Chaser convergence- getting even worse.

Mar 31, 2016
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Oklahoma City, OK
After 125 replies on this thread, I conclude that we all love the chase, and some will adapt, some will quit, some will chase no matter what, and some are still working out their decisions on this matter. Remember when Disco dancing was just a fad, but then everybody was doing it? (Well, not everyone). The dance floor became too crowded, and some of them couldn't even dance ! But that didn't matter to me, I still danced. I even dance disco today, usually at weddings after a few drinks. So for the Old School guys like me, I will adapt. I will change my choices and decision-making to continue to dance out there with the storms. The dance floor is open to everyone, all are welcome, let's just enjoy the music, as safe as possible.
 
Jun 1, 2008
469
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Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
We will go in June and north from now on. Risk death ridge, but it's now become the preferred risk over convergence. See friends if we bust.

That said we did OK last week. Apparently far northeast OK scares off the herd, but Miami less awful terrain than say Tulsa.

We somehow choked on the Canadian layup Thursday. Maybe let chaser-con scare us. TA Reports coming when I have time and inclination.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
For everybody complaining... just remember...

You're not stuck in chaser convergence - you ARE chaser convergence.

You are 100% correct and this is important to remind ourselves. But it’s human nature, when you have been doing something for a long time (23 years in my case) and you see this happen, to the point where it adversely affects your enjoyment of the activity, it is very hard to not be upset about it. The enjoyment is affected not only because it’s no longer a solitary experience communing with nature, but also because it adds yet another tactical and safety concern while navigating a storm environment. The safety concern is obvious. The tactical concern is “this is a bad time to pull over and enjoy the storm because we don’t want to end up behind this line of cars.” Or, “don’t pull into that dirt road on the opposite side for a better view because you’ll never get back into the line of cars.” Or even “don’t walk to the other side of the road to get a picture without the road and telephone lines in the foreground because you can’t cross back over quickly and safely.”

Our experience of this is no different than surfers seeing their favorite point break get overrun, or campers seeing their favorite campsite get too crowded, or mountain climbers seeing their route filled with adventure tourists (see Everest article I posted above), or even a local loving a neighborhood bar or restaurant that suddenly becomes the “place to be”. It’s a strictly emotional response, whereas you make a point of logic and reason, but the human emotion, the regret of how it used to be, is not going to go away. I know the “original” veteran chasers and pioneers thought that even in the late ‘90s after Twister it was already changing for the worse. Now we as veterans ourselves are experiencing it even more so. There really is no solution except to deal with it and to police ourselves about good conduct and courtesy on the road. But venting with each other does help.
 

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
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Macomb, IL
www.tornadoguys.com
Anybody on US 36 chasing the Deer Trail tornadic storm June 10, 2010? That was ALMOST as bad as yesterday on 287. 9 years ago.
Yes, I was, but I'd argue yesterday was far worse. I've never seen anything like yesterday in CO, at least not in that state. Listening to public safety frequencies, LE was getting extremely frustrated. I heard several accident calls, including a chaser that was rear ended and another that was popped for disobeying a road block. Hopefully there were no injuries.
 
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I have to agree with James, it seems much worse this year and it's reaching a point where it takes away from the enjoyment. Tulia was the most dangerous, Mangum and Eads were darn near unchasable because you couldn't keep up with the storms (due to wrecks). It was also really busy around Carmen, OK and Canadian, TX but at least they were manageable. I happily dropped off the Eads storm at 5pm yesterday to get away from the conga line.

Pull-offs are at a premium the last couple of weeks, and if you pull off you may not get back on for quite a while. People stand in the roadways and run across like deer, darting out randomly from the side of the road and I can't tell you how many cars I saw stuck in ditches the last few days. The aforementioned wrecks at Mangum and Eads are just a preview of more dangerous issues that lie ahead because the numbers are just too great for the roads to handle and every single vehicle has a distracted driver at the wheel. It's not hard to see the amount of people on storms only increasing going forward, and it's hard to blame anyone, because who wants to miss out on Mother Nature's awesomeness that is accessible to the masses now more now than ever.

Sure it sounds like an old man rant, one because I'm an old(er) man who has spent a lot of time soaking views up with only a handful of people on a storm even in the heart of May. I also hate daily traffic in large cities, waiting 45 minutes for a seat at a restaurant and visiting national parks in July... I try to avoid all of that like the plague. For most, all the inconveniences are ok, and I suppose those who have grown up with it are good because that's all they've ever known, or will know. But, there's a point where the PITA factor outweighs the benefit. Plus, who wants the same photo/video as 1000 other people? Ok, maybe a lot based on the last couple of weeks :)
 
May 6, 2017
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Minnesota
How would the Insurance companies prove you were chasing and not just vacationing in the area? My vehicle is not festooned with "EXTREME TORNADO HUNTER!!!!" decals and the like.....
Very easy, why where you there? Is there video posted on line on social media? Insurance companies deny claims all the time. They could just ask if you had a accident or claim due to damage on a road in Iowa near Mapleton, Iowa while there was severe weather, why where you in that area? Where were you going? Why not take the interstate?

Most normal people plan vacations well in advance with where they are going to go and see on each day and who they are going to see and stay well in advance.
 

JeremyS

EF2
Mar 12, 2014
169
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Omaha, NE
I was in Colorado yesterday and it’s been a long time for me personally seeing that many vehicles on a chase. That being said, the behavior I saw wasn’t horrible. I even made the comment to my chase partner how while it was annoying to have that many people out and having to drive that slow, people weren’t being jerks. Nobody was cutting people off, passing on hills, or driving 90 mph. Maybe that was just because there wasn’t a wedge somewhere close🤷‍♂️
 
Oct 10, 2004
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Madison, WI
Apparently conga lines on supercells in rural north-central Illinois are a thing. Saw many of the issues people have brought up in the Plains - people setting up tripods in the middle of the road, driving 10 under on a paved road just to gawk and take pictures out the window, spinning abrupt uies in the middle of the road with oncoming traffic, etc.

I guess you can't get a supercell to yourself anywhere anymore, unless you happen to strike gold hundreds of miles from the primary parameter-based target area. At least in this pattern that seems to be the better bet for tornadoes, anyway.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Sure it sounds like an old man rant, one because I'm an old(er) man who has spent a lot of time soaking views up with only a handful of people on a storm even in the heart of May. I also hate daily traffic in large cities, waiting 45 minutes for a seat at a restaurant and visiting national parks in July... I try to avoid all of that like the plague. For most, all the inconveniences are ok, and I suppose those who have grown up with it are good because that's all they've ever known, or will know. But, there's a point where the PITA factor outweighs the benefit.
Right there with ya’. As I get older I stay home more, why wait 45 minutes at a restaurant when I can make a great meal at home and eat on my deck... Never was the type to like touristy things that are mobbed with... tourists... Ironic that something like storm chasing is now no different than those other more mainstream things. In the national parks, the people that actually hike real trails can get away from the families that drive up to the vistas in rented minivans... But our seemingly off-the-beaten path activity no longer has such an option...
 
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Dave C

EF2
Jun 5, 2013
103
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11
Denver
www.davidcrowlphotography.com
[rant]Have observed in the last week several chasers whose chase day strategy includes studying social media (particularly a few fairly well known chasers who always post their target city), reading forums like this one, watching chaser icons, or recklessly speeding towards any warned storm to know where to go. At least half of the people out seem to be following other chaser dots and SPC forecasting and these same types have no head for how to behave when out. I see time and time again people recklessly hurtling toward some dying outflow dominant storm. People just can't turn down either their adrenaline or sense of entitlement and all perspective is lost. Storm chasing is an identity for so many people doing it, perhaps they have nothing else. I would not judge that at all on it's own but it is contributing to the attitude and problem out on the roads near storms.

Once stuck in a line, people are in a hurry to go nowhere and refuse to space out or allow traffic back into the road (as intelligent people do in any traffic jam) for fear of missing something. No attention is given to road conditions like dirt and have seen lots of aggressive passing and honking a couple times. The fact that I've seen multiple wrecks each chase this year, and none in years past is ancedotal evidence something is very wrong.

Some of the tour groups, pseudo researchers, and even real researchers are the worst examples in these lines- a real sense that they are more important than everyone else when they are in fact- on public roads and should behave as such. Saw LEO cursing a tour van that parked half in the lane of a 55 MPH road and the people were actually arguing with LEO that they were somehow allowed to do this. Real researchers arguably should be given some priority, but I've seen a few times the last week the group from CU and others holding up traffic at stop signs, blocking intersections while they figure out what to do, etc. There is no reason to have six to eight vehicles out and badly coordinate or cause a public safety issue.

The massive obsession with social media and getting attention is in my opinion destroying large swaths of the fabric of society. Combined with population increase it is a real recipe for disaster and storm chasing is just the most recent victim. National Parks, State Parks, etc. are all ruined or well on the way to ruin in just the last couple of years primarily due to instagram exposure. Certain cities have become trendy and everyone flocks there looking for a thing they destroyed by flocking, and no longer even exists.

I was talking with a former editor of Outdoor Photographer the other day who was telling me about the days just prior to social media when they had long staff debates about whether to mention locations. He said that once a tiny trickle of locations was leaked, those places were mobbed gradually and then social media turned it into a wildfire. Nowadays, it is default that people post the location of everything, brag and talk up their experiences, and post wherever they can get maximum likes, posting multiple times and places the same material. Tour groups and photographers are happy to exploit all that because they make their living on it. So a few people are actually doing arguably the worst damage. In my opinion there may be no saving what chasing once was, as with the outdoors, but a start would be for people to dial down the adrenaline, stop posting locations, turn off your icon, talk long and loud about the right way to behave when out there and openly be willing to shame those who don't. Personally I'd like to see chasercon and the scene mentality leave chasing as well, or be a better steward for the activity.[/rant]
 
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May 22, 2007
132
40
6
Mesa Arizona
I know this is mostly wishful thinking, but here are a couple reasons things may get better in the future=

1) In the last few weeks a large portion of chasers finally got "their" tornado and can check that box and move on to a new hobby.

2) Some millennials have had everything handed to them and after this year, it will probably got back to having to work hard for a tornado. Perhaps they will get discouraged and find an easier hobby.
 
In the national parks, the people that actually hike real trails can get away from the families that drive up to the vistas in rented minivans... But our seemingly off-the-beaten path activity no longer has such an option...
It does have such an option - take crowds into consideration and select a perhaps secondary target that is away from where the crowds will likely be. Sunday I saw a beautifully backlit tornado, with one car passing me by the entire time during the tornado (about 6 or 7 minutes). No obvious chasers until after the tornado was over. Now I know I won't be this lucky every time I take potential crowds into consideration, but it does seem not unlike taking a trail into the back country when the crowds are along the roads in national parks.
 
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Jun 28, 2007
246
70
11
Machesney Park, IL
Anybody on US 36 chasing the Deer Trail tornadic storm June 10, 2010? That was ALMOST as bad as yesterday on 287. 9 years ago.
Yes and it was a pleasure meeting you the next day and having a nice chat as that HP loomed closer and closer!

Apparently conga lines on supercells in rural north-central Illinois are a thing. Saw many of the issues people have brought up in the Plains - people setting up tripods in the middle of the road, driving 10 under on a paved road just to gawk and take pictures out the window, spinning abrupt uies in the middle of the road with oncoming traffic, etc.

I guess you can't get a supercell to yourself anywhere anymore, unless you happen to strike gold hundreds of miles from the primary parameter-based target area. At least in this pattern that seems to be the better bet for tornadoes, anyway.
I was on the Genesea to Paw Paw cell and I was stunned at the number of chasers on that storm, especially given the multiple other plays nearby in Iowa, Indiana, Ohio and the other shows way out in KS/NE/CO. Even with perhaps the best road network in chaser-land the roads still got clogged with traffic...and the dots didn't come close to representing the volume of chasers out there...

Yesterday's SN count peaked at 976. Using the temporary formula subtracting the "always beaconing" spotters and factoring in the preliminary 70% chaser beaconing rate
Anecdotally speaking I think 70% is way too high, even 50% too high, perhaps even 25% too high. Yesterday a good case in point where I wouldn't be surprised if it was less than 10%. I was stunned when I first got on the cell as the traffic of chasers I encountered dwarfed the activity on SN. Best precise observation of the day, my dot was the only one on my road yet there were at least a half dozen vehicles in front of me. I pulled off to shoot video and when I wanted to cross the road back to my vehicle I had to wait to let at least a dozen vehicles pass. A quick check at that point showed only 2 other dots on the road and I know the positions aren't "real time" but the activity as represented on SN was a small fraction of the reality.

I know this is mostly wishful thinking, but here are a couple reasons things may get better in the future=

1) In the last few weeks a large portion of chasers finally got "their" tornado and can check that box and move on to a new hobby.

2) Some millennials have had everything handed to them and after this year, it will probably got back to having to work hard for a tornado. Perhaps they will get discouraged and find an easier hobby.
2) Not to disparage any particular generation (but I tend to agree) I think a lot of long hours of hard work along with a lot of money spent an gas, hotels, food and vacation days lost with nothing to show for it could discourage a lot of people from all generations from venturing out again after a bust. Lord knows I've told myself a number of times I'd never chase a target over 500 miles away again unless it truly had high end potential...but a marginal set-up with enough allure will still get me out the door at the expense of two days lost business, 1,000+ miles on the car and $400+ out of pocket. Why?

1) Man, it's checking that box...and all the other boxes that make the hobby so amazing to enjoy. Here I do agree, mostly wishful thinking on your part and probably the opposite of the true effect.
 
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Jul 5, 2009
869
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
I know this is mostly wishful thinking, but here are a couple reasons things may get better in the future=

1) In the last few weeks a large portion of chasers finally got "their" tornado and can check that box and move on to a new hobby.

2) Some millennials have had everything handed to them and after this year, it will probably got back to having to work hard for a tornado. Perhaps they will get discouraged and find an easier hobby.
Agree conceptually, but that assumes there are a ton of first-timers out this year that will get discouraged in the future. Of course they are not all first timers, and even if they started just a couple of years ago they should have already been weeded out by 2017 and/or 2018 if this theory were true.
 
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Jul 5, 2009
869
570
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
It does have such an option - take crowds into consideration and select a perhaps secondary target that is away from where the crowds will likely be. Sunday I saw a beautifully backlit tornado, with one car passing me by the entire time during the tornado (about 6 or 7 minutes). No obvious chasers until after the tornado was over. Now I know I won't be this lucky every time I take potential crowds into consideration, but it does seem not unlike taking a trail into the back country when the crowds are along the roads in national parks.
I get what you are saying John and that is indeed an apt analogy in response to my own attempt at analogy... But it is so hard to consciously choose a secondary target when I only have a two-week-max chase vacation that may feature, what, 5-10 chase days. Even fewer will be days that have any target of pretty high confidence for tornados, so it’s very hard to purposely forego those in favor of a secondary target. Some days don’t have a realistic secondary target at all. I feel I have to use my precious few opportunities to maximize my chances for success. Goodness knows, I screw up enough on even the best targets 😒
 
Really? They do pretty good with fishing and hunting licensing. It's not perfect but it does work. Probably an audit system would work the best.
Like many law enforcement agencies have said themselves. If severe weather is in the area, the last thing that they care about is what storm chasers are doing on the road unless they're breaking the law. In other words, they wouldn't enforce it.
 
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Jun 28, 2007
246
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Machesney Park, IL
Really? They do pretty good with fishing and hunting licensing. It's not perfect but it does work. Probably an audit system would work the best.
Requiring a license for fishing and hunting is constitutional and easy to enforce, requiring one for storm chasing would likely not be constitutional and would be difficult to enforce if enforced at all. Regardless, I doubt the presence of a law requiring licensing would make a much of a difference on even the most marginal set-ups let alone the high end ones where convergence can be at its worst.
 
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Ron Cross

Enthusiast
Apr 24, 2019
6
7
1
Oklahoma
Way to many "THRILL SEEKERS." Who do nothing but get in the way. Oklahoma has SB 1126 I believe this may help greatly to reduce the thrill seekers who get in the way of Emergency Management.
 
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Oct 10, 2004
1,090
138
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33
Madison, WI
I was on the Genesea to Paw Paw cell and I was stunned at the number of chasers on that storm, especially given the multiple other plays nearby in Iowa, Indiana, Ohio and the other shows way out in KS/NE/CO. Even with perhaps the best road network in chaser-land the roads still got clogged with traffic...and the dots didn't come close to representing the volume of chasers out there...
That's the one I was on, along with about 50 other people. I was basically pacing in the hook from near Yorktown and would have had a great view of any tornadoes had our forecast low level shear not gone AWOL at the 11th hour. I saw quite a few other chasers in short order after getting on the storm, but the traffic wasn't really an issue until near I-39 when I suddenly found myself in a conga line on a gravel road. They're not as bad as the dirt-to-mud farm roads of the Plains, but my 2wd sedan can't safely go much more than about 40 MPH on them. Thank goodness the storm wasn't moving that fast, and after Paw Paw it started to go south in a hurry so I bailed.