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Most dangerous storm to chase?

In my opinion, the most dangerous type of storm to chase is...

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What do you feel is the most dangerous type of storm to chase, and why? I might be inclined to vote for electrical storm, simply because of lightning's capricious and unpredictable behavior, but then again...the high winds, storm surge and blowing debris in a hurricane, or a tornadic storm's obvious danger at close range or at night, plus dealing with the large hail...all storms have their associated hazards. Chasing blizzards can result in car accidents and being stranded in freezing temperatures, and photographing tsunamis...Russian roulette? There is one weather phenomenon I will never photograph, unless from a helicopter: Avalanche. However, I will photograph wildfires.

What are your thoughts? Most dangerous type of storm to chase?

My own personal vote for #1:

Lightning

Why?

*Split-second behavior
*No warning
*Unpredictable
*I have personally observed and photographed a "bolt from the blue", an incredible strike reaching out approx 20 miles or more.
*Zero margin for error
*Even when you do everything right, you can still be struck

(but so darn beautiful!!)

Your thoughts? Based on personal experience, what do you feel is the most dangerous storm to chase?
 
I chose lightning because as you stated, it is unpredictable. You can be miles away from a storm and still be struck by lightning.
Most every other storm you have a forecast and a general idea where and what it is doing.
 
I chose winter storms...

First of all, lightning is associated with enough storms (even convectively driven snowstorms). I find myself feeling safer around lightning because I'm in my car... here my reasons, and keep me mind, this would be CHASING, not just being around...

Why I chose Winter Storm: Many elements combined to make these extremely dangerous to chase. First of all, driving in them. The many hazards with that alone make it the worst... black ice, snow drifts, reduced visibilities, white-outs. Add to that the extreme cold that often accompanies these combined with fierce winds to create horrid wind chills. Blizzards are hard to mess with and hard to get away from if you get trapped. Getting buried in snow and having to spend the storm sleeping in your car, not my idea of a safe idea...

Tornatic: These are obviously very dangerous, but not the most dangerous in my opinion. A tornado is a small, violent force of nature. They are more easily avoidable and you can usually see where they're at. If you know enough about storms, you can stay clear of the "bear cage" and avoid putting yourself directly in harm's way. RFDs and large hail also create dangerous hazards, but again, with some knowledge, you can stay clear. With a snowstorm, they emcompass a large area and often move very slow, leaving you stuck in harm's way for quite a while. Also, tornatic storms lack the temperature extremes of winter.

Lightning: This would be my second most dangerous. When I'm chasing lightning storms, I typically stay close to my car if not in it all the time. Lightning's unpredictability makes it the most dangerous. As Susan said, regardless of how well you prepare, you can stikk get nuked. However, I will side with the odds on this one and not quite give it the crown.

Hurricane: This ranks pretty high as well for similar spacial reasons as the winter storms. However, it, too, lacks the temperature extremes associated with winter storms. It does add a danger in storm surge and rip tides, but again, simply staying off the coast will keep you pretty safe from these issues. Inland flooding and flying debris add danger points to Hurricanes as well as their slow speed over an area. You at least have some options while chasing Hurricanes in terms of shelter... sturdy brick buildings such as parking garages are often used for this. When chasing a Hurricane, this is normally where you base yourself. Winter storms and blizzards don't always give you a sturdy base to chase.

Flood/Tsunami: A massive tidal wave sucks! I wouldn't chase one of those things cause its not really a storm and I have a fear of earthquakes! *LOL* As for flooding, flooding is an inherent danger in various types of storms, so its hard to isolate that as one single danger. Heavy rain producing storms create the danger of flooding which is a hazard if you're not smart about it. As NWS says, turn around, don't drown. As retarded as the slogan is, it really holds truth. If you're chasing a flooding storm in a Canyon or an area prone to SEVERE flooding, then you may rate this the highest... I really have no interest in chasing heavy rain producers... that's usually added into whatever storm I am chasing anyway!

How's that for a book! 8) I'm really loaded on free time so I thought I'd spell EVERYTHING out! :lol:
 
I would choose winter storms. First of all, my car has absolutely 0 traction in any form of winter weather, so I will not chase any winter storm. I fear getting stuck somewhere in a deserted area and freezing to death.
 
I have to go with the winter storm too. If you've never been in blizzard conditions, then you wouldn't understand it but it's scary and can strang and ultimately freeze you to death in short time.
 
I'd have to say a toss up between winter storms and floods - I despise cold weather, and fast moving water is pretty much invincible and inescapable.
 
I would have to go with lightning do to my vulnerability in a soft top Jeep. I don't know whether or not it would actually happen, but I have played out the nightmare scenario in my mind of the Jeep getting hit and the soft top instantly melting and suran wrapping me. That would not be fun.
 
Is this an opinion poll? Because statistics say floods are the most dangerous weather killer. You are more likely to be killed by a flood than any other weather event combined.

I hope everybody understands that a tsunami is not weather related...its geology/oceanography related. Let's not encourage those who are misinformed to think that meteorologists are experts in tsunamis.

Oh, I almost forgot. Who would every chase a tsunami? How? Why?
 
Lightning, tornadoes, and floods I'd have to rank at the bottom of the list since they can all be viewed and photographed without actually being in their way.

Hurricanes and winter storms are a bit more dangerous since you actually have to get in the way....but if you get there before the storm hits and have a good place of shelter they won't be as dangerous. The real problem would be leaving the area -- and you'll have more problems leaving the area after a winter storm than you would a hurricane -- so that's why I'd rank winter storms ahead of hurricanes as most dangerous weather event to chase.

There's no truly safe place to view or photograph a tsunami from - if there's any natural phenomenon too risky to photograph, it's that. Even if they were safe - the very short lead time would make them impossible to "chase" unless you lived there.
 
I'm going to say hurricane. After all, the goal in hurricane "chasing" is to place yourself in the most dangerous part of the storm (if possible). If you're chasing a tornado, you don't drive into its path and let it roll over you - you keep your distance. Not so with a hurricane. You're very much in the thick of things, and you're in it for the long haul. No escape. No guarantee of shelter. In my eyes, that's some serious risk-taking.

Of course, I'd love to do it someday. :D
 
I think the answer is lightning, no contest. Why? No warning. IMO recent events have skewed the voting, as tsunamis are top-ranked and they aren't even storms or chaseable.
 
There's no truly safe place to view or photograph a tsunami from - if there's any natural phenomenon too risky to photograph, it's that. Even if they were safe - the very short lead time would make them impossible to "chase" unless you lived there.


My vote goes to winter storms as there is no way to photograph/experience one with out being in the storms. There's the risk accidents and becoming stranded. Hurricanes are a close second, again because the best footage would be from in the storm. Tornadoes are localized and are best seen from a distance. Although lightning is less predictable, the best shots are from a distance. Given the opportunity, I would chase a tsunami by scrambling up a hill and filming toward the beach.

Bill Hark
 
Is this an opinion poll?

Completely, as it relates to personal experiences in stormchasing or camera work.

Who would ever chase a tsunami? How? Why?

It causes a flood, which is often lumped together with Earth's weather moodiness, although of course they are not 'weather' events. The chance to photograph a tsunami would be a rare event but it could be done, if one was privy to a harbor wave warning in Hawaii, for example, and could safely document the event.

How highly interesting to read everyone's answers...
 
Well - of all the events listed, I actively chase all except for hurricanes and tsunamis. Hurricanes I don't chase for logistical reasons primarily, but would as soon as I had the chance. Lightning I chase all the time and feel comfortable as long as I'm staying in the car (don't dare step out sometimes, though) ... have to chase the local floods and winter stuff as well for video. Of all the stuff I'm involved with - the winter weather scares me the most. There are times when I'm forced to be out in freezing temps - with a sheet of ice followed by layers of snow - filming vehicle after vehicle off in ditches - and wondering when I'll be next or which idiot is going to slam into me doing 60. Last winter during an ice storm in KC my 4WD went into a fishtail that took the better part of a block to recover from - and I was going 10 MPH! ... Since I live in the country, I have to commute into the city to get the shots and I'm always wondering whether I'll actually make it home or not. Floods I'm okay with ... I just never drive across flooded roads. T-storms are more dangerous for flash-flood conditions, which is what kills the most people.

So I have to vote WINTER.
 
Chasing winter storms....How or more importantly, why would you do that?!?!?!?!?! :? Pics would be good....but not worth it :(

It's most likely personal opinion, Justin... I'm sure there are tons of people who say "Chase a tornado? What a waste of time"....

I voted hurricane for obvious reasons... You get the storm surge, the flooding, the very high winds, the duration, the debris flying around. I guess winter storms would come in second, but there usually aren't that many deaths these days associated with winter storms, other than driving related - In a hurricane, you can be in your "shelter", and get killed by falling or flying debris.
 
I just find it hard to believe that hurricanes are lagging. I mean, I have seen plenty of winter storms, and never had a problem... Now, if a CAT 5 hurricane is roaring towards me, I just might want get up and leave... Then again, I'm one for extreme weather, so you would probably find me in the thick of it.

I would have voted for HP supercell as being second most dangerous to chase, as you can get stuck in some very low visibility, and drive yourself right into a rain wrapped tornado.
 
Chasing winter storms....How or more importantly, why would you do that?!?!?!?!?!

It's part of my job, or else I would never want to do it. There's nothing I would like more than to sit at home in front of the fireplace on those cold winter nights, believe me. That's why I chose winter storms - because if you have to chase them, you are forced to deal with the elements and there's nowhere to go to get away from them.
 
Originally posted by Justin Walker
Chasing winter storms....How or more importantly, why would you do that?!?!?!?!?! :? Pics would be good....but not worth it :(

There are documentaries for just about every type of weather - including winter storms, so if you were hoping to generate stock footage, this might be of interest. The first that pops to mind for me is a segment I recall seeing of cattle in ND during a blizzard - covered in ice and shivering, very dramatic footage.

I agree with the consensus that several of the categories aren't storms at all but weather hazards - in fact a tsunami doesn't have anything to do with weather (though it was lumped in with floods). That said, Karen's myopic view of storms as only meaning supercells is on the other extreme. :)

Assuming we are talking about blizzard conditions - I would agree that chasing one of these has the great potential for disaster, as you could freeze to death if you run out of gas stuck in a snow bank.

While lightning can kill and strikes without notice - if you are chasing it you typically don't set up where the risk of being struck is all that great. You seem more likely to be struck while looking at or doing something else.

That leads to chasing tornadoes - which themselves rarely pose a hazard to chasers, but instead the other hazards associated with the storm (hail, high winds, heavy rain, blowing dust, yahoo chasers :D and lightning) pose a greater risk to the chaser.

A hurricane could easily rank high, if you are planning to get caught up in the storm surge - but this is related to flooding - so wan't sure which cat this is better covered under. Otherwise, seems hurricane chasers either set up well away from structures that could fail and offer flying debris or seek refuge in sturdy structures - so the risks to life seem minimal.

Flash floods can certainly be deadly - and I suppose you could chase after such things. Again, stock footage of significant flash flooding is probably something that can be sold.

Missing from the list is hail - but since the largest hail comes from supercells I suspect few chase these storms with the goal of seeing their car dented up.

You could also chase a windstorm - a good haboob would certainly be a nice addition to anyone's photo collection.

Glen
 
Originally posted by Karen Rhoden
Well - there's no categories for LP, CL or HP as I had expected......so I didn't vote.

Karen, vote for "Other". I didn't want to make the poll too long, but "Other" can be lots of things - HP/LP structure-only, Pacific coastal gale, desert sandstorm, Witch of November, you name it. If you think there is a type of storm that is more dangerous to chase than the others, please share....
 
Originally posted by Susan Strom+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Susan Strom)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Karen Rhoden
Well - there's no categories for LP, CL or HP as I had expected......so I didn't vote.

Karen, vote for "Other". I didn't want to make the poll too long, but "Other" can be lots of things - HP/LP structure-only, Pacific coastal gale, desert sandstorm, Witch of November, you name it. If you think there is a type of storm that is more dangerous to chase than the others, please share....[/b]

Hmmm. Well, I could vote for Other.....but my choice would really be a hybrid of Tornadic/Other.......as I personally would say tornadic HP in most cases. I dunno......giving this far too much thought now.....God I'm bored at work today...... :lol:

People like me who are so hard to please should just start their own threads...... :wink:

KR
 
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