Definition of 'BUST'

A question I thought up on my latest chase while making the drive into my target area.. what is the definition of a chase bust? I quickly realized that was a varied response pending the indivigual you asked.. so I thought, why not ask!

My definition.. a bust for me is a varied equation of many factors.. usually its based upon the type of weather I get into combined with distance traveled; what else went on nearby; and why I was chasing..

For instance, I have the day off, storms fire in NE Colorado, my round trip is less than 300/400 miles and I get some small hail.. not a bust cause I had nothing else going on anyway.. take the same small hail and tack on another 200/400 miles, well, perhaps I'd bust that..

If I got that same small hail and there were 100 tornado reports around me, that's a bust.. but if I drive 1000 miles, get that same small hail, and its the only game in town, I smile happily and call it a good chase.

I usually don't post a bust unless I see absolutely nothing, or I drive an outragous amount of distance for something rather minimal; both those regardless of what goes on elsewhere. I have had great storms which produced exciting times, but nothing too spectacular, that on days when nothing happens, is a good chase, but like a certain day in May, was a total bust cause of the 80 million other things going on..

On the other hand, a successful chase for me.. I am usually content with a good hailstorm.. being in Colorado, we see quite a few, and for whatever reason, I enjoy sitting out in them.. they're always a sight, and people in them are always in total awe (or screaming for their cars).. scenic storms will cap a good chase regardless of the weather beneath them.. tornadoes.. well duh.. are always a pot o' gold!

Post your thoughts, as I'd like to hear.. I know there are people out there who call it a bust if they don't see a tornado regardless of what else happens.. and there are people who could care less either way.. share! :)
If I can get some nice pics of storms that im happy with then i dotn consider it a bust. Poor storms or nonphotogenic or even worse no storms I consider a bust. Tornadoes are great but certainly not needed for a nice chase. I know alot of others are just flat out hell bent on tornadoes only. I guess it is a blessing I am so easily amused :p.
I'm with Jason. Poor storms I consider a bust, and also when there is clear skies obviously: lol: . Any storm I can get good video or pictures of is a descent chase, but tornados will top the cake. I too am pretty easy to captivate like yesterday for example, I was bored so I thought I would take some pictures of a tower trying to develop late in the day. I went inside to grab the digital camera and when I came outside it was hidden behind some trees. When it finally came out from behind the trees there was not much left of it.
Bust Definition

I think the easiest way to classify a busted chase which is most agreeable to most people is:
If you believe the chase was a pure waste of time/money. This, like all the other definitions is open to personal interpretation but I feel is what a busted chase truly is....a waste of time.

Ben Baranowski
Agreed... if the reward / effort ratio is low then it's probably a bust. It does depend on how you define the reward.... this is why I think it's important to have side interests (such as sightseeing, amateur geology, antique hunting, or even getting a beer in a local dig) that can be done if time & schedules permit.

I might have to change my bust to a plus....

Given the responses and toughts that go with them I may have to change my Bust definition. Given that I was chasing for local radio, I had to stick within a reasonable distance of our listeners area. That's not far past Lamont, to just north of Stillwater, east to Pawhuska, and north to Arkansas City. We may go further IF there is an active tornado, but the Wichita area is simply too far. If there is no active weather, or potentially active weather, we are free to raom about at will. IF it were just me, I would have stayed on the Wichita strom as we were in just about perfect distance. Instead, as I stated, we were called off this storm for a potentially active storm brewing over Salt Plains Lake. It was a good call by our Operations people. They didn't know that the storm would dump. They were simply looking at the given information they had and made the call.

There was another reason for this. Last Weekend was the Annual Kawfest at Kaw Lake. Hundreds of people on the water, shores, etc. having a good time of it. It simply made sense to keep those people informed of what was coming there way. The same basic precept of this went into the Harper County/Argonia storm the week before. Even though Harper County is at the very edges of the broadcast area, there were lots of people in town from the area affected by the storm . We were told to go ahead and chase this storm with the knowledge that we could be called off to intercept elsewhere. In fact, every call in I made, I checked to see what was happening south of us.

There were a few people that asked "why are you reporting something that doesn't affect Ponca City?". The answer was that we have hundreds of listeners outside Ponca and that we have a number of people in town from the areas directly affected by the storm (In fact, there was a report of a family that was in Ponca for the festivities that day and heard about the storm from our reports. They returned home immediately and found some minor damage to their rural home outside Conway Springs).

So from my artistic sense of getting spectacular photos of nature, it was really a bust. In the sense that we were able to be mobile enough to keep on the storms that formed and disappeared quickly, it was a plus.

A bust is when all I end up seeing is clear blue skies. Or when I do get what looks like a great radar return on the storm apporching and all it ends up being is a downpour, flood makers are fun though. :twisted: :lol:
A bust day for me is when all I see are clear skies, or chase in an area with so many clouds that I cant see the storms going up and missing the big event IE (may 5, 2002) Missed the Happy Tornados. If I see a storm i'm happy, as long as its not an elevated linear piece of junk
For me, a bust is when I don't get into heavy weather, with the caveat (like on May 24th), that if there are tornados to the left of me, tornados to the right, and i am stuck in the middle with nuthin, it leaves me very blue.

But, in a situation like on May 22, where we were on the sw side of the storm, and it decided to do all its action on the east end, but I get funnels and massive mesos, along with tornado warnings, well I was in the middle of it, and that was good.

But if I don't get a tornado on my chase trip, it's a bummer. :cry:
For me a bust depends on what I hoped for on the day and what happened with other storms.....if I get an LP on a day nothing else was going on anywhere and there was only a slight chance the cap would break, then no way would I consider that a bust. But if I get on a massively precip wrapped HP on a day storms were producing numerous photogenic tornadoes elsewhere, then yes I would have to consider that a bust (unless I see large hail out of it).
I agree, Tony.

"Bust" is a relative term that depends on how far you travel and what else is going on. If I drive 15-20 miles down the road not expecting to see much, and I don't, then that to me is not a bust.

Also, if I see convection and get on a storm on a huge outbreak day when there are tornado reports all around and I don't see anything, then that too could be called a bust.

So, yeah, I pretty much restated what you just said.

Driving to the Great Plains from West Virginia (1,000 miles one way) four separate times during the biggest tornado season in recent memory, and seeing zero, is what I call a BUST. I feel much better after this year obviously - but 2003 was my Year of the Bust.

If I miss a tornado but get some great lightning or structure, the chase is redeemed. This is what made 2003 so hard to deal with, those outbreak days not only gave out tornadoes selectively, but they didn't give out 'consolation prizes' like nice lightning and storm structure. So, I came home from the Plains with absolutely no video and no still photos after 15,000 miles in 2003. The exception was my mid-June trip last year when I managed a few so-so lightning shots in SW OK.

Like Melissa said, there are days when you don't expect much that you just go out and enjoy the drive. On those chases a good sunset or scenic landscape will eliminate the bust label.

I get to go storm chasing only a few times per year so if there are no storms period or if there are no severe thunderstorms then I consider it a bust. One example: This year we drove about 2400 miles, and did not get into any storms. Also, we had to be back on May 21st. Yep, we missed all of those tornadoes by one day. To make matters worse I had to go back to school and I had a ton of work to make up. Major bust! :cry:
Re: bust

To make matters worse I had to go back to school and I had a ton of work to make up. Major bust! :cry:

Yeah, coming home to something bad after busting adds insult to injury.. I totally agree on that one! :oops: