maintain situational awareness. You throw more of these types of people into more stressful situations with more people around, and what you get is the accidents, near misses, and slow downs that lead to long lines of chasers that we see on big days. Obviously even if every chaser drove properly and sanely, convergence would still happen in instances with bottleneck road networks and single storms.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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I know it’s only anecdotal and subjective, but I do feel like the chaser convergence is worse this year. On 5/25 (SW KS) and 5/26 (SE CO) there were multiple targets yet there were still constant lines of cars everywhere. Today 5/26/19 there were two accidents on route 96 between Eads and Cheyenne Wells CO - an SUV nose down in a ditch, and a silver Kia that had been smashed in the rear; an ambulance was on the scene.

I agree with Alex that there are some very poor drivers out there, but it’s the volume that’s making it an issue. Now we have yet another variable to worry about on top of all the other strategizing and stress of navigating around storms - like “better not stop to watch from here, we’ll be at the end of the line (or may not get back into the line).”

It’s been pretty bad these last two days, not the worst I’ve ever seen but these were far from the “perfect storm” (one target, one storm, one road) type events either. I can’t imagine having to deal with this in a more stressful near-storm environment with a true tornadic beast.
 
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May 6, 2017
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There is one sure way to get rid of most of it if the deaths start adding up. The government can not regulate it but Insurance companies can. All it would take is for the auto insurance industry to do what they do with other extreme sports such as racing. Example Racing and car insurance | CarInsurance.com

So to simply eliminate most of the chasers, the insurance industry could simply put it in the policy that you will not be covered if you intentionally seek to drive into severe weather outside of your normal daily activities. This would not hurt those that live or work in an area a tornado or severe weather hits because you were driving during your normal daily activities.

These days it is not hard with social media to prove you were chasing or on a chase vacation. If the insurance industry did this, it would be a massive tectonic shift in the number of chasers because it would be cost prohibitive to chase. Then again, everyone could get a rental vehicle and rental insurance.
 
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Got back home on Friday night after my first Plains run.

Yesterday I was looking at chaser traffic in Colorado. This has to be a first for a Colorado chase, this state had that reputation to be less crowded, because well TX and OK locals do not travel there and add to convergence. I really thought that the issues really were worse in TX/OK because of the "anyone with a pickup truck and a cellphone becomes a chaser" phenomenon over there. Those were sure not in Colorado yesterday. I talked with a couple friends who were there and what they said is it did not look like locals, it was chase tours and chasecationners.

Looks like we've reached that level as well, where the "real, passionate chasers" have also become too many. On 5/20 at Mangum we did not experience real traffic issue because a crowd has an IQ that is inversely proportional to its number, that makes the crowd itself quite easy to forecast and manage. Most of our chase decisions were based on that crowd and we got rewarded well. Now, I realized that this crowd isn't composed by only "locals with pickup trucks" but also a good number of "real, passionate chasers" just like me that are learning from experience and they will sooner or later adopt similar strategies around supercells and will make it useless, even borderline dangerous. So here I can't be selfish and say "you guys should adapt" because once everyone adapts we'll have traffic jams ahead of the meso instead of behind, this is a call for catastrophe.


Looks like the only solution is to have less chasers, that's the only way to make this better, and the only way I can contribute to make it better is not be part of it myself. Hell I don't even know if I can be mature enough to target only "June and later to the North" and pass on an obvious late May Plains opportunity, but that's the only solution I can find. I'm not even complaining right now because even on Mangum traffic did not affect me whatsoever, but I have to agree to the obvious that we are too many, and I am part of that too many. Maybe I should just restrict myself on secondary targets on days like yesterday (did you guys see that NM tornado?) except on large multiple targets chases like on 5/17. I don't know really, we are too many but it's damn hard to pass on late May Plains active period, and if yesterday had been DDC 2.0 I'd be pissed to have to choose secondary target.
 
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