The following is an email I was forwarded from within the NWS...
I am asking for suggestions for handling this situation.
We just received a report from Rooks County, Kansas. During our severe weather last night we had a large supercell move out of Graham county. This system produced a large, long-track tornado which caused significant damage to several farmsteads, numerous trees and a couple of towns. We have a crew conducting the survey. They contacted the Emergency Manager and stopped at the EOC before venturing into the countryside.
During their visit, local law enforcement officials mentioned that there were large numbers of "chasers" in the county. I am not certain the exact number, however from all accounts they disregarded all emergency vehicles, were driving at excessive speeds and generally were reckless and endangering the lives of others. A number of these "chasers" were pulled over and when confronted by the law enforcement officials, commented that they were on official business and had been sanctioned by the National Weather Service.
----------- (survey crew member) informed them that we do not, and will not endorse these activities from the local NWS office. This is not the first time, and I am sure not the last time that the NWS will be 'utilized' by the chase community. I was wondering if it would be appropriate for me to compose a letter to send to the local law enforcement and/or emergency managers stating that we do not endorse, or support chasing from the local office. It's the Japanese Proverb - "The reputation of a thousand years..."
I'd hate to think that the reputation of WFO Hastings would be negatively impacted by the rash and irresponsible actions of a few "chasers".