Night-time chasing strategies

May 31, 2004
Peotone, IL
In my other thread "Questions" Jeremy and Jordan wanted to know a little about chasing at night and some advice about different aspects of night chasing. I threw together a lengthy blog about my opinion of night chasing and am just going to post the meat and potatoes of it here. To read the rest of the content including other chasers stories and experiences please visit my blog --->

To be blunt, I don't like chasing at night. I have done it, not often, but really don't feel the same when I am doing it. Would I chase again at night? Probably, but I won't be nearly as aggressive as I would during the day. There are five key points that I am going to outline here. These aren't the end all be all tips to night chasing but have really made me feel comfortable with attempting it. Obviously you don't want to chase in general with no knowledge, but you especially don't want to during the night. The five factors I want to hit on before I share a few stories from me and others are: (1) Knowing the area you are chasing in, (2) Knowing your storm you are chasing, (3) Knowing what to look for and having the proper equipment (4) Having a pre-planned escape route, and (5) Knowing how and what to report at night.

*Knowing your area:

It is always a good idea to know your area while chasing. You can be chasing anywhere from North Dakota to Texas and New England to the Rockies. Depending on what kind of chaser you are will depend on where you chase. Many like to stick 500 miles from home and stay in their area. This bodes well for you if you decide to chase at night because you don't have to worry about roads, terrain, and other things because you already know it. If I stuck to only chasing Northern Illinois I could probably find my way around blindfolded, I am THAT comfortable with the area. One thing to remember though is when you are out chasing this area you know, take into consideration the following..... Is there flooding in the area? Have there been previous storms to roll across the area? Was their damage reported? What about power lines? The last thing you want to do is become cocky with your area because every now and then you stumble across a silo or something that has been deposited on the road in front of you.

What if you are a chaser (like me) who chases your area but also goes all over the country to sample severe weather? There are certain areas like west central Oklahoma and southern Kansas that I know fairly well and have gotten accustomed too, but I would never feel 100% home with. Everyone knows about our field incident in May of last year. That was the first time I had ever been to the state of South Dakota. I loved the rolling hills and the relative lack of civilization. I also noticed the sparse road networks and the way some roads were. An example of this was on State Route 63. We had gone about 75 miles north on it from I 90. There were no access roads and barely any other roads available when we came across a road construction sign with traffic light. We thought to ourselves... out here??????? In the middle of buffalo?!?? We waited there for a good 25 minutes waiting for the light to change. We probably could have went right through it, but it was a one laned road around a river valley and 1/2 mile long bridge so it was probably better we didn't take the chance. If that wasn't bad enough we came across a road construction sign 5 minutes later. This time it was a one lane field with no traffic light. I mean field too. The pavement ended completely and the road turned into a dirt field with orange cones lining it for a good 3 miles. The absolute most awkward thing I have ever seen on a chase. If that wasn't a red flag, nothing ever will be. 6 hours later we found ourselves with another road that had been sodded over, only this time four tornadoes were looming perilously close. Whole nother story for a whole nother blog. Point is to know your area and prepare for uncontrollable acts of Nature impeding your progress. Situational awareness is a MUST!! Even though I know Northern Illinois like the back of my hand, that doesn't mean I am not constantly thinking about where to go if option A is declined.

Knowing your storm and what to look for:

Okay, you are familiar with your area and have chased this beautiful supercell for 2 hours now. Light is fading and so are your chances of getting a photogenic tornado. This storm has dropped 2 tornadoes but both were brief spin ups and doesn't satisfy your thirst. SPC issues a new MD saying that the low level jet is ramping up and will increase threat for tornadoes as night wears on. By now you need a towel to wipe the drool away. However, common sense should be kicking in too. What do we know already? It is dark out. You are chasing a supercell. You may or may not know your area that you are chasing in. You know conditions are getting more favorable for tornadoes as the night wears on. How would you approach this? Personally I would pull off the side of the road and do some thinking.

* Is this storm isolated or are their other storms moving in? If the storm was isolated I think I could live with chasing it a little bit longer while keeping a close eye on my radar in case I notice other storms starting to pop. For me it is game over if I have multiple supercells ongoing in the area. To many mergers, new storm development, and flooding concerns. The last thing I want to face is another supercell coring me because I needed gas or because my road was flooded out.

* Is this a supercell out ahead of a squall line? If you live back toward the west you are definitely in for some fun! At night I don't think I would chase a supercell away from home (in my area). My risk/reward would be slim to nil on being rewarded. I like to experience all types of nature. I don't mind core punching, I don't mind getting owned by hail, or being in extreme winds. One thing I won't do is play chicken with a night time tornado or tornadic supercell. If there is a squall line involved with this supercell odds are the storm will get absorbed sooner or later so it better put down a tornado in the next 20-30 minutes or else I just drove 50 miles I didn't need to.

* Which way is the storm moving? The supercell is moving due east and you are on US 54 in southern Kansas, the storm is about 5 miles north of the highway and paralleling it. All is going well, but the RFD wraps around the south side of the meso and you can't quite see in there anymore. What do you do? Be aggressive and floor it to get ESE of the meso? Or drop south and blast way east on another road 5 miles to the south? Day time I play cat and mouse and blast it ahead of the rfd and meso. Night time I don't. In the day you can still see the rain shield and where it is moving. If I am on 54 in the day and start to see that rfd coming at me from the north I know that the storm is possibly dropping south of east and I might be getting owned in a minute or two. At night that is going to be so much harder to tell. What happens if it does move south and you get caught on the south side of the hook and the area of rotation? Can you tell where you are without being able to see anything? Throwing GPS and radar aside.... as a chaser are you able to tell where you are in relation to the meso totally blacked out from seeing any physical features? (read on)

* You tried to blast east on 54 ahead of the meso and found that you got yourself in a bad situation. You don't know which way to go and the nearest N-S road is still 10 miles ahead. You basically have three options. You can sit where you are, turn around and head back west, or continue to push east. If you sit still at your current position and don't have radar you could be in the path of the tornado. You are unsure how far ahead of the circulation you are, but you take your chance. So now you are sitting on 54 getting owned by strong winds. The most important thing I can tell you about any of these situations is to know which way the winds are blowing from!!!! Can not stress this enough. Winds out of the south and the east (especially east) near a circulation can spell trouble. This means on a cyclonic rotation that the storm is still inhaling inflow and that inflow could be YOU! If you get west winds out of an area of rotation or north winds it is probably safe to move back west out of its' way. Ideally you want to get south, but if that is not an option then moving west rather east would be best. Can this happen during the day? Yes, but you at night you are driving slower and more aware of the road, once you get cored at night your visibility is down to nothing. In the day time you can still make out some features along the road. Wind can be your best friend or your worst memory. Take note of the direction it is blowing from and adjust accordingly.


As bad as this sounds, relying on your radar at night is almost a must. You are always taught not to rely on radar and to rely on the storm to give away its' features.... That isn't possible at night unless the storm is constantly spitting out lightning and illuminating everything. If you don't have GPS or mobile radar while chasing at night, my personal advise is DON'T DO IT!!!!! Plain and simple. Is risking your life or the safety of others in your car or damaging your car worth a night time tornado? Playing blind around a tornadic thunderstorm is tough enough, but add the cover of total darkness and you make a bad situation worse. While I tell you to rely on mobile radar, I say that gritting my teeth. The story with 2010 was radar data provided from whatever being slow to the receiving source. Many time the radar images would loop 30 minutes old or not update at all. Could pose major issues with you! The situation also arises where you are letting a tornado warned squall line over take you. With radar you can definitely pick out features such as inflow notches, book end vortex, and the like. However, going visual with this is nearly impossible after dark. Most squall line tornadoes are completely wrapped in rain and impossible to see. Normally you would look for portions of the squall line that curve back in toward itself. These are common on LEWP's. A picture of a night time rain wrapped tornado can be found here.....Thank God for lightning!

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</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Tornado near El Paso, IL Around 8:30 P.M. 6/1/99
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When watching the radar at night I usually key in 4 different things:

* Base reflectivity gives you a good overview of the storm. Shows where the highest precip is being picked up and lets you see features such as boundaries and the development of other storms.

* Storm relative velocity gives you are good picture of rotation within a storm. Green and red next to each other with good G2G shear. *NOTE - NOT EVERY GREEN NEXT TO RED IS A #@&^&^@ SIGN OF ROTATION!!!!

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</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Rotation
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</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Not Rotation
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</td></tr> </tbody></table>* VIL is the integration of reflectivity within a column of air. A higher VIL means there is more precipitation in a column of air. VIL does NOT tell a specific hail size. A higher VIL could be softball sized hail or a ton of dimes. Either way you probably don't want to be under either.

* Finally a tool that I really have some to utilize with success is the 1 hr and storm rainfalls. Not only will it give me an idea of where the heaviest rain has fallen, but if you loop it it gives away a little bit about where the storm itself is moving. If you can't tell simply by looking at the BREF, I always have two panels up and can get a better idea with the rainfall. So if you are toeing the line with a supercell at night and start to see the precip nearing the road, you know to back off a little bit.

Escape Route:

Alright so you are fairly competent at knowing your area, the storm and how it is behaving, and have reliable data and a radar. You finally feel confident into getting closer to the storm. Before you decide to have dinner with the storm, make sure you have an out in case something shows up that you weren't expecting! If a tornado drops and starts heading at you, you should have at least two viable escape routes getting you out of the way. Either blast east or south. (Typically on an E or NE moving storm). If you take a jog north you aren't necessarily getting out of the path of the storm, all you are doing is exposing yourself to large hail and core. While east won't get you out of the path of the storm itself, it gives you more time to find another south option to escape.

Also make sure the type of road you are using is suitable for driving. Can you really go 60 mph down a muddy or clay road? Is that the road you are betting on when you have a tornadic circulation a few miles away coming at you? (We took that chance on 5/22 in the day time no less and got spared by the hairs of our asses). Gotta be aware of these things. Going back to knowing your area, what about flooding and lines down? At night you can see only as far as a millisecond of lightning will show you and as far as your high beams go. Please be aware of your roads, your terrain, and your situational awareness. Don't get close, playing safe and missing a tornado isn't horrible and doesn't make you a bad chaser.

Knowing what to report and how to report it:

Alright you have weighed in a good vantage point and good escape routes. Time to look for what you have been seeking. You will quickly find out that at night EVERYTHING is a tornado. You get a couple glimpses of dark low hanging features in the distance and your brain wants you to yell tornado every time! Don't laugh, I have done it! Trees and telephone poles in the distance are excellent ways to make you feel like an idiot. Even the forward flank of gust fronts look menacing as hell at night. Scud + lightning + night time = tornado ..... at least to your brain it does. The key is to really watch that area and not take your eyes off of it. It will be hard to tell if the feature is rotating but subtle clues can really tell you for sure. For example, if you see a low hanging funnel shaped appendage hanging from a well defined wall cloud.... odds are something interesting may be going on. However if you see this feature anywhere else (core region, gust front) then it is most likely nothing. A tornado at night will be almost unmistakable. Seriously you will KNOW if you see a tornado at night. Seeing a tornado illuminated by lightning is so surreal and creepy. You may get chills up your spine. Something so sinister lurking out there under the cover of darkness. Another thing to think about is if you are thinking you are seeing a tornado and you are SE of the storm remember about the winds! SE of the cloud feature a few miles can tell you a lot. Winds blowing out of the west from your location probably means the storm is outflow dominant and has slim to no chance of producing a tornado. The key is is to note inflow. Inflow still means the storm is still breathing and inhaling warm moist air and still capable of tornado production.

What would you report on Spotter Network or to the National Weather Service? The only for sure report of a tornado that I would make would be if I am close to it and see it without a shadow of a doubt or if I am a ways away and see power flashes. If I wasn't 100% sure it was a tornado but can definitely see a wall cloud I would call it in as a wall cloud with inflow. If they ask for more say you may have a funnel cloud or a tornado but you aren't able to confirm. Like I said a well defined tornado at night is unmistakable. Power flashes under neath it are a dead give away. You want to be extra cognizant when reporting at night. You want to get the warning out for something that's there, not something you think could be there.

Thanks for reading.... leave your comments/advice/stories below in the thread!!!
Excellent post as always, Danny. There is a rather strong mindset with chasers that night chasing just isn't worth it at all. I've had some pretty hairy encounters at night and learned some lessons the hard way, but also believe that night chasing can be done safely, effectively, and can be quite rewarding if you take the necessary precautions. This includes:

  • Be 10x More Careful: Every precaution you take during the day, take it up an order of magnitude at night. Stay a few miles back from the storm instead of getting within a half mile of your tornado. Take your speed down so you don't drive into a tree across the road or a flash flood. Many don't core punch at all, but its especially dangerous at night. I would never recommend a night core punch.
  • Maintain Situational Awareness: This means knowing exactly where you are on a GPS, and having solid radar data. This is not necessary during the day, and some old school chasers scoff at the notion of relying on radar data, but in my opinion its required to stay safe at night (which is probably why a lot of old school chasers simply don't chase at night). You can maintain a visual on a storm with good lightning, street lights, or moonlight, but you're completely blind when you lose that visual and have no radar to fall back on. You don't want to be fooling around with paper maps in the dark either. If you lose your sense of where you are, or where and what the storm is doing, you need to call the chase off.
  • Escape Route: As Danny said, this is absolutely crucial. When you start losing your bearings, take that escape route. The escape route is not, "Well, in a mile I can turn south if I have to," because your road might be flooded or blocked before you get to that south road. Your escape route needs to be, "I'm at an intersection with a road that goes south, and can just turn now if I have to" or "I know its safe from where I just came, and have ample time to turn around". When you chase with a supercell right on your heels and are betting that your road away from the storm is going to be there, you are taking a huge gamble, especially at night.
I've seen several tornadoes at night, including my first wedge and first simultaneous tornadoes, as well as great storm structure. These chases were hugely rewarding, and I will continue to chase at night. I won't specifically head out on a chase, knowing my only shot will be after dark (unless its local), but I try to make the most of every chase I'm on, even if it means extending it into the nocturnal hours. Some shots of mine, and courtesy of the chasers I was with, from some of my night chases:






And some of my more memorable nocturnal chases:
May 10, 2003
March 12, 2006
March 28, 2007
May 4, 2007
May 23, 2008
April 29, 2010
Awesome posts, Danny and Skip. We don't shy away from chasing at night, but we do it differently for sure. I don't think I'd disagree with a single thing either of you said:

  • Watch out for animals. They especially tend to go a little crazy when intense storms are around. Those times that you might push the speed limit a little catching up to a cell in broad daylight - don't consider doing that at night. Oh, and thousands of frogs on a stretch of pavement really increase your stopping distance.
  • We don't mind taking dirt/gravel roads during the day, but we stick to pavement at night. With pavement your only fear when it comes to road condition is really flooding, but who knows what the condition of your non-pavement road is 100 ft ahead of you.
  • On all three or four of my night chases I have seen flooding. Don't underestimate the chances of it happening, or the depth. I know what roads are prone to flooding in MN, but I have no idea what happens in Floodsville, NE.
  • Don't let your guard down as long as storms are still going on. After chasing some nighttime tornadoes in TX, we decided to call it a night and drive back to KS. A quick looks at the storms led us to believe that things were going messy and weakening. We were all groggy and ready for sleep, but in the middle of some lightning flashes we saw a massive wall cloud right in front of us. Brakes slammed on, computers/radar all turned back on, etc. We didn't chase it because we were exhausted, but it dropped a tornado an hour later. Very scary being that unaware of what was happening, and how quickly storms had intensified.

On 6/17 we saw the "three-headed beast" - two tornadoes on the ground, with a funnel elsewhere.

EF-2 tornado to the right:

Wall cloud/Funnel to the left:

Radar grab:

We were in Hayfield at the time :D I didn't feel too bad about running away that night, and I'm very glad we had a clear escape route in our plans...
I'm undoubtedly going to come off as a jerk in this post, and certainly don't mean to question anyone's experience level out there - but that said, it is my true belief that if one has to ask for chasing strategies for nighttime intercepts, then you aren't someone who should be attempting to do so. Even the most experienced of chasers has either never chased at night because they refuse to do so, or certainly has had at least one hairy encounter with a nocturnal supercell. I'll also say that there is a difference between chasing at night when you're simply shooting lightning photos, or perhaps intercepting a linear storm mode, and intercepting a potentially tornadic supercell.

Even with frequent lightning, darkness hides features and simply disorients you all together (I've done it, and it really can become like running a maze blindfolded, even in familiar chasing territory). You've all had the experience where you arrive somewhere new in the middle of the night, go to bed and wake up and everything looks completely different. When you're in the middle of nowhere, in a location unfamiliar to you, in the middle of the night, there's just no way to get an excellent sense of your surroundings.

Now the above posts are certainly excellent write ups for those who have been there before, and there certainly are "interceptable" supercells once the sun sets that can be done so safely, but for anyone who questions their ability or experience still, just hold off as things can get hairy quick. If you're going to do so, do as commonly suggested and chase with someone more experienced. I have intercepted at night both solo, and with someone else, and doing so solo was a very lonely feeling when things started progressing downhill.
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Danny, Skip, Robert and Andrew, thank you for posting about this, I look forward to reading all of it in detail.

However, I'd really like to clarify something, especially as brought up by Andrew--I was not asking how to chase at night. I was actually looking for insights on DISengaging from storms as twilight deepens into night. Personally, I don't have a desire to chase severe storms after dark and was really looking for what contingencies folks have in mind as it gets dark and they're looking to call it a night without getting creamed :) Right now my options are to call off the chase while there's still around an hour of twilight left and thread my way behind the line for the night, or haul far ahead of activity and possibly way out of position for the next day. I just wanted to see what others had in mind when calling it a day and NOT actually chasing at night. Sorry for any confusion in the original question. This info will still certainly be very valuable and I greatly appreciate all the effort!
I would have to disagree about chasing at night being impossible, off-the-charts-more-dangerous or not worth it. Assuming 1.) there is semi-frequent lightning and 2.) you are not trying to do a 100-yards-away close intercept without radar, it is not any less safe than a daytime chase as long as the observation is at a safe distance.

As a lightning photographer, most of my chasing historically has been done at night, and I don't feel uncomfortable at all continuing a tornado chase after sunset. As with all chase safety issues, everything is common sense. A supercell stays a supercell whether light or dark. An invisible (rain-wrapped, low contrast) tornado during the day is also going to be invisible at night, and a highly visible one will be visible after dark as well (given lightning flashes).

I have seen several nice tornadoes at night over the years, and in all cases, never felt like it was any riskier than daytime chasing. Of course, I was not pushing the limits of trying to get close either. If we're talking about a low-topped event with little or no lightning or an meso-imbedded squall line, I'm not going to drive 5 hours for that. But if it's coming right at me at home? As a chaser, I'd rather take my chances out with my radar than sit at my desk as it rolls over me.
This is an excellent thread, some great tips here.

I would like to point out a few safety tips though, especially if you're going to be looking at screens in your vehicle at night:

- try to dim laptop and another screens as low as possible. Looking at a bright screen and then trying to see out the window might be a recipe for disaster since you'll blow your "night-vision" each time. In addition there's the glare on your windows to consider.

- Your peripheral vision diminishes at night; looking away at any screens while you're moving may not be so good an idea either; probably best to pull over while you have a peek.

Just my two cents:D ... have found evening storms to be among the most beautiful to witness.
I was actually looking for insights on DISengaging from storms as twilight deepens into night. Personally, I don't have a desire to chase severe storms after dark and was really looking for what contingencies folks have in mind as it gets dark and they're looking to call it a night without getting creamed :)

Well, in most cases you simply "end the chase." This means just driving away from the storms. In other cases you need to execute your escape route right? When I'm trying to chase in the inflow notch of an HP beast and I've had my fill I usually just drop south. The same strategy applies at night, just give yourself more leeway. If you don't have situational awareness right at nightfall, then yeah, you need to end your chase and get away before it gets completely dark. Most people have a good sense of where they are and what the storm is doing at dusk though, so you can usually just use that knowledge to get out of the way and end your chase. If there are too many storms around you, then end your chase before it becomes an issue having to deal with them after dark.

There are times where you can't avoid getting "creamed." You'll be chasing a supercell and a monster derecho will fire up from the west, gobble up your supercell and come flying at you at light speed. You'll just have to maybe find a weak spot in the line, stop, and hunker down.

I sleep in my van, and, more often than not, overnight I get slammed with some sort of squall line or MCS. That's always a fun experience. If you're trying to avoid that situation while overnighting or just driving away from the chase, you can try driving west of the dryline/cold front or north of the warm front. That cold, stable air is probably not going to kick up anything severe unless the boundary crosses your path again later.
I have a blog post in the queue about this, but it has to be said that severe storms are a negligible danger to chasers. The stats say it all. I think prudent talk about safety is reasonable, but we truly make storms out to be much more of a threat to chasers than they actually are. Take a step or two back and look at chasing in light of whitewater rafting, mountain biking and skiing, and what the actual probability of driving into a violent tornado is, day or night. I'm not saying 'be careless around supercells', but they really are not the risk to chasers compared to other things, such as using a laptop while driving, going 75+mph on wet roads, etc (things we do on every chase).
There is some great information on here. I would like to add to what Dan said above- I've found that the biggest danger when storm chasing doesn't come from the storm, it's all of the driving involved. Especially at night, on unfamiliar roads, trying to do too many things at once. After the sun goes down I've found that chasing is much more enjoyable if you give the storm some room, stay on paved roads, and enjoy the light show.

Last year, chasing after dark, I made the mistake of taking an unpaved road as a shortcut because it seemed like a legit gravel road- which it was, until it turned to clay after the crest of a hill. By the time I realized the road just turned to sh*t, I couldn't stop and proceeded to slide down the entirety of the hill and by an act of God and gravity managed to stop feet away from the swollen creek at the base of the hill. I'm sure anyone who has chased after dark has a similar road-horror story.
You know if I had a family depending on me, had kids, I would do things differently...follow most every piece of safety advice in this thread, and there is a lot of great advice. But I've spent way too much of my life being safe. If you REALLY LOVE storms, then get out there. If you just think it would be cool to be able to post in the reports section, then its not worth it. I enjoy storms just as much, if not more at night. I don't do anything crazy... and as others have said, your probably more likely to have something like a deer jump through your windshield than have a tornado find you in the dark. I'm way more scared of that actually. I've said to my family, that if I get hit by a tornado then I will have died doing what I love. I'd hate to be severely injured though... if a tornado was going to bang me up bad... I might rather it just do me in. And I sure don't want anyone crying over it, lol. It's only a matter of time before something like that happens, and there's a 15 page thread on how whoever it was should of done this or that differently. But anyway, I'm starting to rant now... about something that hasn't even happened, lol.

I damn near learned the lesson the hard way about chasing at night on my way back from the Greensburg supercell. Talk about having the sh&t scared out of ya.


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I have a few good stories about chasing at night. I don't need to echo how much more dangerous it is as it has already been mentioned numerous times above.

One of only 2 times I have ever been "scared" while chasing came at night during the deadly super tuesday outbreak of February 5th 2008. I decided to call off my chase but then noticed there was one lone tornadic supercell ahead of the typical overnight squall line. I had already been made aware of how many significant tornadoes have touched down, how many lives were [so far] lost and the multiple towns that had been hit...I was able to put myself right into position in the hook. As I saw there watching and listening to the beast growl in the distance as it came towards me I was hearing reports of a large and violent tornado on the ground heading directly for me yet all I could see even in the best lightning was this:


Its hard to draw any definitive conclusion from that alone but knowing what had happened all day and hearing the reports on radio/watching radar I began to get very nervous and in my video you can even see it shaking as a result. Only a few seconds later the picture above became this:


Maybe it was something to worry about and maybe not...but knowing what I knew I decided to get the hell outa there by diving back west into the core. I was worried that heading east with the fast storm motions I could still potentially be dealing with a right mover and decided diving into the core was the lesser risk. It didn't help had I went east the road curved north after a couple blocks according to my GPS, so that would have put me right back in the path. This goes back to always being aware of your road network.

Needless to say, chasing at night does add a certain spook and danger element that doesn't exist during the day. Just sharing a personal story here...once the core passed I noticed this on the back side.


What a day/night that was.

One thing I will say I HATE about night chasing though is...someone like me is very picky about what he counts as a tornado...and theyre so much harder to see at night so even though I KNOW I was in the presence of multiple tornadoes on several night chases [both on 2-5-08, 10-18-07, 5-10-08]...I still do not have a without-a-doubt official night time tornado although one of the Ellis tornadoes we saw on 5-23-08 was right at dusk.
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As a general rule I break off the chase at sundown. With the exception of SD storms. Most times I find myself following those storms home. Not to say I won't chase at all at night but the risks do increase and not just because of the storm. Last year we almost hit a cow coming around a corner. There it was right in the middle of the road. Also last year in May I had a heard of deer jump out in front of me and cross the road just inches in front of me. After sundown the only thing I focus on is getting home safetly.