Storm chasing and the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

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J.W. King

Enthusiast
Feb 7, 2020
4
2
1
Little Rock Arkansas
It's a mandatory self-quarantine, i.e., you designate and are responsible for quarantining at a location of your own choosing, which could include either a private residence or a hotel. They are not taking people to state mandated sites or facilities. What Kansas mandated is essentially the same.

Governor Abbott Mandates 14-Day Quarantine For Road Travelers Arriving In Texas From Any Location In Louisiana
Thanks for the info, Jesse. I'm curtailing my activities in the game until I know what I'm doing is safe for everyone, including me. But I'm also awaiting a reply from my mechanic in southeast Connecticut, to whom I posted this same question (non-chasing related). He has eight tow trucks on I-95 near the Rhode Island border, and the same quarantine rules apply to CT plates entering RI. Problem is, every other car on I-95 heading towards Providence has NY or CT plates. That's LOT of quarantines. Seems problematic to me, if not downright impossible, especially as motels close or get full. Same problem applies to those coming into Texas through Texarkana. Big border crossing for out-of-staters. And more than 75% of eighteen wheelers have out-of-state tags on their trailers not associated with the rigs' state origin. Think I'll stick to the Natural State for now.
 

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
2,153
554
11
39
Macomb, IL
www.tornadoguys.com
Thanks for the info, Jesse. I'm curtailing my activities in the game until I know what I'm doing is safe for everyone, including me. But I'm also awaiting a reply from my mechanic in southeast Connecticut, to whom I posted this same question (non-chasing related). He has eight tow trucks on I-95 near the Rhode Island border, and the same quarantine rules apply to CT plates entering RI. Problem is, every other car on I-95 heading towards Providence has NY or CT plates. That's LOT of quarantines. Seems problematic to me, if not downright impossible, especially as motels close or get full. Same problem applies to those coming into Texas through Texarkana. Big border crossing for out-of-staters. And more than 75% of eighteen wheelers have out-of-state tags on their trailers not associated with the rigs' state origin. Think I'll stick to the Natural State for now.
RI modified its order after both the ACLU and the state of NY (Cuomo) threatened to sue them. It's an interstate commerce and interstate travel (liberty) issue. As of right now they are only stopping passenger vehicles and applying the quarantine mandate IF the driver is intending to stay in RI for any period of time. The ACLU was also maintaining that it still violates the Fourth Amendment to arbitrarily stop random passenger vehicles simply for having New York plates, but checkpoints stopping all non-commercial vehicles seem to be legal (or happening) for now.
Rhode Island ends specific restrictions on New Yorkers — by making them national

Commercial vehicles will not be stopped, but signs will direct passenger vehicles from out-of-state to rest stops where members of the national guard will stop motorists, he said. Those who say they’re passing through will be sent on their way, while those intend to stay in Rhode Island will be told about the 14-day quarantine requirement and asked for contact information that will be passed on to the state’s health department, Manni added. Rhode Island officials have promised door-to-door checks on those individuals, but it’s still unclear who will perform them.

Out-of-state passenger vehicles that don’t stop at the highway checkpoints will be pulled over by state police and directed to one, the police official said.

“Interstate commerce will not be impeded,” Manni emphasized. “The procedure we have in place does not violate anyone’s constitutional rights.”
 

LVblizzard

Enthusiast
Jan 19, 2020
3
2
1
Pennsylvania
The tour company I’m chasing with emailed me earlier today and said all their tours are still on, and a week before each tour they’ll reevaluate. I can’t believe they didn’t at least cancel all of May. Even the first week or two in June is looking iffy at this point. I’m attempting to reschedule to a late June into early July tour, and I’m not even confident that will happen.
 

Paul Bird

EF0
Aug 24, 2016
26
26
1
Xenia Oh
I wouldnt go chasing as part of a group and I wouldnt stay overnight. However by myself only going as far as Illinois (I live in western Oh), im not doing any damage. The millions of people going to the grocery store with their entire family are the real people we should concern ourselves with.

My opinion, if you're solo and not venturing TOO far from home, you're fine.

Ive spoken with cops from IL and Indy and they will not stop anyone in regards to quarantine unless another law is broken.

Needless to say, my trip to the plains is canceled. I will enjoy the more local setups however.
 
Nov 18, 2006
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Chicago, IL
I mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating. While most inside of the storm chasing community are raking me over the coals for freaking out about this/wanting to report violators to maintain the community integrity, virtually NO ONE *outside* of our community is. They are all appalled at the fact that so many intend to outright violate or skirt the orders. I know my experiences are anectdotal, but Jesse's post above is a good illustration how most everyone else in the country feels about it.
and I find it interesting the only people that I have seen protesting chasers so much are members within the community. My public following (which, if we want to boast about numbers, is over a quarter million on fb) largely supports us being out there and appreciates what we do and is equally appalled that some want to play tattle tale.

I am far more likely to catch the virus from dirty disease-bag children running around touching and drooling on everything than someone is to get it from me because I spent two days in my truck with minimal stops and human contact. Hell, one of the reason storm chasing became such a desirable hobby to many is because we're already socially awkward introverts who try to escape to nature. Avoiding people is already something many of us are attuned to.

I've already accepted the fact I am probably going to get this thing at somepoint in my life, at this point it really doesn't matter how - its going to happen. Is that ignorant? Perhaps, but we already live life with thousands of risks, including deadlier diseases, every day. Unfortunately I've accepted that this is just another way to die on an already long list. We can pray for a vaccine, but if one never comes, this thing is here to stay, then what? Going outside two years from now will be just as risky as it is tomorrow except for those who've already had it.
 
Nov 27, 2016
14
29
1
Milwaukee, WI
The tour company I’m chasing with emailed me earlier today and said all their tours are still on, and a week before each tour they’ll reevaluate. I can’t believe they didn’t at least cancel all of May. Even the first week or two in June is looking iffy at this point. I’m attempting to reschedule to a late June into early July tour, and I’m not even confident that will happen.
That's unfortunate. They must be talking to "the other" tour operator still planning to chase in May. (At least they did cancel their first two scheduled to start 4/21 and 5/2.) That said, they are accepting bookings for 5/10 and later . . . at least according to their website right now.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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2,744
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St. Louis
stormhighway.com
and I find it interesting the only people that I have seen protesting chasers so much are members within the community. My public following (which, if we want to boast about numbers, is over a quarter million on fb) largely supports us being out there and appreciates what we do and is equally appalled that some want to play tattle tale.

I am far more likely to catch the virus from dirty disease-bag children running around touching and drooling on everything than someone is to get it from me because I spent two days in my truck with minimal stops and human contact. Hell, one of the reason storm chasing became such a desirable hobby to many is because we're already socially awkward introverts who try to escape to nature. Avoiding people is already something many of us are attuned to.

I've already accepted the fact I am probably going to get this thing at somepoint in my life, at this point it really doesn't matter how - its going to happen. Is that ignorant? Perhaps, but we already live life with thousands of risks, including deadlier diseases, every day. Unfortunately I've accepted that this is just another way to die on an already long list. We can pray for a vaccine, but if one never comes, this thing is here to stay, then what? Going outside two years from now will be just as risky as it is tomorrow except for those who've already had it.
The reason followers of weather pages might support it is because they don't know the difference between a spotter who stays in their home area to report on storms versus a chaser who travels all over the country for their own enjoyment. You and others are making this out like I'm talking about spotters, which is a lie. Chasers always abuse this blurred distinction when it is convenient, and you know it. Spotters are an upstanding group that have my complete respect, and in every area they are exempt from any stay-at-home orders because they *do not travel around the country*.

A rural county in western Kansas has sufficient spotter and local media coverage to survive this season without a thousand chasers from all over the USA breaking quarantine rules and bringing the disease into those communities. You want to call me out for reporting quarantine violators like I'm talking about something petty like speeding or rolling stop signs. If *chasers* - not local spotters - are traveling the country breaking quarantine and travel bans, you're going to get people killed, and that is a fact.

I'm not going to have a choice but to go through with my original plans, especially because you and others are leading the local *spotter* community to believe that I'm after *them*. If you that disagree with me can't at least go through this with intellectual honesty without using your less-weather-knowledgable followers as weapons for your personal benefit, then what choice do I have?
 
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Jun 28, 2007
299
122
11
Machesney Park, IL
When you are in quarantine, you stay in your house. If they stop you at the state line, you are turned around.
Maybe I’m reading that wrong but where are they stopping people at the state line and turning them around? They’re not doing that in Texas or at Florida airports and as @Jesse Risley has pointed out states can’t restrict interstate travel. They can require me to quarantine if I enter the state and if I don’t like that I can decide to turn around but they can’t deny me entry because of a quarantine or any other reason.

Texas order:

"Every person who enters the State of Texas through roadways from Louisiana, or from any other state as may be proclaimed hereafter, shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Texas or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter."

Governor Abbott Mandates 14-Day Quarantine For Road Travelers Arriving In Texas From Any Location In Louisiana

Florida order:

"I hereby direct all persons whose point of departure originates from outside the State of Florida in an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), and entering the State of Florida through airports to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person's presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter."

https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-80.pdf
 

Paul Bird

EF0
Aug 24, 2016
26
26
1
Xenia Oh
The reason followers of weather pages might support it is because they don't know the difference between a spotter who stays in their home area to report on storms versus a chaser who travels all over the country for their own enjoyment. You and others are making this out like I'm talking about spotters, which is a lie. Chasers always abuse this blurred distinction when it is convenient, and you know it. Spotters are an upstanding group that have my complete respect, and in every area they are exempt from any stay-at-home orders because they *do not travel around the country*.

A rural county in western Kansas has sufficient spotter coverage to survive this season without a thousand chasers from all over the USA breaking quarantine rules and bringing the disease into those communities. You want to call me out for reporting quarantine violators like I'm talking about something petty like speeding or rolling stop signs. If *chasers* - not local spotters - are traveling the country breaking quarantine and travel bans, you're going to get people killed, and that is a fact.

I'm not going to have a choice but to go through with my original plans, especially because you and others are leading the local *spotter* community to believe that I'm after *them*. If you that disagree with me can't at least go through this with intellectual honesty without using your less-weather-knowledgable followers as weapons for your personal benefit, then what choice do I have?
I cant believe you're targeting something as isolated as storm chasing to take a stance against when all law enforcement are looking for is large gatherings. You coming out with all of this wont change anything because LEOs wont respond unless we break some form of traffic law. You should concern yourself with the fighting of large gatherings instead.. It just doesnt make sense to me.. Especially when officers themselves have told me this..

As others have said, no one is worrying about chasers other than select few chasers.. You'll only entice anger with coming out against this.
 
Jan 14, 2011
2,941
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St. Louis
stormhighway.com
I cant believe you're targeting something as isolated as storm chasing to take a stance against when all law enforcement are looking for is large gatherings. You coming out with all of this wont change anything because LEOs wont respond unless we break some form of traffic law. You should concern yourself with the fighting of large gatherings instead.. It just doesnt make sense to me.. Especially when officers themselves have told me this..

As others have said, no one is worrying about chasers other than select few chasers.. You'll only entice anger with coming out against this.
They *are* concerned about individuals, they are already forcing quarantine for those coming from certain areas! Health care workers are screaming at us saying that we *can* spread this disease as individuals out there despite what we think are reasonable precautions.
 
I agree with others who say this isn't ending anytime soon. It will be no less contagious six months from now as it is today and only a sliver of the population has been exposed at this point. If everyone was sheltered in place I'd be more inclined to believe we'll see a decline soon, but it seems there's simply too many people still moving about for social distancing to slow it down sufficiently. Plus flattening the curve is a long term strategy in of itself. I think the reason tour companies are not cancelling at this point is because they don't want to lose business "just in case". If they call it off now, they lose 100% guaranteed. If they wait and things do miraculously clear up, then they have minimized their losses.

I also agree that there will be a decision point where financial need may override exposure protection. Government won't be able to fund half the population to live because it has to have income in order to fund it, which won't be there. They can print all the money they want, but it becomes worthless over time. Plus, we still need workers to manufacture food/supplies, trucks to deliver them and stores to distribute and eventually those workers will be exposed as well....then what? There's no way to tell when that point will occur, but this is a terrible reality we may eventually have to face and it will ultimately fall upon the individual to decide how to go forward.
 

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
2,153
554
11
39
Macomb, IL
www.tornadoguys.com
Maybe I’m reading that wrong but where are they stopping people at the state line and turning them around? They’re not doing that in Texas or at Florida airports and as @Jesse Risley has pointed out states can’t restrict interstate travel. They can require me to quarantine if I enter the state and if I don’t like that I can decide to turn around but they can’t deny me entry because of a quarantine or any other reason.
Because we are in relatively uncharted territory I wouldn't be surprised to see more states start pushing the issue, which means more governors start trying to take steps to see how far they can go to challenge established legal precedents.

Something is settled law until it's not anymore. There are going to be a lot more civil liberty issues pressed as this goes on. Since authorities know they can do what they want in the short-term anyhow, and it's up to individual citizens or special interest groups like the ACLU to fight it out in court, I think you're going to continue to see questionable behaviors as governments become more frantic to find ways to flatten the curve by coercion. Virtual lockdowns only go so far; I see the needle pushing further and further into coercive desperation as the weeks tick by and the restrictive ends of the bully pulpit and moral appeals to uphold a social contract are no longer effective in the eyes of certain executives.
 

Paul Bird

EF0
Aug 24, 2016
26
26
1
Xenia Oh
They *are* concerned about individuals, they are already forcing quarantine for those coming from certain areas! Health care workers are screaming at us saying that we *can* spread this disease as individuals out there despite what we think are reasonable precautions.
I agree with you to the extent that overnight trips are bad. However if you're locally chasing within a reasonable distance from home, say two hours or so only filling up once, gloves mask ect., I think that is personally just fine.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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St. Louis
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I agree with you to the extent that overnight trips are bad. However if you're locally chasing within a reasonable distance from home, say two hours or so only filling up once, gloves mask ect., I think that is personally just fine.
Yes I agree. Chasing locally is more in line with spotting and doesn't violate any area's travel restrictions (at least the ones currently in effect). If you're only using your normal home gas station and not stopping for food, there are no nodes of transmission outside of your community. The risk for needing a tow is still there though.

Guys, I'm not talking about any chasing during this pandemic. I'm talking about willfully breaking the quarantine and travel orders. That's on another level.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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St. Louis
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I still love how us chasers seem to have a perception that anyone gives a rats donkey what we do. I guarantee you nobody cares. I think someone posting in this thread made a blog post just about that very thing. Keep it in perspective. We're unimportant.
Nobody will care untill we're responsible for bringing the virus to Pratt or Great Bend. You and I both know that any time a chaser does something worthy of negative press it blows up into a national story. This one will be nuclear.
 
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Reactions: James Hilger
Mar 15, 2007
147
14
6
Essex - UK
The tour company I’m chasing with emailed me earlier today and said all their tours are still on, and a week before each tour they’ll reevaluate. I can’t believe they didn’t at least cancel all of May. Even the first week or two in June is looking iffy at this point. I’m attempting to reschedule to a late June into early July tour, and I’m not even confident that will happen.
I would imagine if the 2 Metre Exclusion zone is still ongoing in May and they do operate they will get absolutely slammed on all Social Media Platforms for unsafe ethics of putting customers lives at risk. The sheer logistics of trying to run a tour in the Plains is incomprehensible, lack of restaurants, hotels alone is hard enough, say one of their confined guests gets ill whilst on the tour ? What then.
Lets face it, this isnt going away anytime soon certainly not before peak season and not cancelling is only going to damage their business more surely.
Its one thing to go out solo or in a pair which is doable but surely in groups of 8, 10 or 12 its nigh on impossible.
 
Nobody will care untill we're responsible for bringing the virus to Pratt or Great Bend. You and I both know that any time a chaser does something worthy of negative press it blows up into a national story.
The only argument that can be made for this is *if* someone knowingly spreads it and is identified as such. Other than that, there is no way anyone could be identified as such for a story to run like that because chasers aren't the only ones to frequent gas stations, truck stops, etc. and would be a small part of business even on big chase days.

This isn't to say a chaser couldn't be the one to bring it to a small town, but for the press to point a finger they'd have to have someone to point the finger at, which would be muddled at best.
 

Paul Bird

EF0
Aug 24, 2016
26
26
1
Xenia Oh
Nobody will care untill we're responsible for bringing the virus to Pratt or Great Bend. You and I both know that any time a chaser does something worthy of negative press it blows up into a national story.
The virus will eventually spread through all corners and the isolation will then be moot. I agree hundreds of people from other states in the plains as of right now is poor decision making. However I understand completely where youre at and I will go no further than IL. I just hope you dont follow through putting us all on blast. Lets not spotlight ourselves for now?
 
Jan 14, 2011
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St. Louis
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The only argument that can be made for this is *if* someone knowingly spreads it and is identified as such. Other than that, there is no way anyone could be identified as such for a story to run like that because chasers aren't the only ones to frequent gas stations, truck stops, etc. and would be a small part of business even on big chase days.

This isn't to say a chaser couldn't be the one to bring it to a small town, but for the press to point a finger they'd have to have someone to point the finger at, which would be muddled at best.
The nightmare scenario I could see is the first cases popping up in somewhere like Medicine Lodge or Boise City a week after 150 chasers used their gas station, the first confirmed case being a local rancher who also used the same station that day. Then he asymptomatically spreads it to all of his family and all of the other guys he sits down for lunch with at those two old cafe tables they have inside the gas station. Along with the technicians at the tractor parts and repair place in town. Then they spread it to their families and connections, and so on.
 
Jan 14, 2011
2,941
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St. Louis
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The virus will eventually spread through all corners and the isolation will then be moot. I agree hundreds of people from other states in the plains as of right now is poor decision making. However I understand completely where youre at and I will go no further than IL. I just hope you dont follow through putting us all on blast. Lets not spotlight ourselves for now?
I hope everyone can see I'm not trying to run the bus over anyone or the community. I see this threat as real enough to risk my entire standing in the community for it. I'm acutely aware of what this is doing to my status in the eyes of other chasers. I wouldn't commit reputational suicide in my own community if it wasn't for something this urgent. I'm going to resolve to have respect for all of you and am hoping we can get through this thing without the unthinkable happening. Despite my previous posts, when it's all over (hopefully sooner than later), I will hold no grudges against anyone here.
 
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Paul Bird

EF0
Aug 24, 2016
26
26
1
Xenia Oh
I hope everyone can see I'm not trying to run the bus over anyone or the community. I see this threat as real enough to risk my entire standing in the community for it. I'm acutely aware of what this is doing to my status in the eyes of other chasers. I wouldn't commit reputational suicide in my own community if it wasn't for something this urgent. I'm going to resolve to have respect for all of you and am hoping we can get through this thing without the unthinkable happening. When it's all over (hopefully sooner than later), I will hold no grudges against anyone here.
Once we get through April into may I imagine travel restrictions being lightened. Imagine being on a 747 jet and the engine turns off mid flight. We have to know when to turn it back on before we crash and cannot recover.. I dont see posting an article about chasers will garner much attention considering the circumstances of everything else. I would wait till a setup appears out west, see what transpires and go from there. Being in western Ohio and having the opportunity to go as far as central IL will satisfy me this year. And hopefully others do the same and stay as low key as possible. Something to consider.
 
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