Cop Blocked

Todd Lemery

Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
475
456
21
54
Menominee, MI
I had a thought that occurred to me and I was wondering other people’s thoughts. I understand why the police block traffic and generally don’t fault them for doing it. One thing I do though, is when I see I’m about to be cop blocked, I immediately start looking to see if I can find a route around it. I’m sure a lot of us do. Then it occurred to me that if I was already under the circulation, I wouldn’t run into any blockades because they all would be farther away rather than right under the storm. In theory, you could avoid getting cop blocked by keeping yourself in a dangerous enough position that the police wouldn’t venture into it to try and block roads.
It sounds stupid, I wouldn’t try it myself and it would be tough to pull off. That said, have you ever considered it or known someone who has tried that to avoid the cop blocks?
 
  • Wow
Reactions: Jeff House
Jul 16, 2013
220
112
11
Joplin, MO
One can also position farther away to avoid. In normal visibility it's a great low stress option. Can set up for several minutes, rather than scramble. Still get the thrill because, well.. tornadoes!
I second this, I've always preferred being in a position where I'm not 2 feet away from the circulation and able to be at a distance where I can observe a broader view of the storm while still getting to see and enjoy the tornado. Zero stress and in 23 years of storm chasing I haven't ever came across a road block, nor have had any bad interaction with cops. Seems to me that those who want to be 2 feet away from the tornado are asking for problems from law enforcement, and seemingly it's those who seems to have the negative encounter with them. Nothing against chasers who likes that style of chasing, just not my cup of tea. Being extreme and wanting to make a name for myself isn't why I got into chasing.
 
Blocking any traffic during a tornadic storm is very dangerous. Yes, if you have enough knowledge to know a tornado is about to cross a road, block it. I’ve even blocked roads (for general public) when a violent tornado was about to cross and I know for sure it saved someone a lot of grief. But blocking traffic for no damn reason, like stopping chasers is foolish. Any delay could spell disaster if a secondary storm or tornado threatened.
 
Mar 31, 2016
42
25
11
Oklahoma City, OK
1) No, do not try to "stay under the circulation" or right under the storm.
2) No, do not "keep yourself in a dangerous enough position" to avoid police blockades.
3) Yes, "find a route around the cop block" to get in better position.

Last week a Channel 9 (KWTV-OK) storm chaser politely asked a LEO if he could proceed thru his blockade to continue his chase. The cop allowed him to pass, I assume based on his vehicle markings as a TV professional chaser. You might wanna ask the officer if you can proceed as an experienced chaser, spotter, or university researcher. That has worked for me before.
 

Lou Ruh

EF2
May 17, 2007
137
24
11
SE PA
Just talk to them. They may be blocking the road for a specific legitimate purpose (maybe not even storm related). It's not that hard.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jeff Smith
Jun 1, 2008
469
363
11
Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
We had always been waved through until last Wednesday. Near Miami OK they were very firm. We did find side streets though. Just in the past several times they just waved us through, mostly Kansas. Getting more strict or just OK?
 
Jun 14, 2009
76
33
11
Brooklyn, NY
Just talk to them. They may be blocking the road for a specific legitimate purpose (maybe not even storm related). It's not that hard.
Exactly. Blowing by them just makes all chasers look bad. Also I rolled up recently with a cop blocking the intersection and thought he was keeping people from the storm but it was a serious accident.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lou Ruh
Oct 4, 2006
209
20
11
Oologah, Ok.
Getting more strict or just OK?
OHP has always been firm if that is who blocked....I've never been able to go around them. Back on 4/14/12 one chased several of us off right off of 412 south of Waynoka as the tornado was developing to our north. When I tried to explain where this tornado was gonna go, he was having none of it. Now locals OTOH have been way more easier to get along with--they are appreciative for the info I provide to them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jeff House

Mark Blue

Staff member
Supporter
Feb 19, 2007
2,793
325
21
Colorado
In May 2016 I saw a brief tornado in a field south of Wiggins and realized my only road option was north. Yep, north back into the hail. I drove about a mile until I saw a Sheriff looking south, so I stopped across the road from him. I motioned where I wanted to go and he just shrugged his shoulders so I was on my way. I think acknowledging them is key and shows that you respect their authority.

It’s probably better to work with LEOs than against them because it provides a better end result when we’re working towards the same goal.
 

Lou Ruh

EF2
May 17, 2007
137
24
11
SE PA
No one is "blowing by" we stop by them wave and go around and almost every time they wave back.
As someone who does traffic control at emergency scenes (as a Fire Police officer in PA), I can tell you that "smile and wave" is generally not a good approach. Roll down the window and have a quick chat ... if I can let people past a traffic control point with a legitimate need, I will. Otherwise, without communication, there is a good chance I will report the incident for follow-up action (they don't let us use firearms). A few second of conversation is all that is needed.
 

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
1,953
246
11
38
Macomb, IL
www.tornadoguys.com
While I don't always like it, and sometimes deeply resent it, I obey those types of directives. The legal consequences can be pretty severe, especially if you directly disobey a LEO. If I were to be convicted of a criminal misdemeanor (in some cases in certain states it might even rise to being felonious), I'd most likely lose my teaching job. A number of departments now have equipment to electronically record license plates, be it video or ALPRs (automatic license plate readers). Furthermore, even if in the end they are somehow not legally found to have been in the right, a lot of states give police the immediate power to have wide latitude to control a situation in an emergency, assuming they are acting in good faith, i.e., on the side of the road the officer can do what s/he needs to control the situation and gets treated as being in the right. As an addendum, in a rare case where I was placed in a situation where I felt the emergency services personnel had blocked a road out of ignorance in a manner that might be putting my life at risk, I'd rather be tried by twelve than carried by six. That's about the only exception, and that's never actually happened yet.
 
Last edited: