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Convergence Frustration and Chaser Legislation

Additional thoughts:

If they make a law against chasing, then all they have to do is pull up and inquire when they see 'gawkers' apparently pulled over looking at a storm. They can then issue a citation. This could be done constantly like speeding tickets - no road blocks required. Even locals stopped, looking at the storm could be ticketed if that's what they were doing. That would be one of the few ways to discourage convergence which is what all this discussion was about to begin with. That might be one way to make locals take cover as opposed to looking at the storm as well. I think a law like that is feasible technically and probably legally. They consider driving and the roads a privilege so they can tell you what to do whenever they want to. Additionally, just like speeding not every speeder would get ticketed, but it would discourage 'speeding' and would be another source of revenue for local communities. Perhaps a permit or license could be issued for those allowed to be outdoors near a storm based on 'legitimate' purposes. If a rancher is in the middle of transporting cattle to a nearby ranch that would be legitimate even though not necssarily safe with a tornadic supercell nearby / hail, etc. Easy targets would be those with weather gear mounted all over the vehicle, those with computer laptops and dashcams, and those on the side of the road with camera, vidcams, and tripods.​


Maybe they would even take it as far as ticketing people for being outside of their homes looking up at the sky....or maybe they'll outlaw driving all together whenever a tornado warning is issued...or maybe....
 
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IMHO the chaser convergence on the 19th was largely fueled by a high risk event near a major metro area and significant live coverage by The Weather Channel due to Vortex 2. It has been somewhat painful to see all of the negativity flow from the events of the day. The 19th won't be a norm to the degree of complete gridlock, but there is no doubt that chasing is much more mainstream. We need to maintain a positive voice and profile to deflect the critics. Chasing has value and a proper code of conduct and we need to spread this message. Legislation banning this wonderful freedom would be unthinkable.

Wes
 
I'd have to say IMO the operations that require a literal "convoy" are posing the major risks. It shouldn't take ten vehicles to study one tornado! If these operations were smarter they would break them into smaller "pods" to move around easier. Any time any chaser sees a line of cars, and then sees the DOW or something obivously needs to find a nice road to detour off on and take the scenic route. I'd have to agree with other posts, that people need to go on the road less travelled.
 
Outlawing Chasing?

Let's pretend that some silly law maker had his or her way and chasing as we know it was banned. What would be the economic cost of such a ban? Anyone think of too many other reasons why a town like Woodward OK (and other countless smaller towns across the plains) might have every hotel room full?

Has anyone quantified the economic contribution chasers make to the plains states with fuel, lodging ,food etc.?

Be an interesting study. Certainly an extra string to our bow if we ever had to argue our cause! (which I don't believe we ever will)
No offense meant to you, bro...but thinking that chasers are having any kind of real impact on a given area's economy is wishful thinking.
 
No offense meant to you, bro...but thinking that chasers are having any kind of real impact on a given area's economy is wishful thinking.

I agree. How many times do most chasers completely fill up on a given chase day? Usually, I top off every chance I get, but I typically only go through 1 or 2 tanks of gasoline on most chases. The chance of me stopping to buy gas in any given town is pretty tiny. Even if I fill up completely 3 times, those are typically on the longer chases (800+ miles). Sure, there are a lot chasers, but I think there may be more "chasers", or those who locals who head out maybe 30-50 miles to check out an approaching storm. Lodging is typically more expensive, but how many chasers rent hotel/motel rooms on a consistent basis? In the end, prime chase "territory" is awfully large (I20 to I90? Rockies to I35?), so, even though a significant amount of money may be spent in the aggregate, it's typically spent over a massive area.

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would consider the potential for chaser convergence when making my chase plans. However, after experiencing May 19th between Kingfisher and Guthrie, I really do think the potential for massive convergence will enter my chase planning process. I'm sure we've all experienced "storm-scale" chaser convergence (along popular highways or roadways, etc.), but the 5/19/10 case almost seemed like there was "mesoscale" chaser convergence, if you will. When the convergence gets bad enough to prevent me from finding any spot to observed the storm safely, what's the point of spending the time and effort to get in position? Sure, I caught a glimpse of the tornado near Kingfisher from the back window, but the stress and frustration of the situation very much outweighed the feeling I got watching the storm and tornado. Despite this, I know that I don't have any more of a right to watch a storm as anyone else, so I can't really complain too much.
 
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The cost aspect too....going a little off-topic here...is especially weak when most purchase or stay at places that are chain / corporate businesses where a majority of the profit goes back to a corporate office in some large city that continues to bleed the small towns of the central states. Personally I make every effort to buy from local places (aka Mom & Pop) to give as much profits as possible to those folks that actually keep the money in town. I see way too often chasers going to big chain fast food restaurants and staying at hotels/motels that don't have much profit sharing with the local management and staff.

However, the economic power of chasers isn't exactly something to ignore. It still is a percentage that businesses would NOT make without our presence. Add to that the fact that many also talk about certain restaurants and other establishments when will bring business to certain places. I've even preached the importance of visiting the central plains states and know that some have traveled to area of the central US that may not have otherwise unless I had recommended it.
 
However, the economic power of chasers isn't exactly something to ignore. It still is a percentage that businesses would NOT make without our presence. Add to that the fact that many also talk about certain restaurants and other establishments when will bring business to certain places. I've even preached the importance of visiting the central plains states and know that some have traveled to area of the central US that may not have otherwise unless I had recommended it.

I think I would look at it like this. Are there enough chasers spending enough money to hurt said businesses economically if chasing were abrogated via legislation? There's a significant degree of dubiety in my mind that any of these businesses would close or lay off employees if everyone just didn't chase anymore. From a public safety standpoint, if a state was hypothetically going to legislate our hobby (again, I doubt it will happen), I think the traffic hazards would trump any perceived, but likely negligible economic gain that chasers bring to the "promised land" every year.
 
I think I would look at it like this. Are there enough chasers spending enough money to hurt said businesses economically if chasing were abrogated via legislation? There's a significant degree of dubiety in my mind that any of these businesses would close or lay off employees if everyone just didn't chase anymore. From a public safety standpoint, if a state was hypothetically going to legislate our hobby (again, I doubt it will happen), I think the traffic hazards would trump any perceived, but likely negligible economic gain that chasers bring to the "promised land" every year.

And that's a good point. No, I too doubt that any business would go out of business with the absence of chasers should (the very, very, very unlikelihood) legislation be enacted to prevent such activity.


How many vehicles would you think is a better number?

I know I've actually made a comment like this before. I believe three, maybe four is an OK number for coordinating safely. Having chased in a few groups in the past, it seemed once five cars got in a line/convoy it was difficult to stay together. This is especially true through towns, or chases with lots of turns. I can't stand tailgating while in a caravan so the distances on "Bob's Roads" tends to be greater and thus the distance from lead car to the 'sweep' vehicle can be 1/4 mile or more. Throw in another chaser that enters your route from a side street then all of a sudden vehicles get more and more spread and harder to coordinate. This is assuming too that there is some sort of two-way coordination.

Three is optimal maximum, four can pull it off, but five just doesn't seem to work....in my opinion and observation.

Note: this does not include chase groups that spread out, much like research vehicles do. I specifically talking about chasers that drive the same exact route to a storm.
 
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How many vehicles would you think is a better number?

RDale-
Once again IMO two or three at the most. Anything more is just creating more chaos. Once again this is my opinion.... I just feel like its over kill to put out four, five, or even six vehicles.
 
I don't think it is physically possible to fully research a storm with 2 or 3 vehicles total.

"Twister" isn't real. Nobody runs a one-car operation to put things into the tornado. That's not research...

I'd suggest looking at the Vortex2 plans and see what actually was done, and you'll realize how whittling that down to 2 cars means the research would be close to useless.
 
I don't think it is physically possible to fully research a storm with 2 or 3 vehicles total.

"Twister" isn't real. Nobody runs a one-car operation to put things into the tornado. That's not research...

I'd suggest looking at the Vortex2 plans and see what actually was done, and you'll realize how whittling that down to 2 cars means the research would be close to useless.

If you were researching a whole storm, yes I would agree that you would need more vehicles, but however *if* I were in the position of collecting that data, I would have the convoy spilt up into smaller groups to collect the data in different parts of the storm (NOT lumped up together in one line on a two lane highway).

If someone is just studying tornadoes and nothing else in the storm, what more do you need? You can't get a truck with a mobile Dopplar close to any spot where there is a probability of getting hit by hail or debris.


I never brought up anything regarding "Twister"; while it provided entertainment, it was pretty far fetched.
 
If someone is just studying tornadoes and nothing else in the storm

...then it's just a waste of time... Studying the tornado by itself doesn't do a lot of good. We have plenty of single Doppler data on tornadoes. What we need is to understand why storms that look like they should have tornadoes -- don't. And that requires knowing the entire storm's structure and what is going on in the environment near and around the cell. Which means more than 2-3 cars.

I never brought up anything regarding "Twister"; while it provided entertainment, it was pretty far fetched.

I wasn't saying that you personally did, it's just that a lot of people think all researchers need to do is shoot some projectiles into the tornado to measure what's going on and call it a day. That makes for a great movie -- not for any sort of usable research that could apply to warnings or save lives.
 
How many vehicles would you think is a better number?

While I am not a radar expert... Just a guess, if you want to get velocity (i.e. speed and direction of wind in 3d) information from radar you're going to need to have 3 DOWs (assuming vertical velocity is large which it should be in supercells). Then if you want to tie that information to surface observations you need more vehicles.

Side note: Personally I think this thread is largely pointless.
 
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Well, Vortex is done and there doesn't seem to be any current plans to put out significant projects in the near term. So if Vortex3 happens in 10 years...and for two years I have to put up with some congestion and headache for a few days...I'm OK with that. Now, if more and more expeditions are there...then we do have an issue, and we do have a general issue of congestion, but I'm thinking it's a wait and see thing for this upcoming season.
 
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