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Storm Chaser Frustrations

I thought back at some of the things that have gone wrong on real chases please feel free to add to the list as I'm sure we've all had something go wrong.

1>You drive 300+miles to the target when everything is perfectly in place on a high risk day yet nothing's breaking the cap.
2>busting out when too many garden variety storms form under a weak cap bringing rain cooled air into the mix and cutting off any hope for day time heating.
3> Missing the high risk PDS event of a lifetime because your stuck at work. (May 3rd 1999 Oklahoma and that hurts!)
4> Storms moving 70+mph!!!
5> The only supercell on chase day is the storm you passed up 200 miles earlier.
6> The only announcement you hear on NOAA weather radio when you reach the target is "THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WHICH PROMPTED THE WARNING WEAKENED AND WAS NO LONGER SEVERE"
7> Excessive gas prices!!!
8> Getting a flat while your on a monster of a storm!
9> Missing a tornado that's concealed within an HP
10> Tryng to get around farmer Joe on a 1 lane road.
11> Being forced to end a chase after a monster HP destroys the camera you so carelessly left on a tripod, yes this really did happen.
12 The only clouds you see upon reaching the target are fair weather cumulous, then you sit around for hours waiting for storms to fire up only to find yourself leaving as you see the sun set over an empty stormless horizon. All this after driving 280 miles staying up late and having do drive back home so you can get to work the next morning.
 
Originally posted by David Brookshier
11> Being forced to end a chase after a monster HP destroys the camera you so carelessly left on a tripod, yes this really did happen.

I don't understand this one. This would imply that if there was no way for you to record the storm, then there was no reason for you to chase. Could you please elaborate further on this?
 
Originally posted by Chris Sokol

I don't understand this one. This would imply that if there was no way for you to record the storm, then there was no reason for you to chase. Could you please elaborate further on this?

I fully understand this. If I didn't have access to a video camera to chase with, I wouldn't chase. I chase to document, the experience is great but memories fade. Video is forever.

As far as chaser frustrations, it'd be easier to list the good things that have happened.
 
Originally posted by Chris Sokol+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Chris Sokol)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-David Brookshier
11> Being forced to end a chase after a monster HP destroys the camera you so carelessly left on a tripod, yes this really did happen.

I don't understand this one. This would imply that if there was no way for you to record the storm, then there was no reason for you to chase. Could you please elaborate further on this?[/b]

What I mean is that after losing the ability to photograph the event who will see what I have seen who would know that I shot a tornado.
 
I'd somewhat have to agree on the camera part... However, if I was already chasing -- then I would most surely continue to chase, even if my camera broke or wouldn't record (it happened to be once in 2003). While it really does feel good to get your eyes the hell out of cameras when there is actually a tornado on the ground, because you simply need to witness in true form the majesticness of a tornado (or any beautiful storm).

As for my hates on chasing, here is just a few:

1) Michigan
2) Living in MI, and having to drive >10hrs for good setups
3) Living in the great lakes
4) Actually paying attention to WORTHLESS severe weather "setups" across this crapland I have called home for 16 years
5) Not being able to tripod due to high speed storm movement or precip falling all of your cams
6) Some forecasted outbreak days (I'd rather have a nice dryline SLGT day, in most cases)
7) DVD Production
8 ) Using XM to watch wild tornadic supercells 100 miles away at a busted target (5-7-05, in a extreme case)
9) Road Construction
10) Mosquitoes and all the other little bugs
11) Extreme cost of chasing while living hundreds of miles from the plains
12) Losing stuff at a very wrong time
13) Getting to a hotel, paying the extra money for decent WIFI, and getting a crap signal. "Sir, move to the other side of the hotel"... Hmm, this sort of takes the whole point away from staying at this motel. I like the WIFI IN my room... Routers cost like $50, dudes... By a few more, no?
14) Michigan

Yeah, cannot say enough how I hate this state :lol:
 
Hey Nick, why don't you move to Lubbock? You would be in dry line heaven! :lol: You wouldn't have far to drive on those bust days either.
 
Nick i had to think back on this day So i went to the events archive and sure enough tornadoes in NE. that i would say is more than a 100 miles aways LOL :lol: But i do agree.


8 ) Using XM to watch wild tornadic supercells 100 miles away at a busted target (5-7-05, in a extreme case)

My list
1.)Cities
2.) Small towns that make you crawl through at 25 MPH
3.) Michigan
4.)Crappy wifi
5.)construction
6.)Driving far and busting with 60 other chasers but if they busted I guess I dont feel as bad.
7.)May 11. Played the north part instead of the dryline.
8.) Messy systems

I guess thats it for me
 
Not that we should be speeding anyways :roll: Of course not speeding would solve this issue. But that leaves them blocking roads.

-Police officers

I think the following (most listed above) apply to me:

-Construction (Have you seen those stupid one lane highway automated stoplights?)

-Farmer Joe driving really slow (thanks to the Farmer Joe's that pull over when they see us coming up on them at a high rate of speed while a tornado warning is in effect).

-Small towns (also applies to police officers)

-Equipment failure

-High speed cells (especially when behind Farmer Joe IN the one-lane highway construction zones. 11-27-05)

-Signal loss (either WiFi or wireless). Sucks when you don't have XM and you get all the way to your target (have 100% signal the whole way) and lose it at the target area.

-Inaccurate maps or roads that don't exist anymore (in which case I'd rather have construction)

-Missing your turn cause your GPS lost signal and you didn't notice until 2 miles later... and of course it's a high-speed cell day.
 
Much worse than a high risk blue skies bust, is a I missed the tornado (and what a tornado it was) by about 15 minutes on a high risk, 1100 mile round trip chase... stopping for dinner at Pizza Hut and seeing the tornado video on the weather channel: June 4, KS

The chicago area traffic, however, is easily the biggest frustration for me. After missing many a tornado by less than a half hour I have traced it back to the nasty Chicago traffic. Nothing infuriates me more.
 
Dito on the Chicago traffic Skip. I'll often watch a beautiful cell on radar moving through the south burbs only 40 or so miles from my house, but leave it be beacause there is no way to get to it without hitting city traffic. I love Iowa for this very reason, traffic-less roads in every direction! (for the most part)

I'll also add to the list: Great setups, but the cap holds until after dark.
 
I've been on a tornado only to learn that my camcorder battery didn't get charged for whatever reason. This happened on May 29th of 2004 in Harper County KS.... though I had my camera so it was all good.

Things that frustrates me..

- cities
- road construction
- slow drivers
- busting my target area while I watch on radar a nice tornadic storm some 100 miles away
- Closed roads, having to reroute.
- Bad WiFi connections
 
My chase career is mostly frustration.

1. Having the tornadic storms end on the day I arrive for a two week chase vacation, only to restart the day after I leave. I hate death ridges. This has happened to me more than once.

2. Flying out to Kansas for a one day chase, being on the main storm but missing a crucial turn and missing an awesome tornado.

3. Getting stuck at work during a rare Virginia tornado outbreak on two occasions. Even worse: looking out the window from work at exploding crisp and spiraling towers before the outbreak as they move away, again on two occasions.

4. Road construction and long one way stretches of highway

5. Trees

Bill Hark
http://www.harkphoto.com
 
1.) Hilly Terrain
2.) SLOW DRIVERS WHEN THERE'S A TORNADO 3/4 MILE AWAY
3.) Hilly Terrain

With only one season under my belt, I've had only a couple really crappy experiences, the worst of which caused us to miss what would've been my first tornado on 3/21/05. Although this was the best day for us in 2005, I still get frustrated thinking about how close (yet how far) we were.
 
Drive 7 hrs to chase in MO and have the wife phone from home and state " hey we are under a tornado warning and the sirens are going off are you close? Doah!
Wake up in a High Risk, drive to target cell, watch it for an hour when it looks wimpy, get stuck in the mud, get back on the storm, watch it tornado, then realize afterward you had the pause on the camera the whole time. Doah! ( Hiawatha KS tornado)
Sitting in NE to far away to catch the tornadic storms in CO, wife phones from Illinois and states " the tornado sirens are going off we are heading to the basement". Doah!
Drive to TX from IL , two warned storms to chose. Opt for the northern since it is right in front of me. Make the decision 4 times to blow off the northern storm and target the southern. Suckered each time thinking this one has to produce but no tornado on northern storm. Find out later the southern storm was a " tornado factory". Doah! ( June 12, 2005)

I think as was stated earlier it would be easier to list the successes. Frustration is a part of chasing, there are a lot of variables to a successful chase , any one thing can go wrong to end a day. The successes go a lot farther than the frustrations, thats what keeps me going anyway.
 
One frustration is people who interfere with chasing. I got pulled over in Childress by a local cop, he asked me what kind of radios I had and what the weather was going to do, issued no ticket and sent me on my way. Then again in Liberal, while parked shooting lightning, a cop parked next to me to get out of the rain and started to make conversation. I was alone and it was 4:30am so I politely excused myself asap. There was another time last year when I was chased by four drunk men in a pickup truck, that got serious and I had to get out fast, speeding away with one of my doors still open. A tourist approached me a on desert mountain and asked me what I was doing while standing right in front of my camera. People who approach during chases have caused some of my biggest frustrations. One would think you could find solitude in a desert, but that's not always the case. At least in the plains and in the desert you can see for miles around.
 
>-Farmer Joe driving really slow

Everyone should get to experience Farmer Joe accuse them of stealing his cattle.

This happened to me one afternoon near the Texas/Oklahoma border while trying to get in position to film an approaching supercell.

I left when he tried to get into my truck. He for sure had me believing that my ass was beat if he got me out...
 
Originally posted by Dave Ewoldt


Everyone should get to experience Farmer Joe accuse them of stealing his cattle.

...


Or the time in NW Ok, his brother, Farmer Bob, pulled a gun on Val Castor and I because he thought we were vandals.
Or the time in SW Ok their cousin, Rancher Ray, drove up to Val and I to see what was up with the storm...we walked over to talk to him and as we got to the truck window, we saw he was without pants. "Storm scared me so bad I guess I forgot my britches" he said. Yikes.

Rob
 
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned what I would consider the all-time no. 1 perennial frustration for those who wish to chase storms.

Being stuck in a job and unable to chase.

Eh - maybe it's just me.

KR
 
Originally posted by Karen Rhoden
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned what I would consider the all-time no. 1 perennial frustration for those who wish to chase storms.

Being stuck in a job and unable to chase.

Eh - maybe it's just me.

KR

Yeah or supposed to be at work at 5:30 am and you are in Onawa Iowa at 3:30 AM.(June 29th) 3.5 hours away to KC. Calling to tell them you won't be coming in due to a flat tire and are stranded. Then a friend pumps gas in the background with the loud beeps even a deaf man could hear. :D

Then you get home at around 7 am, wake up at noon (June 30th), and chase a surprise day that produced tornadoes and are minutes away from it, (And were on it from the beginning) but can't punch through the core for the second time due to crappy road networks and bridge constructions. (See Reports June 30th)
 
My main frustration, other than and being in Michigan of course, is trees. I've told the story about June 8th, 2003 enough times to make beating a dead horse look pretty good, so I'll skip right to the point: having your vision obscured until a fairly wide tornado (300 foot wide F1 tornado by NWS survey) crosses the road behind the car is not a good thing. Forgetting the camera also isn't good, but seeing as I was watching the tornado more than doing anything, I probably would have never shot a photo.
 
Originally posted by Karen Rhoden
Being stuck in a job and unable to chase
Sorry Karen, I have you beat.

Being stuck in a job at NSSL, and unable to chase.

For example - April 26, 1991. Yep! Stuck waiting for our Cimarron radar to start collecting data, and it wouldn't spin. Did however manage to break away from Norman at 6:30pm, and make it to the back side of the large tornado making "landfall" on the east side of Keystone Lake, and then become lost in darkness.

But more recently, as job duties and responsibilities with a building career take center stage - being stuck in meetings or on project deadlines, and missing events. Of course, I missed the 15 May 2003 Panhandle outbreak, but that was because the following day I flew to Austria to a severe weather conference - which I would have easily chosen over one missed event.
 
1.) Tennessee
2.) Living in Tennessee
3.) Chasing in Tennessee
4.) Having to drive long distances to get even moderate chasing terrain.
5.) The mountains
6.) Lines that break right when they reach the Cumberland area, which is about 50 miles from me.


Trust me You Michiginians (LOL), Tennessee is MUCH worse than anything you guys get.
 
Originally posted by Andrew Khan
1.) Tennessee
2.) Living in Tennessee
3.) Chasing in Tennessee
4.) Having to drive long distances to get even moderate chasing terrain.
5.) The mountains
6.) Lines that break right when they reach the Cumberland area, which is about 50 miles from me.


Trust me You Michiginians (LOL), Tennessee is MUCH worse than anything you guys get.


I think I have you beat on this one if you think Tennessee is bad this year just take a look down south into central north Texas, We're in the dead zone right now. This has been a very inactive chase season for the state with the exeption of the Friday the 13th chase in May. Currently we have an upper level ridge of doom dominating us and we haven't had any rain for months with nothing forecasted in the near future. It's a major dry sunny season so far and if it keeps up I think they are going to have to remove north Texas from the tornado alley map. I'm getting so desperate I'll take anything at this point snow, rain, sleet, cloud cover, I will even core punch cirrus overcast since that seems to be all we have to chase right now.

(14) Another chase frustration Having an upper level ridge sit over your home state for the next three weeks.


Instability=Success>as it breaks the cap punch the core, shoot a nado and the chase goes on.
 
Originally posted by nickgrillo
As for my hates on chasing, here is just a few:

1) Michigan
2) Living in MI, and having to drive >10hrs for good setups
3) Living in the great lakes
14) Michigan
Man...why I understand you :D

My hate(s):

1) Living OUT OF USA! :cry:

:lol:
 
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