Silver Lining Tours vans rolled in Kansas

Is digging up decade old dirt on someone arranging and presenting facts for public consumption your way of remaining “transparent” and “forthcoming?” It seems like you are more inclined to take a shot at the knees, or, in your words, engaging in “personal attacks.”
@Spencer Dant
I find your post ironic in that @Quincy Vagell and I chatted together privately last evening via few messages.

I wasn’t “digging up decade old dirt” but merely telling a factual story that should, IMO, have bearing on the subject at hand.
The moral of such story was to highlight just one situation while also questioning exactly what many are trying to say in this thread.
That’s a far cry from taking a “shot at the knees” or any type of attack as you so eloquently described.

My point was clear and concise and had no hidden agenda.

I understand that you’d love to have a conversation with me - I’m very easy to get ahold of. You can find my company and my phone number online and I’m always available to you or anyone. I’ll list my contact info below and would HIGHLY encourage you to contact me directly so as not derail the thread.

Lanny Dean
Owner/Meteorologist
Extreme Chase Tours LLC
Pilot/sUAS Pilot
918-859-0248
 
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Sep 5, 2019
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Newtown, PA
I'll leave the analysis about what happened that day to the experts, but as a storm chasing tour guest (whose van rolled 3 times and landed upside-down in a ditch), I was required to acknowledge and accept the risk that I could be hurt or killed while on tour. Anyone who wants to offer storm chasing tours had better be prepared to accept the far less serious risk that, if something goes wrong, and customers who trusted you with their lives are injured or killed, your actions will be intensely scrutinized (yes, possibly even subjected to a "shit show") on this site and elsewhere. Tour guests will share their stories, damaging information may emerge, and your version of events may be challenged. If you’re not prepared to accept that risk, and to face the consequences with transparency and humility, I suggest finding a different line of work. And if SLT truly believes that it has the power to order Quincy (or anyone else) not to speak with tour guests, I have a gently used tour van to sell it.
 
Feb 27, 2009
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Texarkana, AR
Davies' analysis shows the next cycle of the mesocyclone, the broad rotation indicated on velocity to the north, initially tracking southeast, before it then turns left to the northeast, just as it produced the EF4, following a very similar course as the previous EF2. Doesn't that southeast motion strike you as bizarre, and the turn to the northeast to follow the same track a strange coincidence? I'm suggesting the "storm" and mesocyclone were not moving southeast and then turned northeast. The rotation, and indeed convergence to the north, were winds feeding into a mesocyclone that was *always* to the south. The area to the north was converging inflow band. I hope to have some really strong visuals and analogs for the presentation so that you don't have to just take my word for it here, but that's the point I'm going to try to argue in case you guys have better ideas or additional feedback.
I can't remember exactly how Davies worded it, but I'm not suggesting there was SE movement. I said the area tightened and "shifted" South. But I was referring to the area observed in velocity data, not that the actual low level meso traveled South. The main point i wanted to make is that the new meso had to form somewhere and that this was likely to the north of the older wrapped meso. There had to be two seperate areas initially. I don't see how you can have a new low level meso develop behind the rain of an older occluded meso.
 
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I can't remember exactly how Davies worded it, but I'm not suggesting there was SE movement. I said the area tightened and "shifted" South...
@Joshua Nall just throwing this verbiage out there for dialogs sake - but *possibly* you mean “broadened”? That is my interpretation. And in looking at velocity, it appears this is the case.
I should have included your entire reply regarding the “second” meso because it does have bearing. I’m wondering if we (collectively) are getting all caught up in the verbiage rather than the actual true meteorological aspects. I described the event in my original post as something “we would normally see in the Deep South/Dixie Alley”. Meaning merger/handoff. Someone else mention prior the Hesston/Gossell KS event ‘90. While I didn’t start chasing until 1991 (a year later) I have always been intrigued by that event. Three points could be made here:
1) There are *some* similarities in these two events (regarding mesocyclones and the handoff stage.)
2) Meteorologist, Jon Davies, also did an excellent write up and peer review on the Hesston event discussing some of the very questions that have been raised.
3) Jon Davies personally documented the Hesston/Gossell F-5, which gave a very unique viewpoint and ultimately a very sound write up.

That said, if I understand @Skip Talbot correctly, he is saying that their was no shift and or a secondary mesocyclone?
This confuses me because there appears to indeed be a handoff. If there was not a handoff present/happening and no secondary mesocyclone then we ARE indeed talking about a singular cyclical supercell/mesocyclone with a surging tornadic RFD. If this is assumed to be the case, then I totally understand the thought process of “the satellite tornado”. I’m not saying I agree, I’m saying the thought process is logical if one is trying to flee but ultimately drives into the tornado, they would probably believe it was a sat tornado. This correlates with what Roger said to begin with. While we know the satellite theory is NOT correct *by definition* (as explained in my original post) I can certainly see the thought process behind the original statement.
This also indicates and places the tornado on the northern rim of the of the surging RFD - which by proxy would suggest that a parent mesocyclone with an attendant tornado was actually on the cusp of the UDI area as would be expected.

The only problem I see with this IMO is that the velocity data certainly doesn’t jive with that theory. Hence you make a valid point that Davies specifically hints at in his analysis regarding this event and what he highlighted in his write up 29 years ago.

While we can and should always be learning, I’m not sure that Jon’s recent assessment is all that off.
Again, I’m curious to see @Skip Talbot s additions.
 
May 1, 2004
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www.skip.cc
There had to be two seperate areas initially. I don't see how you can have a new low level meso develop behind the rain of an older occluded meso.
The velocity shows a distinct cycle, but no, I don't think separate tornadoes have to necessarily come from different areas of the storm, or that the next mesocyclone cycle must be located ahead of an established RFD gust front. If chasers think that, then this definitely needs to be tacked on to a safety presentation. The next cycle likely started on the RFD gust front/inflow interface, was occluded and then wrapped itself in the existing RFD gust front before spinning up the EF-4. There was half mile to mile separation between the cycles maybe, but visually this is all still occurring behind the northern curling end of that RFD gust front.

I'm sure there are many examples, but a good analog I can think off the top of my head here is the Tipton storm from the same day, which produced multiple sequences of concurrent tornadoes on effectively the same track line. They were so close the National Weather Service didn't even bother to distinguish them and the event log still shows a single long track EF2 for what video has shown to be at least three distinct tornadoes.
 
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Feb 27, 2009
463
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Texarkana, AR
I don't think separate tornadoes have to necessarily come from different areas of the storm, or that the next mesocyclone cycle must be located ahead of an established RFD gust front. If chasers think that, then this definitely needs to be tacked on to a safety presentation.
Instead of behind, maybe I should have said directly behind. Because I dont think you can have a new meso develop within the bounds of RFD of an old meso. In my opinion velocity data doesnt support seperation E to W, so I was trying to show that there was separation there... and that it was N to S. I can go with it being a mile.

And I realize you can have multiple tornadoes under a meso. I was talking about the particulars of this storm, that the tornadoes came from two distinct areas.

I appreciate your replies. The particulars are important to me.
 
Jan 31, 2017
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Joplin, MO & Iowa City, IA
It just brings more negative attention to them anyway, I don't understand their strategy.
That makes two of us, John. My gut feeling is that SLT is deep into uncharted territory, and is lashing out as a reflex when a charm offensive would do it a lot more good.

As Jeff Lieberman said in a later post, tour companies ought to accept the risk of blowback from things gone wrong. No one thinks about how to handle a major PR black eye until it happens. Blame our old friend, the Optimism Bias. Bad things happen to other people. That’s why court rooms and emergency rooms do such brisk business. We become those other people.

It is important to remember we are getting only half the story. SLT has, wisely, gone silent. I have no reason to doubt Quincy. He seems knowledgeable, levelheaded and not prone to wild statements. In other words, believable. It’s just a caveat I throw in that there’s an opposing point of view out there somewhere.

But if SLT has, indeed, spoken through legal action, it’s about the dumbest stunt imaginable for a business in crisis.

Suing a chaser is biting the hand that feeds them. Quincy is an “influencer,” as are many of you on this forum. If people find out you are storm chasers, they may say, “I’ve always wanted to see what that’s all about. Can you recommend a tour I could take?” The next words out of your mouth can make or break a business that relies on word of mouth.

How many of you are as likely to recommend SLT after reading they’ve taken legal action against Quincy?

I know none of the key players. I do not have a horse in this race. But as someone who’s run a small business, I know the challenges faced by others who do it, like the Hills, and respect them for conquering those challenges for so long. They have defenders on this forum. One of them needs to be blunt with the Hills. They are committing professional suicide.

Last thoughts:

1) The media can be your ally. “Next on Eyewitness News: A local stormchaser is being sued by a stormchasing tour company – and he wasn’t even on the tour.”

2) If an SLT case over the Lawrence incident goes to court, feel very, very sorry for the lawyers who have to present it, and especially to the jury which has to hear it. How do you explain it to people who think RFD is how farmers get their mail? Some of y’all might get a payday as expert witnesses.
 
Jun 16, 2015
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quincyvagell.com
I do not want this to be all about me. It should be about learning, safety and most of all, those who were negatively impacted by the unfortunate incident. They’d appreciate honesty, understanding and closure.

I did want want to get dragged in, but now that I have, I must defend myself, those who have sought me out for help and most of all, what I believe is right.

I think the storm chasing community can learn a lot from this. Maybe it will open eyes and help people chase safer.

However it ends, I wish no ill will to anyone and hope that it doesn’t go in the dramatic direction that it appears to be moving.
 
Sep 5, 2019
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Public comment on YouTube by an injured tour guest:

“I have read the various blogs and seen the videos related to the Silver Lining Tours (SLT) accident in Kansas, and I feel compelled to respond. Let me begin by saying that I was in one of the vans that was hit. (It’s the one laying on its side.) According to the news stories, the injuries were ‘minor,’ and one person who was on the tour later commented that there were people with broken bones. The latter is true; the former regarding ‘minor’ injuries is not. I suffered a broken neck from the accident. One of my vertebrae was broken clean through; the one next to it was pushed out of place 4 millimeters. I ended up having to have surgery to fuse the two vertebrae together and was in the University of Kansas Medical Center ICU for two days. Luckily, I have full use of my arms and legs. But SLT would be hard-pressed to find any health professional who would argue a broken neck is a ‘minor’ injury. At no point did either Roger or Caryn Hill, the owners of SLT, check in on me afterward. Several of those persons I was with, however, did, and I greatly appreciate that.....”
 
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Todd Lemery

Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
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I haven’t shared many of my thoughts on this. Roger was a storm chaser first and then started SLT. Running a business is probably secondary to chasing. I suspect SLT was started to provide an income for himself and a service to others who shared his love of storms. A real win win for a guy sharing his love of storms with others and making a couple of bucks to pay the bills too. I doubt he seriously ever considered the possibility that what happened would happen, even after El Reno.
When the crap hits the fan and you are knee deep in it, most people call their spouse first and then their attorney second. Sitting on the side of the road I have a hard time believing Roger didn’t realize he needed an attorney’s help immediately. That would explain the silence and eventually the lawsuit which doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m not an attorney. I do know that an attorney would have told them to shut their pie holes and not talk to anyone.
Which brings me to Jeff. Most caring human beings would have reached out and make contact with Jeff when he was laying in the hospital. Most us would do that, but it sounds like that didn’t happen at all with Jeff. Roger most likely was told not to by his attorney. Even saying “sorry man” can end up being an admission of guilt in a court room. I would have made contact with people who were injured regardless of what my attorney told me, but with the way things are nowadays I can’t blame Roger/ SLT for not doing that.
 
Sep 5, 2019
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Which brings me to Jeff. Most caring human beings would have reached out and make contact with Jeff when he was laying in the hospital. Most us would do that, but it sounds like that didn’t happen at all with Jeff.
In case it wasn't clear, the comment I shared earlier was from another tour guest. Thankfully, other than a few little cuts on my hand, I was fine. (So glad I was wearing my seat belt!) But I appreciate the concern. 👍
 
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Bobby Little

Supporter
Mar 18, 2013
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eagle, michigan
While I will not go into every detail, I will continue to stand my ground on what I believe is right. As a meteorologist and a storm chaser who was very close to the incident, in both time and location, I feel as if I have the right and arguably a moral obligation to share my opinions of what took place.

As I said from the start, I acknowledge and admit that I was too close to the initial tornado. Whether or not there was convincing evidence that the first tornado had been in progress for more than 10+ minutes prior to the incident, I will continue to argue that it is hard to defend a position that would have put anyone in the direct path of the initial tornado. Just because you cannot see a tornado does not mean that there is not one and if should be noted that tour drivers, after my analysis and well after the final storm surveys and public statements from the National Weather Service, made factually false, or at the very least, misleading, claims in order to justify decisions made on May 28, 2019.
Just now getting back to this thread (i had only read pg1 when it started) and without talking of the incident itself.
Quincy, your quote here IS exactly why i enjoy your input. You are one of several hardest working/chasing members here who post.. miles logging MF while storm chasing constantly in the last couple years...always with good video, insight, etc. As this incident broke here on ST, you answered quickly of the subject in question with insight. There should be no fault of anything.. be it talking here or with someone privately. I only see your honest opinion as a meteorologist and chaser ..Stay Strong.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Some people have been referring to a "law suit?" I am not aware of any such action being initiated?
The references are to Quincy’s posts about legal action being taken against him. Not sure what stage that is in, it could be in the “threatened” phase and not yet an actual lawsuit, but I believe that’s what’s being referred to.
 
The references are to Quincy’s posts about legal action being taken against him. Not sure what stage that is in, it could be in the “threatened” phase and not yet an actual lawsuit, but I believe that’s what’s being referred to.
Lawyers cannot threaten someone with legal action without justification. I'm told it's both unethical and could cause the issuing attorney some serious trouble. Having said that, if anyone posting here is involved (or could be involved) with any legal action, they would be best advised to stop posting.
 
Sep 29, 2011
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If the Hills were advised (or flat out told) by an attorney to not make contact with/check on the severely-injured tour guest because it would be an admission of guilt through some horsesh*t legal technicality, that's almost worse IMO. It's one thing to simply ignore, it's quite another to ignore based on advice designed to save your own ass after you screwed up and caused bodily harm/mental anguish to a customer.

IMO, any chase tour company that makes guests sign a waiver stating "I acknowledge I could be injured or killed on a chase" beyond the basic road hazards of driving several hundred miles, shouldn't be in business. I understand you can't guarantee a tour will see a tornado, but you can damn sure guarantee no one will be hurt or killed while trying (sans driving/traffic incident). By having customers sign any type of waiver with that literature is itself an admission of guilt regarding dangerous practices.
 
Jan 31, 2017
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Joplin, MO & Iowa City, IA
I'm not going to pile on here. Truth is, I don't know how I would have acted in the Hills' situation. I am sure they were scared. Their labor of love took decades to create. One minute, it was seemingly secure. The next minute, and for the minutes since, it looked at risk of complete collapse. I'd feel a powerful yearning to apologize for what the guests endured, but if I felt it could put my life's dream at further risk, well, I won't pretend I'd take the high road.

Apologies are an art form. "I am sorry you went through that" feels a lot different from "I am sorry we screwed up." But then, I am not a lawyer.
 

James K

EF2
Mar 26, 2019
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Colorado
Shane Adams said:
IMO, any chase tour company that makes guests sign a waiver stating "I acknowledge I could be injured or killed on a chase" beyond the basic road hazards of driving several hundred miles, shouldn't be in business.
But I bet something along those lines is standard disclaimer/waiver stuff for basically every tour company out there. Whether or not it holds up in court could be a different thing.
 

Thomas Mattek

Enthusiast
Apr 2, 2018
5
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Missouri
I look forward to your analysis @Skip Talbot
I highly appreciate and VALUE the contributions you have brought to the community immensely, most particularly since that fateful May Day in 2013. But I think it behooves is ALL to not forget our past prior to condemning the actions or inactions of the Hills.
This isn't a discussion of past actions, it's a discussion of the present. You relaying this story ignores two critical points and your overall argument is contradictory. Your main thrust in bringing up this story is that Skip Talbot encouraged a tour group to take dangerous positioning in HP Supercell.

Firstly, we are discussing the single action of a person that took place nearly a decade ago. People's perspectives can and do change with experience and time. Skip took the opportunity in his timelaspe commentary of the Bowdle, South Dakota event posted November 22nd, 2012 to emphasize that parts of his decisionmaking with regards to that storm were not safe and strongly implied that he would not repeat them. Whatever actions may have been taken in 2010, at least his public statements two years later imply a different attitude. It is, of course, a public statement looking back at a chase rather than decisions the moment. However, it speaks to an intent to educate the public on safety which took place after the story you're relaying. This shift isn't unique to one person, it's something that I've seen other veteran chasers emphasize, a backlash against the "extreme, up close" style and a greater emphasis on safety, which was particularly evident after May 31st, 2013. We should not forget the past, but we should take lessons from it. As a new chaser, the actions and words of veteran chasers influence how I will behave and target potentially tornadic, high precipitation supercells.

Secondly, your anecdote is one in which you personally took the decision to avoid an HP supercell because of the potential risks to your tour guests posed. The main consensus reached on this thread is that Roger Hill took an unsafe action with regard to an HP, tornadic supercell. You said yourself that the positioning within a surging RFD gust front would be wrongheaded and dangerous to tour guests and explicitly compared it to the situation now being discussed in this thread. Now just as other chaser's attitudes can change your own stance on how tours should position could have changed. But, from an outsider's perspective, it appears you are applying one standard of safety from the past to your own actions, contrasting it with another's actions and advice in the past, but do not believe that the actions of someone in the present deserve to be held to the same standard. Perhaps I misunderstand your general points and am totally open to that, but I am not seeing how these two statements match up.

Thus, the question begs an answer...what are “we” actually trying to say or what kind of dialog are we trying to have here regarding the Hills? Because if it’s truly safety related, then I would throw extreme caution when some of “us” are guilty of the very thing we are condemning. I’d also throw caution to this blame game that still seems to be a priority in this thread.
These two factors, safety and the actions of certain individuals, are inseparable, because members are discussing the actions of the tour group leaders as they relate to safety standards and rules of thumb. It is not hypocrisy for veterans who have in the past taken more risks to caution safety or question the decisionmaking of individuals who appear to have taken unsafe actions while carrying people who have little to no chasing experience. There is further discussion about legal actions taken against one member who has attempted to clarify with witnesses involved what exactly happened. None of this has yet reached the level of a lawsuit against Roger Hill or Silver Lining Tours, but if such a suit occurs then there will certainly be a situation where chasers, meteorologists, and tour-group leaders may be asked to testify on standard practice. It is thus vital that "we" come to a consensus on what the safest actions are, in the present, using the experience of the past.

EDIT: I want to say that I wrote this reply early in the morning while forecasting, and didn't fully catch up to all replies. This isn't intended as a personal attack and this thread has continued to be cordial. I wrote this response primarily because I believe some points haven't been addressed, and that these arguments of character will be very important if this matter comes to the courts.
 
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IMO, any chase tour company that makes guests sign a waiver stating "I acknowledge I could be injured or killed on a chase" beyond the basic road hazards of driving several hundred miles, shouldn't be in business. I understand you can't guarantee a tour will see a tornado, but you can damn sure guarantee no one will be hurt or killed while trying (sans driving/traffic incident). By having customers sign any type of waiver with that literature is itself an admission of guilt regarding dangerous practices.
Bungee jump activities make you sign these as well, but if the operator forgets to tie the other end of the rope he's going to jail and losing his house. These waivers are worthless in case of negligence.

As you said it protects the company in case of uncontrollable accidents, but I would bet any good lawyer could demonstrate with the help of any meteorologist that driving with poor visibility instead of taking cover inside a tornado warned area is being negligent and certainly not an uncontrollable accident.

My father had to have a spinal surgery after an accident, even if he did not want to file a lawsuit, his insurance company did. Because insurers are in the business of making money and whenever they can find somebody else to pay the bill they will. It may take time but I would be damn surprised if there were no court action here. And I really think it will eventually affect all chase tours out there.
 
Jun 16, 2015
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quincyvagell.com
Negligence is an important legal concept; it's usually defined as "the failure to use the care that a normally careful person would in a given situation."
Negligent | Definition of Negligent by Merriam-Webster

Key words being "normally careful person" as they relate to chasing with a high precipitation supercell, which spawned a tornado warning at 5:41 p.m. and the event in question happened shortly after 6:00 p.m., in Globe. Kansas, which was accurately pinpointed by the National Weather Service with approximately 20 minutes of lead time:

WFUS53 KTOP 282241
TORTOP
KSC045-059-282330-
/O.NEW.KTOP.TO.W.0023.190528T2241Z-190528T2330Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
Tornado Warning
National Weather Service Topeka KS
541 PM CDT Tue May 28 2019

The National Weather Service in Topeka has issued a

* Tornado Warning for...
Northwestern Franklin County in east central Kansas...
Western Douglas County in east central Kansas...

* Until 630 PM CDT.

* At 541 PM CDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado
was located near Pomona Lake, moving northeast at 35 mph.

HAZARD...Tornado and half dollar size hail.

SOURCE...Radar indicated rotation.

IMPACT...Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without
shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed.
Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree
damage is likely.

* This dangerous storm will be near...
Centropolis and Globe around 600 PM CDT.

Lone Star and Clinton Lake around 610 PM CDT.
Clinton around 615 PM CDT.
Pleasant Grove around 620 PM CDT.
Southwestern Lawrence around 625 PM CDT.

This includes Kansas Turnpike between mile markers 198 and 199.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest
floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a
mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter
and protect yourself from flying debris.


&&

LAT...LON 3868 9551 3869 9551 3870 9550 3889 9550
3901 9531 3873 9512
TIME...MOT...LOC 2241Z 234DEG 29KT 3871 9560

TORNADO...RADAR INDICATED
HAIL...1.25IN

$$

Baerg

*The only edit was made to remove the tornado warning from a quote block, as it was too large to automatically display in full.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Negligence is an important legal concept; it's usually defined as "the failure to use the care that a normally careful person would in a given situation."
Negligent | Definition of Negligent by Merriam-Webster

Key words being "normally careful person" as they relate to chasing with a high precipitation supercell...
I’m not an attorney so I am only wondering, but it would be interesting to know whether the legal view would be:

“A normally careful person should have taken cover while in an area under tornado warning as instructed by the warning, therefore they are already viewed as negligent regardless of specific actions or routes taken under the HP”,

OR

“A normally careful person IN A GIVEN SITUATION is in this case a storm chasing tour operator with guests that wanted to see a tornado and therefore it is completely understandable that they were in the area and should not be expected to have taken cover; in other words, they were NOT negligent just by being in the vicinity, only their actions while under the HP are subject to evaluation for negligence”