List of high chaser traffic events

Discussion in 'Introductory weather & chasing' started by Dan Robinson, May 15, 2017.

  1. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,733
    Likes Received:
    985
    I see a persistent sentiment within the chase community lamenting the traffic issue, and I'm still quite puzzled. My take is that many are conflating 1.) a personal annoyance that they don't have the roads/storms all to themselves any more and 2.) *actual* problems worthy of concern (that is, traffic that is impactful to chasing and/or locals). Those who are experiencing the first item above are equating it with the second, which is distorting reality and giving the outside detractors impetus to criticize (with anti-chaser articles, presentations, etc).

    So, in addition to the video links I've been collecting, I thought I'd add another item of empirical data to the arsenal: let's make a list of every high-chaser-traffic event we know of. Hopefully this might bring more perspective.

    Here are the ones I know of:

    Problematic events and their causes (CTI 6+)
    6-7-2009 - Oregon, Missouri (limited Missouri River crossings, limited roads on the MO side)
    5-19-2010 - Hennessy, Oklahoma (VORTEX2, Discovery show, High Risk in mid-May near OKC)
    4-14-2012 - Salina, Kansas (Well-advertised-in-advance High Risk on a Saturday)
    5-31-2013 - El Reno, Oklahoma (Chasers and locals chaotically fleeing south)
    5-10-2017 - Eldorado, Oklahoma (All chasers forced onto one road due to limited Red River crossings)

    Elevated traffic, but orderly/no real problems (CTI 4 or 5)
    5-27-2001 - Crosbyton, Texas
    5-10-2010 - Wakita, Oklahoma
    5-11-2010 - Vici, Oklahoma
    5-21-2014 - Deer Trail, Colorado
    4-8-2015 - Barber County, Kansas
    5-16-2015 - Tipton, Oklahoma
    5-24-2016 - Dodge City, Kansas

    If you have pictures/videos from events to support classifiying them as problematic, that would be helpful.

    Some of you may remember my previous position on chaser traffic - I was in the "sky is falling" crowd like many others after seeing the May 19, 2010 fiasco, even choosing not to chase the Plains at all in 2011 so as to not contribute to the problem. However, after looking at the evidence, I changed my mind in 2012, and see no reason that I was wrong in doing so. Here is my blog post back when I was a "chaser traffic crisis believer":
    http://stormhighway.com/blog2011/march411a.php

    In a nutshell, I would like to hear from anyone who still thinks traffic is a major problem in chasing to explain why that is, when the evidence shows that truly problematic events are very rare (once every 2 years or more on average). By "problematic" I mean creating actual obstacles and safety issues to chasers and locals, not just disturbing one's personal desire for solitude and open, empty roads.
     
    #1 Dan Robinson, May 15, 2017
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  2. Ben Holcomb

    Ben Holcomb Digital Janitor
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,052
    Likes Received:
    600
    5-21-14 near Denver was at least 5 if not 6. That was a circus.
    6-29-14 in Western Iowa was a disaster too. 4-5 there.
     
  3. John Farley

    John Farley Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,233
    Likes Received:
    157
    Totally agree with Ben on 5-21-14. Problem was that, east of a certain point, U.S. 36 was practically the only east-west option, as alternatives are pretty much non-existent. Here is a picture:

    View attachment dbc458799371e844e4ed69bdf0b71783.jpg

    These chasers were just ahead of heavy precipitation in the hook area of the storm. Had there been very large hail or a tornado at that point, a lot of chasers could have had a really bad day.
     
  4. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,733
    Likes Received:
    985
    I was also in the May 21, 2014 event - here is my dashcam after turning east on US 36 just ahead of the storm (you can see me breaking out of the precip at the beginning). There was a guy with a large camper shell at the front of the line that I was in, slowing everyone down - once we were able to pass him, it improved dramatically.

    Although, I will say I personally didn't encounter any *problems* with this event other than the brief slowdown there, despite the large numbers.

     
  5. John Farley

    John Farley Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,233
    Likes Received:
    157
    It was a problem for a number of us when we got back to 36 after going north to view the storms. Stuck for quite a while trying to turn left with the storm bearing down. And pretty much took a mad dash to do so when there was a small break in the traffic. There was never a large break during the time I was trying to turn left. Under normal circumstances we all were plenty ahead of the storm to turn onto 36 and go east, but when there was a line of traffic like in my picture above it was nearly impossible to make the left turn. As I said, fortunately by that time there was not real large hail along 36 and there was no tornado in the hook, but had there been either it could have been bad.
     

Share This Page