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

Feb 9, 2007
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Illinois
skywarnforum.com
My truck is bare when it comes to that stuff (minus my NRA, Freemason and Shriner stickers) but I do have one magnet that says "certified skywarn storm spotter" on it. I put it on my tailgate. The only reason I use it is if I am pulled over spotting and a curious cop comes driving up to see who I am, that usually gives it away pretty quickly. :p Other than that, I go low profile... I even use my hazards for emergency lighting-yep I am old school :p
 
I see nothing wrong with decals as long as they are accurate as to the reasons you are chasing. Skywarn, EMT, Paramedic, NWS spotter, tour group, news crew, etc. Even sponsors are OK as long as they are used with respect, e.g., removed at disaster scenes.

The problem is when chasers use decals with "Researcher" or "Scientists" to try and gain favor or publicity. Fake scientists are the "hot" thing in storm chasing right now. The media loves a cover story for promoting "getting close." I'm not a scientist, but if I was, I'd be a little irritated. I'm surprised more working scientists don't openly complain. If you are not working for or with a "real" scientific outlet or company, e.g., VORTEX, NCAR, etc., and/or you do not have a history of peer-reviewed scientific papers, you are not an actual researcher or scientist you are just a "weather observer."

W.
 
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Jan 27, 2011
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Russell, KS
Lol I have a Skywarn sticker on the back of my truck.. One day I was on my way to a storm that was developing in southern Nebraska when all of a sudden a cop car lit me up and pulled me over. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what I had done.. When he came up to the door I went to hand him my paperwork, and he said "No don't worry about that... We start getting nervous when you guys show up, I was just wondering if there was anything we should know about".. I showed him my radar and where the storm was moving, told him this one wasn't tracking for his area but he should keep an eye on the sky because they were still under a TOW. He thanked me, shook my hand, and sent me on my way.

I actually have not had much hassle when stopping other places though..
 
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I'm sure other chasers have experienced this same irritating situation: It is a high or moderate risk day. There are hundreds of chasers filling up the area. The sky is growing darker by the moment and the wind is picking up. It never fails. Someone will come up and ask: Are we going to have a storm? Here's your sign!

W.
I get "Are we going to have a storm?" a lot. Quite often I get the ones that sit there and try to convince me otherwise. "Aww were not gonna git nothin. Them sireens always go off..."
 

calvinkaskey

Guest
Feb 17, 2014
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I haven't seen anything about what funnel clouds to report. From the few chases I've had and in the bad location I am in (New York) I have still seen a handful of short lived gustnadoes and a funnel cloud coming off the side of a wall cloud (North Carolina).
 
Feb 20, 2014
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Fort Myers, FL
Hello!

I am a SKYWARN Storm Spotter down here in Southwest Florida (Naples/Fort Myers) and recently put the SKYWARN Storm Spotter sticker on my 2011 KIA Sorento. What would be a normal day pulling into a Costco gas station to fill up with no stickers on the car wound up turning into a conversation piece as I had a couple of folks from Indiana down here on vacation ask me if I had some interesting storm chasing stories. I chuckled and told them that I didn't have anything "interesting" to tell them, but when the road disappears in front of you from a heavy downpour from our summer afternoon thunderstorms that makes driving a little "interesting." And, what makes it more "interesting" is making sure you keep your car on the road so you don't wind up in the canal that runs along side of it. ;)

Happy Storm Chasing!

Jason M. Perretta | KD4HML
Fort Myers, FL
 
Dec 8, 2003
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Southeast CO
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This is kind of backwards from the thread's intents, but it's one of my favorite anecdotes.

Hwy 160 in eastern CO many years ago, when you could chase and not see another chaser (sometimes), SW of Springfield. A pretty intense storm drifted off the Raton Mesa, and I approached the forward flank. I came across a large sedan with a couple of antennae parked on the shoulder, so I pulled up behind it, got out, and went to talk to the occupants. It was a couple, probably in their 60's. I asked them if they were storm chasers. Quite emphatically, the sweet little lady said: "NOOOO!! We're storm-runners-away-from-ers!!!"
 

Brian J. Umbenhower

Enthusiast
Dec 26, 2015
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Nixa Missouri
I like when you are following a funnel cloud and someone asks "Did you see that Tornado" !! I usally say "Yes, I am following it". They give you a strange look like your nuts. Ha-ha.
 
Mar 8, 2015
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Burlington, IA
I was at the far end of a Walmart parking lot waiting on a storm & some lady probably 10 years older than me with a limp came up to my window & asked if I was the guy from craigslist. I said no & she said dammit & limped away lol
 
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Alex B

Enthusiast
Aug 11, 2019
4
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1
Northwestern Indiana
My story isn't too funny, but not too long ago while I was spotting I was pulled off to the side of the road and I had my hazards on, just listening to my weather radio as I was watching the storm of the day pass me to my south. It had a special weather statement and several severe thunderstorm warnings on it, and it was perfect for taking pics of the constant cloud-to-ground lightning because I was set up on a back road right in front of a ton of soybean fields. Anyways this lady drives past me, stops, backs up in the middle of the road and rolls her window down. She was like "are you alright?" as I was taking some pictures. I just said "uh, yeah?" and then I realized that I look like a young kid who's pulled off on the side of the road with my hazards on, so it wasn't like she didn't have a reason to act concerned lol. Anyways, I just chuckled nervously and said "oh yeah, I'm a storm spotter for the National Weather Service. I'm just erm, makin' sure nothin' crazy is goin' on..." and she just laughed and said "ooooooh okay!" and drove away.
 

Alex B

Enthusiast
Aug 11, 2019
4
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1
Northwestern Indiana
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?
I feel like this would be some scene or something in a movie lol. Like a movie about storm chasers that was actually accurate haha.
 

Alex B

Enthusiast
Aug 11, 2019
4
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1
Northwestern Indiana
I had someone come up to me and asked if i was going to be around for a few minutes because someone really wanted to meet me. I said well i think so but that could change in a moments notice, and im thinking to myself why on earth does someone want to see me being that i was 200 miles from home and didn't know anyone. A few minutes later a car pulls up and a boy around 10 comes up to me with a few tornado books and tells me he has been buying weather books and studying them every chance he got since he was little and said he's always wanted to meet a real storm chaser and asked if i could sign them. I wanted to tell him i was a nobody, but seeing the look on the kids face i couldn't say no. Not exactly a bad thing i guess, just really caught me off guard from the usual "I hope your not intercepting here" speech.
Awe, that's a cute story nevertheless haha. I remember being that kid when I was little too. Mountains of little weather picture books I got from the library, and as many memorized lines from Twister as possible! šŸ˜†;)
 

Alex B

Enthusiast
Aug 11, 2019
4
0
1
Northwestern Indiana
Hello!

I am a SKYWARN Storm Spotter down here in Southwest Florida (Naples/Fort Myers) and recently put the SKYWARN Storm Spotter sticker on my 2011 KIA Sorento. What would be a normal day pulling into a Costco gas station to fill up with no stickers on the car wound up turning into a conversation piece as I had a couple of folks from Indiana down here on vacation ask me if I had some interesting storm chasing stories. I chuckled and told them that I didn't have anything "interesting" to tell them, but when the road disappears in front of you from a heavy downpour from our summer afternoon thunderstorms that makes driving a little "interesting." And, what makes it more "interesting" is making sure you keep your car on the road so you don't wind up in the canal that runs along side of it. ;)

Happy Storm Chasing!

Jason M. Perretta | KD4HML
Fort Myers, FL
Haha, honestly what made it funnier is that I'm a spotter from Indiana and I go to Florida almost every year. My cousins usually go to Fort Myers while we go to Vero Beach. Anyways, try not to wind up in any canals! Honestly they're pretty sketchy lol!