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How often are tornadoes mobbed?

Adam R Davis

Either by a ton of chasers who all happen to converge on the same place at that instant, or by every Tom Dick and Harry on the road that decided it'd be cool to stop and gawk. It's something I've read about in a few articles, tornadoes being so circumvented by onlookers that roads get bottlenecked and such. I was wondering how often (if ever) that's a reality? Ohio is not reknowned for it's tornado numbers, so that would never be something I'd notice out here.


Thanks for your time.
 
This was the case on June 22, 2003 (the record sized hail day) between Aurora and York, NE. There must have been five dozen vehicles plugging up U.S. 34 with more on side roads. All of the vehicles were away from the flow of traffic so there were no serious problems.
 
This happens on almost every chase day in the Plains. The only tornadoes that seem to regularly avoid being mobbed are the ones Mike Hollingshead sees. Of course, everything Mike sees seems to escape everyone else.

I agree with Amos - I think H chases on a different planet.
 
May 29th on the Jamestown Wedge was a circus from hell.. I bet there were 2 million dollars worth of camcorders i saw (a sea of them).. The real danger of storm chasing in my deduction is to not get ran over by other drivers.. lol :lol:
 
Anytime a tornado is heading towards or developing around a big city there will be veteran, amateur and inexperienced chasers on it. Most of the problems are when locals from the affected communities load up the whole family in the car/truck and go out and park along the highway just to look at the TWISTER.
Most chasers have enough sense to get far enough off the road as not to be a hazard.
 
This will not start an Illinois chase debate (we've had enough), but out here the chase hordes are unheard of. When I caught my first tornado, I was the only car in sight, except for a trooper that wizzed by. The only crowds that do form are usually just locals pulling over.

So I guess the hordes are more of a plains thing. I'm not really looking forward to encountering them when I chase out there for the first time.
 
I may just stick to northern/central Indiana, which is much more accessible to me right now anyway, and the territory is already more familiar.... even if the numbers are lower than on the plains.
 
So I guess the hordes are more of a plains thing. I'm not really looking forward to encountering them when I chase out there for the first time.

In the plains if there is a tornado that forms on a weekend and it happens to be by a larger city, all bets are off. Many locals will go out to see them with disregard to the safety of themselves and their families. It is almost like a tailgate party for some of them.
 
May 29th on the Jamestown Wedge was a circus from hell.. I bet there were 2 million dollars worth of camcorders i saw (a sea of them).. The real danger of storm chasing in my deduction is to not get ran over by other drivers.. lol :lol:

Seriously, Memorial day weekend - has this ever not been a circus chase for at least the last 10 years (assuming there is something to chase)? Chasing on a weekend - especially a long weekend anywhere in the plains, seemingly guarantees that chasers (particularly the local variety it seems) will be out in droves. Chasing during mid-week certainly helps - and the more storms on a particular day the better as far as numbers (spread folks out). When there is only one cell - and a slow mover at that - the gawk factor quickly escalates - particulary as a storm moves toward higher populated areas. Also, the higher the SPC risk outlook - the more folks will go out (regardless of the actual likelihood of tornadoes).

Glen
 
Originally posted by Skip Talbot
This will not start an Illinois chase debate (we've had enough), but out here the chase hordes are unheard of. When I caught my first tornado, I was the only car in sight, except for a trooper that wizzed by. The only crowds that do form are usually just locals pulling over.

So I guess the hordes are more of a plains thing. I'm not really looking forward to encountering them when I chase out there for the first time.

I was thinking the same thing...also not wanting to start the debate, but I've never seen a big gathering like this take place in Illinois. The biggest chaser convergence I've been in was 4 vehicles...and we were all communicating prior to meeting as well. The chaser population is just non-existant here...and the locals really couldnt care less what's going on, so long as its not coming towards there homes.
 
So what does constitute a public nuisance caused by alleged gawkers and locals out for the show? Are you guys peeved at the fact that their all there in one place, or does the crowd only annoy you if they are doing things that are unsafe?

Sorry for seeming a bit critical, but I'm used to noticing people running away from severe weather.
 
Originally posted by Geoff Boyle
Are you guys peeved at the fact that their all there in one place, or does the crowd only annoy you if they are doing things that are unsafe?

I only get upset if they are blocking the road or doing things to endanger other locals and chasers. I have even seen a local with four kids in the back of the truck out chasing. To me that is just stupid. A crowded chase doesn't bother me too much because I will take back roads and miss most of them. We are all just sharing the same storm.
 
Originally posted by Bill Hamilton+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Bill Hamilton)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Geoff Boyle
Are you guys peeved at the fact that their all there in one place, or does the crowd only annoy you if they are doing things that are unsafe?

I only get upset if they are blocking the road or doing things to endanger other locals and chasers. I have even seen a local with four kids in the back of the truck out chasing. To me that is just stupid. A crowded chase doesn't bother me too much because I will take back roads and miss most of them. We are all just sharing the same storm.[/b]


As long as they stay on the hardtop I'll be happy. I ran into a few on the backroads though near Taft, Ok on 4/22
 
So I guess the hordes are more of a plains thing. I'm not really looking forward to encountering them when I chase out there for the first time.

Everyone should of course realize, if you can see the crowd you are a part of it. "Crazy" drivers will bug me less than those that feel the need to do everything as if they were in slow motion. I remember sitting at the back of a long line May 24 2004 in northern KS. We were all going east and encountered a stop sign at an intersection of a n-s highway. Had the storm still been doing what it was just a few minutes earlier those of us in the back would of been driving on shoulders, I can assure you. You could see chances for each car to go, but many just sat there and waited on cars well down the highway. I believe it was one or two of the dow trucks that upset me the most. I was wondering if they were having freaking lunch while they sat there. That is what is going to kill people out there. A tornadic storm with a bunch of cars at a one way stop intersection.
 
Originally posted by Skip Talbot

So I guess the hordes are more of a plains thing. I'm not really looking forward to encountering them when I chase out there for the first time.

When it's the most exciting thing outside of reminiscing about the old Husker program . . .

It's all we got.

The one time I did a mini-chase last year I stuck on a highway until I found a suitable dirt road that would give me a good vantage point, and when I did stop I pulled completely off the road. Speaking as one of those dreaded "local yokel" chasers.
 
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