1st time chasing resources

I am facing a new challenge for next year's chasing. A very close relative from Scotland wants to come over, visit me, and spend some time chasing with us through late April and all of May.

I have explained chasing in as graphic and non-sugar-coated terms as possible already to him - however I still feel I am lacking any good websites to point him towards to learn about chasing from a complete novice's viewpoint.

I am not so much thinking of websites that tell you how to forecast, explain supercell structure or tornado physics. I am more looking for pages that talk about what to expect from the chasing "lifestyle" - it's pros and cons, etc.

If anybody knows of any such links - I would really appreciate it if they could please post them here or forward them on to me. I have already sent my relative a few links including "Roger Edwards & Tim Vasquez's Storm Chasing FAQs".


Hi there, this might help, it might not, but I am Secretary of TORRO (The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation) - UK based, and maybe your relative from Scotland might benefit from joining (if he's not a member already) as we have a private members forum with stats in and data but also we have the regular chat forums too and a storm chasing forum so he can talk to us who go chasing every year to your part of the world :) Just an idea (I'm not here to canvas members :)) But some of us chase in the UK too when the conditions are right and also it might be good for him to come to one of our conferences where he can ask any questions on the technical stuff or chasing in general. The forum though is the most excellent area for information and education.

Anyway if you fancy or if you have any questions please do email me/pm me. The website is www.torro.org.uk anyway :)
This is something I have rehearsed in my head for the times when someone 'new' to chasing is serious about wanting to go on a trip with me.

First and foremost, I always make it clear that when they go with me, the chase itself is the highest priority and anything that jeopoardizes that must go. When they get into my car, they are with me for the entire trip. There is no going back. If someone changes their mind, wants to go home, gets sick, gets too scared, has an unexpected business meeting back home, decides to get drunk and/or use drugs, or anything that would slow us down or put us in a difficult position - they must agree that I will drop them off at the first sizeable town we arrive in, at our convenience - at which time they must find their own way back via taxi, bus, etc. at their own expense.

That sounds pretty harsh, but I won't take anyone with me who won't agree to that (so far no one hasn't). To spend thousands of dollars driving cross country and have one person ruin it for everybody, for whatever reason it may be, legitimate or not - isn't fair to the rest of us.

That's just my approach. A few other important items:

1.) We will spend most or all day driving, for numerous successive days. Be ready for it and expect it.

2.) Bathroom stops are few and far between. When in chase mode, there may be no bathroom stops at all until the chase is over.

3.) Be prepared to sleep on hotel floors and share rooms.

4.) Be prepared to skip one or more meals each day. Be prepared to eat dinner at a convenience store.

5.) Must sign a liability waiver. Everyone in the car does it - even friends and family. I use a waiver originally written for whitewater rafting trips.

6.) While we try to minimize it, be prepared to endure a lot of discomfort. (From bad hotel rooms to sitting on a roadside for hours in hot, humid conditions).

I figure if someone still wants to go with me after hearing all that, then they've passed the test.
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Excellent writeup and list. Here is one more for your list:

7.) Don't ever, ever follow that idiot with Colorado plates. He hasn't a clue what he's doing..
This isn't much help in the way of resources, but be sure to explain what a complete busted chase day is like, and perhaps quote some anonymous bits of frustration from chasers' 2006 accounts. Not to totally disuade anyone from the pursuit, but wannabe newbies need to know the realities of the challenge. Here's hoping he accepts the risk/reward curve and gets hooked like the rest of us. Happy 2007 Chasing - hope to see you both out on the plains!
Completely agree with all your points Dan - they must be the first items to tell a person before they decide if they are serious they want to go.

Also - not to expect storms - or you'll ikely be disappointed. My philosophy is: If I get a thunderstorm that's brilliant, if I get a supercell that is the icing on the cake, if I get a tornado - that's the cherry on the icing on the cake :)

This all sounds obvious to those who regularly chase, but it's not so obvious to the novice.
To keep the theme of Matrix avatars........;)

2.) Bathroom stops are few and far between. When in chase mode, there may be no bathroom stops at all until the chase is over.

5.) Must sign a liability waiver. Everyone in the car does it - even friends and family. I use a waiver originally written for whitewater rafting trips.

LOL Dan......in view of #2, I don't think I'll be hitching a ride with you anytime soon. I am the "bathroom-friendly" chaser! I'll endure mild-moderate discomfort but hell man......why make yourself miserable?? At least that's my motto! :D On April 2nd this year I saw this 60 seconds post-washroom:


And also r.e. #5......I don't think my dad would be too happy at his daughter making him sign a waiver! ;)

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why make yourself miserable??

LOL, I'll stop if needed - within reason though! The last couple of hours before intercept are 'sacred' as far as not stopping goes. I'm pretty paranoid about it now especially. Case in point, we needed a gas and bathroom stop in southern Illinois on September 22. The only reason I didn't stop because the only gas station I encountered had an under-construction canopy (no roof over the pumps) and it was pouring rain. If we had stopped there, we would have missed the Crosstown F4 by 5 minutes.

Try that link. At the bottom there are other links that provide good info for people who haven't chased before. "What is a typical day like?, What are the safety risks?, What should I pack for the trip?"
Hope that helps. The info is universal I think.

Thanks, Laura.

This is the sort of link/resource that I was looking for. I am not so much concerned about teaching my dad about the basics of tornadogenesis or spotting......as I am about being able to rapidly point him towards a few places that will give him an idea of what chasing is like from the humanitarian standpoint.

As it is - I had already sent him a lengthy email in which I defined roughly about fifteen caveats of chasing and outlined about six of the beneficial aspects of it. Those who know a bit about me will know that I am not exactly lovestruck with many aspects of chasing - so I figured that I'd just let rip and see if he still wants to come! :D


My pleasure! :D
People who haven't chased before think it's like Twister. Flip flop the excitement vs boredom percentages and that's closer to reality.
And as far as getting the BIG ONE, the numbers drop even lower.

I put power points together from our Trips so people back home get an idea of what it's like. And I tell them if I am sunburned when I get back, I will be crabby.

Congrats on getting someone to chase who might not otherwise!
My husband thinks I'm nuts.:p