Chasing Frequency Question

Mike Hollingshead

How much do you chase? Do you chase at all? Do you chase till your tires fall off? Just wonder who on here chases how much. Thought this might be interesting to see. Thanks.
This is my first year to actually chase. I chased 7 times. States were AR, OK and KS. Wanted to do more but work got in the way. I've changed my work schedule and now have a lot more time to chase.

So next year (and any opportunites before then) I will be out there.
I started chasing in 1999 in Minnesota, and my chasing 'frequency' has increased with each passing year. Since I have this stuff pretty much on my website, I figured I'd copy that table below:

Year   Tornadoes    TornDs  ChaseDs  Total Mileage  Miles / Tornado  

1999       5          1          3           1200              240 

2000       1          1          4           1500            1500 

2001       1          1          5           2000            2000 

2002       0          0          9           3200               -- 

2003       7          3         10           4700             671 

2004      22          7         12           6250             285 

TOTAL     36         13         43          18,850            525

TornDs = Tornado days
ChaseDs = Chase days
Year   Tornadoes    TornDs  ChaseDs  Total Mileage  T-Success Ratio  

1996       1          1          1           130         perfect

1997       5          3         21         7,106         1 in 7.0

1998       2          2         17         8,092         1 in 8.5

1999      18          7         21        11,535         1 in 3.0

2000       4          3         35        20,513         1 in 11.6

2001      13          9         31        18,638         1 in 3.4

2002       7          2         22        13,277         1 in 11.0

2003       6          2         13         5,393         1 in 6.5

2004      24          6         16         7,118         1 in 2.7

CAREER    80         35        177        91,802         1 in 5.1
So far this year I've went on 14 chases and driven about 5500 miles...hope to add on that total later today - if I do this will be the 8th month in a row I've gotten a chase in. Gotta love these 70F dewpoints just three days away from November.....
I've been "actively" chasing about 5 or 6 years now with almost 20 of "on and off" chasing/spotting behind me. I've been a lot more active this year as I'm actually reporting back to a radio/tv station and it certainly helps that they reimburse my gas costs.

Long distance chasing? I don't get to that very often. I pretty much stay within 75 - 90 miles of home. I'm mostly concerned with the stuff that will affect our listening/viewing area. However, every once in a while, I'll get a chance to get out in western Kansas or Oklahoma.

My real job doesn't allow for long distances during the week, so I'm pretty limited there. Weekend jaunts are even more rare and have started to become more of a traffic hazard that a weather hazard.

Mony and the lack of a car has kept me away from chasing to the altimate
limit.I still take still and vidio of storms when close to my location,at the
farm or the city of Edmonton.I try to read something weather related
every day.Your always learning something.
While I would love to say that I chase until my wheels fall off, that would be completely on the opposite end of the spectrum for me. I've been a "student" of the weather since I was young, but fell more on the side of the spotter and local chaser. I don't think I've chased anything more than a total of 250 miles, which was fine with me.

Within the last few years I have been more interested in venturing away from home to find severe weather, but living in Michigan for two years will do that to a guy, lol. Now that I'm back in the land of Oz, I will hopefully find more time and money to venture out more often. My wife has gotten more interested in it since we've been married for a little more than a year, and that is due in no small part to your DVD Mike H :wink: She kept saying, "We need to find storms like those."

That, along with more of an 8-5/no weekends job, and more of an understanding of storms than just the instincts and hunches of my youth, I look forward to next spring and summer. Besides, growing up in western KS, living now in Manhattan with a wife whose family lives on a large farm not an hour SE of Limon, CO, how can we not have an excuse to chase anything in KS or the fringe areas :wink:

I won't throw down any stats, but I've probably shot enough film to make house payments for a year :eek: Don't tell the bank!

Here's my tornado count. I haven't kept track of the actual number of chases and mileage. I am based in Denver and I pretty much stay west of the I-35 line. I try to get out whenever a portion of a slight risk outlook area is touching any part of Colorado. Farthest I've chased is Tulsa, OK to the east, Texas panhandle to the south and central WY to the north.

Year Tornadoes
1987 1
1995 4
1997 1
1998 1
1999 7
2000 2
2004 7
Total 23
Year   Tornadoes    TornDs  ChaseDs  Total Mileage  Miles / Tornado  

2002       0           0          8        3790         -- 

2003       5           3         11        5265        1053 

2004      28           5         25       15393         550 

TOTAL     33           8         44       24448         741

Obviously I've gotten out more as the years have passed. That due much in part to planning a lot of May around chase season. Fortunately how school works, there's a two week break between semesters when I work, so I usually will get those two weeks plus what's left over of finals week; giving me upwards of 18 consecutive days to chase if it works out that way.

Every year, I've taken a opening run in April kind of as my test run; making sure the car does well, all the equipment is working, etc. Never have I bagged a successful chase in April, and this April was my third official year. Its also worth noting I chased in April 2001, but wasn't doing any real record keeping then. I also struck out that chase as well.

This year marked first "marathon" chases in March and October, and March's chase gave me my earliest tornado in a year. October was a strike out, obviously (last Friday).

This year, I logged over 15,000 miles, traveling the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri. 22 of my 28 tornadoes came in Kansas, all within a 72 mile stretch of Highway 160 between Medicine Lodge and Wellington on 2 seperate days. Colorado gave me 2, Oklahoma gave me 3, Nebraska gave me 1.

This year obviously was the year to remember, and I've swayed back and forth between the best day of the year. Out of the May 12 and May 29 choices, I think I've finally came to May 12 as my favorite just because how close we got and the racing of the F-2 down K-2. That's hard to compete with.

Next year, I am hoping for at least half of this year... guess we'll see! 8)
Well perhaps not the fullest of Tornado chase intercepts – but you have to give me 10/10 for commitment. I live in England – so it is a 5000 mile journey just to get to any target area.

Best chase day – May 29th 2004 – I jumped a flight for the weekend and intercepted the Harper county tornadic Supercell. This was after returning back to the UK for just 2 days after a 24 day chase stint.

2002 – 14 USA chase days – tornadoes 0
2003 - 32 USA chase days - tornadoes 2
2004 - 29 USA chase days – Tornadoes - 9

UK tornados – zero – but not for the want of trying  this IMO is the holy grail – to video a UK tornado – there is almost no video despite some 35 plus tornados a year – this year running at 40+
         Tor       TorDs      ChaseDs     Miles     T-Success Ratio

1998       0        0           26         10420       0  in  26

1999      15        4           27         12054       1  in  6.8

2000       2        2           16          7497       1  in  8

2001       2        1            4          2950       1  in  4 

2002       4        2            9          5650       1  in  4.5

2003       5        2           19         11015       1  in  9.5

2004      43        7           27         15906       1  in  3.9

I chase every chance I get. Like everyone else I have money and time management issues that often limit my ability to chase. Fortunately in 2004 my school and work situation allowed me to chase without restriction until June 12th. I graduate in December so I will be getting a J O B and joining the real world before next chase season. Well, at least I have 2004 to remember.

Two-week chase vacations suck!

Scott Currens

2004 Highlight Video Preview:
I don't have the slightest idea on my statistics. I don't even remember exactly how many chases I got in this year, so many days just blurred together there. I know this year I started chasing in February and chased every single day I could pretty much up until about late July, then got in a couple after that. I think I finally burned myself out this year.

I know I am well over the 50k miles mark for this year alone. This year I chased from Texas to Arkansas to almost the Minnisota border to eastern Colorado and everything in between. There were some periods in there I didn't get home for a couple of weeks at a time. We stayed in motels, camped out, stayed with friends, slept in the chase van, ate great food, ate shitty food, I shot probably close to 100 hours of video tape (haven't counted them yet), made some new friends, saw some old friends, made a couple of enemies and had a tremendously WONDERFUL time doing it all and would do it all over again (ok, well except for ONE thing LOL). Not to bad for a wanna-be yahoo chaser eh? :lol:

But yeah, I am finally burned out this year and think I will take next year off for the most part, maybe chase some local stuff with Graham and get a few things done in other areas of my life and THEN come back strong in 2006!
Due to location and job restrictions, I have to basically do all my chasing in one big pre-planned shot. This was the first year I felt confident enough with my forecasting to justify the trip. I chased for 16 days and drove 7,100 miles. I had 1 tornado day (May 12), and about 9 severe storm days. About all I was shooting for was something other than clear skies (I haven't figured out how to fax the storms my schedule yet), so I call it a success.

Locally, there isn't a whole lot to go after usually. I tend not to venture more than 15-20 miles for anything, as nothing lasts more than 20 minutes here 99% of the time.
We chase several times each year. It is hard to get a lot of chases in because I don't get out of school until early June. This year our longest chase went through 9 states, was 4,460 miles, and lasted 9 days.