Skywarn Spotter? Ever asked if you're a storm chaser from the decals on your car?

Justin Roberts

Or when you're out watching a big *ss storm chugging your direction and someone pulls up and says "are there going to be any storms today?"
As your sitting thru the core with volkswagon size hail, somebody comes up knocking on your window to ask if the storms are going to be bad.
 
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Mar 30, 2008
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Norman, OK
www.benholcomb.com
Not as amazing though as the ones that see me in it, ask me where the tornadoes are when it's December and 30F outside and spitting snow.
That reminds me of the Sonic in Denver at the ChaserConvention. Huuurrrrrr durrrrrrrrrrrr.

I had a trucker ask me once on the CB if I was 'One of them stooooooorm chasers'. He apparently saw the laptop and camera and ham plates I guess.

It is annoying when you stop at a fast food place and get a million questions. I was between two storms and was grabbing a quick bite to eat at Wendy's in the drive-thru, and the girl at the window kept asking me questions.. It's like go get me my food so I can get back on the road!
 
Dec 18, 2003
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Lubbock, TX
daviddrummond.com
I don't display any stickers or have any flashy LEDs but my car looks like a porcupine with the antennas. I still have people come up to me and ask if I am a storm chaser or what the weather is going to do. I went thru the Sonic drive-thru in Topeka one time and had my laptop open with GR3 going and the girl asked if I was a storm chaser. I made the mistake of saying "I suppose so" and had the entire crew of Sonic workers of the North Topeka Sonic crowding their head thru the drive thru window to ask me questions and look inside my car.
I've had that situation result in free food a number of times!
 
Jan 12, 2009
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Southbury, Connecticut
And now I must ask this. . .and I feel bad for asking this, and maybe I shouldn't. But I'm going to anyway.

Has anyone ever noticed that at most, if not all SKYWARN meetings, there is AT LEAST one toothless. . .below par intellectual person sitting in the front of the meeting who has all of the mediocre . . .remedial questions that slows everything up, while most are sitting there to endure time and renew their ID cert?

I don't mean to be blunt, but jeez. . . It's like these people just walked out from the hills or something.

I don't know. I just wanted to see if anyone else noticed this as I have. Maybe I just notice too much.
 

Jason Boggs

And now I must ask this. . .and I feel bad for asking this, and maybe I shouldn't. But I'm going to anyway.

Has anyone ever noticed that at most, if not all SKYWARN meetings, there is AT LEAST one toothless. . .below par intellectual person sitting in the front of the meeting who has all of the mediocre . . .remedial questions that slows everything up, while most are sitting there to endure time and renew their ID cert?

I don't mean to be blunt, but jeez. . . It's like these people just walked out from the hills or something.

I don't know. I just wanted to see if anyone else noticed this as I have. Maybe I just notice too much.

I know exactly what you're talking about. We have some of those people at the NWS seminar every other year here in Amarillo. They are definitely one of a kind, that's for sure!
 

Will Wilkens

I don't display any stickers or have any flashy LEDs...... I went thru the Sonic drive-thru in Topeka one time and had my laptop open with GR3 going and the girl asked if I was a storm chaser. I made the mistake of saying "I suppose so" and had the entire crew of Sonic workers of the North Topeka Sonic crowding their head thru the drive thru window to ask me questions and look inside my car.
I had this exact same thing happen to me at a Starbucks drive-thru in Barstow last summer. At least the barista chicks were totally hot, all squealing and giggling with total interest and asking if I knew "that guy with the tornado tank....".. "um, yeaaaahhh...why yes, I do.." :D
 

Benjamin Rock

I pulled in to a parking lot at a walmart and had somebody pull up next to me. They jumped out of their car ran over to me and asked if it was going to storm.. I just stared at the guy... It was raining hard enough to make rivers in the parking lot, the wind was blowing at 30mph measured, and the sirens were going off in the town with a huge mothership rolling in... I finally half giggled and just rolled my window back up and drove off.. What do you say someone like that?
 
Jan 12, 2009
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Southbury, Connecticut
I pulled in to a parking lot at a walmart and had somebody pull up next to me. They jumped out of their car ran over to me and asked if it was going to storm.. I just stared at the guy... It was raining hard enough to make rivers in the parking lot, the wind was blowing at 30mph measured, and the sirens were going off in the town with a huge mothership rolling in... I finally half giggled and just rolled my window back up and drove off.. What do you say someone like that?
You don't. You do exactly what you did. It's perfect!
 
And now I must ask this. . .and I feel bad for asking this, and maybe I shouldn't. But I'm going to anyway.

Has anyone ever noticed that at most, if not all SKYWARN meetings, there is AT LEAST one toothless. . .below par intellectual person sitting in the front of the meeting who has all of the mediocre . . .remedial questions that slows everything up, while most are sitting there to endure time and renew their ID cert?

I don't mean to be blunt, but jeez. . . It's like these people just walked out from the hills or something.

I don't know. I just wanted to see if anyone else noticed this as I have. Maybe I just notice too much.
Yeah, that guy - it was me!
:D
 
May 6, 2009
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Topeka, KS
I've only been approached a couple times, lightbar is on only when stopped on the side of the road (front of the lense is painted black now, only rear can be seen) and i have a small sticker. Folks just ask typical questions, can't say I mind answering really. Afterall, we're there for them.

I had a guy at a gas station ask me if I had driven through a tornado before, it was rather hard to keep a straight face so I just pointed at the TIV and he promptly went to bug Sean :D

Then when I go through the occasional drive-thru the window guy has to stop and ask you about weather or they make a douche comment about having a computer in your car.
 
Ha! Yes, I'm frequently asked if there is a storm coming too when people see my rigged up truck. Then again, you don't see vehicles around in Connecticut set up with anemometers on it. I kind of enjoy when people come up to me and get excited. On occasion I visit my old science teacher from Elementary school and when the little kids see my truck they go NUTS! I let them look at my Kestrel 4000 and they were all fighting over it.

Aaah. That's how I used to be when I was their age. Hell, I still am!
Nice! That's the way we need to be with kids today. Let them get their hands on the real stuff! That's how they get and stay interested instead of the iPods and Xbox360s and getting fat on the couch... :)
 
Just some food for thought (not flashing a stormchaser police badge or anything).....

A long time ago, I used to get a little irked when locals would come up to me and ask about what the storm was doing or if prior to initiation what was expected that day. It's easy to get a little worn out from answering the same question a 1000 times over. :)

Then I started thinking that these folks chose me to get information that likely would impact their lives...particularly deadly weather. It is a pretty good bet that they aren't watching the latest SPC mesoscale discussions....watching that outflow boundary on radar...a rotation couplet...VILs...spotter reports on a storm 10 miles away and approaching...etc etc.

Their homes and lives are in the middle of our "playground" so to speak. To think that they had enough will to walk up to a total stranger and inquire about severe weather potentially impacting them or their livelihood (like farmers) makes me feel honored and humbled. I always make it a point to provide as much information as I can as the situation allows...even if it is "I don't really know".

After all, being nice to that stranger might pay off later if they are the one pulling me out of a ditch with their tractor or truck. :)

Now, as I say all of that, it IS frustrating what they sometimes do AFTER you tell them that the storm ahead is potentially tornadic and chunking out pieces of ice as large as softballs (as the sky is all blueish, greenish, purplish like the bowels of hell).....and they drive right into it. I sometimes call that the "moth-to-a-flame effect". LOL!
 
I don't mean to be blunt, but jeez. . . It's like these people just walked out from the hills or something.
I think you are mistaking "blunt" for "ignorant"... I thought we were adults, not high-schoolers...

Just some food for thought (not flashing a stormchaser police badge or anything).....

A long time ago, I used to get a little irked when locals would come up to me and ask about what the storm was doing or if prior to initiation what was expected that day. It's easy to get a little worn out from answering the same question a 1000 times over. :)

Then I started thinking that these folks chose me to get information that likely would impact their lives...particularly deadly weather. It is a pretty good bet that they aren't watching the latest SPC mesoscale discussions....watching that outflow boundary on radar...a rotation couplet...VILs...spotter reports on a storm 10 miles away and approaching...etc etc.

Their homes and lives are in the middle of our "playground" so to speak. To think that they had enough will to walk up to a total stranger and inquire about severe weather potentially impacting them or their livelihood (like farmers) makes me feel honored and humbled. I always make it a point to provide as much information as I can as the situation allows...even if it is "I don't really know".

After all, being nice to that stranger might pay off later if they are the one pulling me out of a ditch with their tractor or truck. :)

Couldn't agree more. There's absolutely no reason to be a DICKHEAD to someone that is actually interested or asking for info. These are the people who are in danger, and if we are REALLY out there for public safety (like so many of us claim to be) there is no reason not to pass along some tidbids of information. Anyone that is too selfish to handle that is a yahoo chaser, IMO.
 
Dec 13, 2003
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La Plata, Maryland
Just some food for thought (not flashing a stormchaser police badge or anything).....

A long time ago, I used to get a little irked when locals would come up to me and ask about what the storm was doing or if prior to initiation what was expected that day. It's easy to get a little worn out from answering the same question a 1000 times over. :)

Then I started thinking that these folks chose me to get information that likely would impact their lives...particularly deadly weather. It is a pretty good bet that they aren't watching the latest SPC mesoscale discussions....watching that outflow boundary on radar...a rotation couplet...VILs...spotter reports on a storm 10 miles away and approaching...etc etc.

Their homes and lives are in the middle of our "playground" so to speak. To think that they had enough will to walk up to a total stranger and inquire about severe weather potentially impacting them or their livelihood (like farmers) makes me feel honored and humbled. I always make it a point to provide as much information as I can as the situation allows...even if it is "I don't really know".

After all, being nice to that stranger might pay off later if they are the one pulling me out of a ditch with their tractor or truck. :)

Now, as I say all of that, it IS frustrating what they sometimes do AFTER you tell them that the storm ahead is potentially tornadic and chunking out pieces of ice as large as softballs (as the sky is all blueish, greenish, purplish like the bowels of hell).....and they drive right into it. I sometimes call that the "moth-to-a-flame effect". LOL!

Amen!! ^^ Good post.
 

Shane Adams

After so many years, it becomes automatic to answer the same questions over and over. Sometimes it annoys me, but like SiM-TeX said, it's a kind of honor to be in that position. Being out on the Plains answering the same old questions means I'm out there doing what I love, and that ain't a bad thing.

And once in a great while, you even save a life or two.
 
Jan 1, 2009
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Gulf Coast
www.aniwack.com
One of my favorite encounters is I'm sitting in a fast food joint parking lot with 5 other chasers waiting on a storm to come out of a rural area and a local asked if it was going to rain.

Another favorite was I was chasing a storm and I needed to find a hill. How perfectly the Walmart parking lot was on top of that hill. Now I do have the Skywarn decal for local PD so they know why we're "loitering", so I kinda stand out. So the storm is tornatic (and a lovely shade of green), the sirens are blasting, the power has gone out, golf ball size hail is falling, and a driver from Florida boxes me in to ask me if it's ok to drive.
Seriously?!?

The main thing about the general public is some of the comments the person thinks they're being funny, like asking a convoy if it's gonna rain. The public just knows what they see on TV.
 
Dec 13, 2003
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La Plata, Maryland
Another favorite was I was chasing a storm and I needed to find a hill. How perfectly the Walmart parking lot was on top of that hill. Now I do have the Skywarn decal for local PD so they know why we're "loitering", so I kinda stand out. So the storm is tornatic (and a lovely shade of green), the sirens are blasting, the power has gone out, golf ball size hail is falling, and a driver from Florida boxes me in to ask me if it's ok to drive.
Seriously?!?
Reminds me of Bill Engvall " Here's your sign" :D:D
 

Daniel Beuchert

Indeed John, indeed!

I've had one time, when I was fueling up, and a family caravan was next to me ... the father asked if I really was a chaser (I have stickers, so hand to forehead moment), and then tells his kids that I'm a storm chaser ... that was kinda funny but cute at the same time.

Probably the one I'll remember the longest is the time I was chasing in central MI, saw a white crown vic flip a U behind me, and looked down at my speedometer ... I slowed down and waited for the lights. When I looked into the rear view again, I noticed a Skywarn license plate, and pulled over to chat - he had seen the funnel cloud on the storm I was on before it turned into an HP hurricane. Funny how you meet other chasers sometimes!
 
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Reactions: Sam Ferrenburg
Aug 16, 2009
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Amarillo, TX
I always get that look when I pull in a gas station in another state, with my Texas plates, Skywarn decal, and my loud Mazda roaring to a stop, the look of "...you don't chase in THAT do you?" Haha, I always tell anyone I like to have the ability to get to or away from a storm quickly rather than slowly chug along.
 
I have only one skywarn sticker on my back window. I have not ever been asked about it, probably because around here, not many know what Skywarn is. The only reason I have it on my car is to reduce the chance of some whackjob cop coming up to me while photographing storms and giving me a hard time. You never know what people might think since around here you cannot take pictures inside malls because of homeland security or some such bull. Once I was in an empty parking lot photographing a supercell and there was a cop there. Kinda odd and made me a little cautious but he may have been there the same reason I was. Damn the city!

It always funny people asking you, "how much does it pay," to spot/chase!!You get to hear all there tornado and hail stories some are interesting.Seem like everyone wants there own personal forecast like are we going to have a tornado here.
I love this. It usually is the first thing out of peoples mouths..aside from "Ooh like in Twister!" My general answer is "It costs more than it pays" and tell them that I do not do it for money and probably never would.

The personal forecast thing is rather irritating. My family are the ones that do that. They will ask me what is going on and when I tell them, they try to tell me otherwise. This is irksome when I am sitting in front of a laptop with radar up and all the forecast discussions..then they say "check TWC" -.- No, YOU check TWC :p
 
May 6, 2009
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I had someone the other day see my truck with the skywarn decals on it and came up and asked me if I was on the "Storm Chasers" show. (Though i was on Vortex 2 and was on CSWR team and was on the weather channel) I said no. I find it funny how people assume that just because we're out looking at storms means we must be on TV or something..