Storm Chasing Hates?

  • Thread starter Mike Hollingshead
  • Start date

Mike Hollingshead

Thought of this as a topic the other day after a chase. What do you hate about chasing?

In no particular order:

-When the only radio station options are, religious, country, or classical. Often out in the sandhills there will be just ONE station that will come in and it is always classical. Do the majority out there prefer that over country or something else? I can't hardly see that being true. Anyway I really hate it when that happens. I usually take note right when I'm noticing the day is going to be a complete bust. I start throwing fits at some of the silly country music out there. Waaa waaa waaa get over it! At least that is how it is after/during a bust. If it was a good day, well then I can sing it just as good as them.

-People that SLOOOOWLY pass you on the interstate while you have your cruise set. They then pull infront of you and pretty soon you are sneaking up on their bumper!!

-People you pass only to have them come up on your bumper shortly there after.

-The person in the left lane just driving right next to the person in the right lane for what seems like hours. UGGGGG. Why would you even like to be in that spot? Some cases it seems like people are trying not to let you have room to go by. Man so many stupid road habits bug me.

-Killing any animals. :( I always wonder if chasing should be so important to me and feel guilty having my chasing end its life.

-Mosquitoes in the Dakotas/Minnesota

-Being without data and seeing anyone with antennas going the other direction.

-Having data and seeing anyone with antennas going the other direction.(that is worse than the above)

-Seeing someone with car troubles as a tornado approaches their location and I'm not to a hill without powerpoles yet. Hmmmm.

-40 miles after you already REALLY had to go and someone is in there already.

-Tornado warnings from the storm you just left.

-Using xm to watch the best storm of the day instead of your own eyes as you are 100 miles away.

-Being so tired you start to see things and you're still just too close to home to get a dang motel.

-Having to guess early storm motions right away due to roads. Will it go east with the boundary, or will the boundary not move and the thing drop straight south on it?

-Oh jeez almost forgot number 1. Recording something, then thinking you fully pressed stop and setting the cam down but it is still recording and you dont' know it. Then picking it back up and pushing the button again to record but you are shutting it off. Man this happens all the time in the best, higher adrenaline times. I've had some pretty long strings of doing that and not knowing, like half a tape and several instances.

-People saying your storms were photographed in several countries. :(

-Not being able to get to or use your camera equipment in all the dreams.

-DVD production.....grrrrrrr.

-The second you say "this is going to be a good day, or tornado day" and know you just jinxed it all to hell.

-Gas costs, DOH!

-Motels now securing their wifi.

-Varying quality of "gravel" roads when wet from place to place.

-People that would rather drive 30 mph in the rain forever instead of doing 60 and not having to keep driving on wet roads as long. I hate that because I usually know how much longer I have to go to get out of the rain while joe public ahead of me insists on driving the same speed the storm is moving. Like, dude go and life will be much better.

Guess that is a start.
Good list, Mike!

My biggest chase 'hate' (from the limited experience that I've had chasing) would be anything involving driving. I am easily frustrated by other drivers' poor actions; i.e tailgating, lack of turn signals, blinding me w/ brights, and hogging up the passing lane.

As far as the radio station problem...a combination of XM radio and a CD player work great for me.

And, having people say that YOUR storms were photographed by them in another country....this is coming to be my second biggest 'hate'. I haven't been affected by it, yet (as I have no photos on the internet). Someday, I will and I just pray that they don't come across mine and make that bad decision.:twisted:
Mike covered most of the things I hate about chasing, but I thought of a few more.

Having to prepay for gas when you want to fill up and you have no idea how much it will take. It is even worse when you are on a storm and in a hurry.

Waiting at the pump for 5 minutes before the retard working the counter turns it on (once again, even worse when your'e on a storm).

The mosquitoes in the Dakotas deserve to be mentioned again. Within minutes of getting out of the car you have hundreds of them treating you like a dart board. You have to see it to believe it.

Delorme maps showing trails through pastures as regular county roads.
- Driving for miles with no traffic in sight - then coming up on a slow car - and at the instant you go to change lanes to pass, a long line of speeding cars in the fast lane arrives at just that moment, forcing you to brake, disengage cruise and wait until you can get over. Uncanny how often this happens.

- Executing a difficult pass of a slow car or truck on a road with short or nonexistent passing zones, then getting a craving for a snack or cold drink - but not stopping because it would mean letting said slow car/truck get ahead of you again and neccessitate another passing ordeal.

- Paying for chasing expenses.

- 25 mph speed limits between you and a storm.

- Missing a nice lightning strike by a couple of minutes, or seconds.

- Booked hotels during graduation week in Kansas

- Bugs and windsheilds

- Increasingly messy chase vehicle - coke spills, junk food wrappers

- Settling for a midnight convenience store meal due to finding no restaurants open after eating almost nothing all day

- Losing a cable release, pack of mini-DV tapes, a usb card reader, etc, doing a thorough search of car with no success - then ending up buying another cable release, card reader, etc and then finding the old one a day later

- Rain on the lens

- Wind blowing rain from the same direction the tornado/lightning/storm structure is

- Staying up too late working on photos and video from the day, getting insufficient sleep for the next big day.

- Not having time to look at video from a big day due to late hour arriving at hotel

- Not enough plug outlets in the hotel

- No plug outlets next to the table in hotel

- Cramps in neck, back, legs and arms from using laptop for hours while sitting on bed due to no outlets next to hotel table

- Spending too much time on forums during the off season
-Your partner is suffering from a major hangover but tells you early in the trip that he feels OK enough to tag along, Only to find out later that he should've stayed home in bed when he suddenly out of nowhere decides to blow chunks all over your radio equipment and laptop, trashing everything. (yes, this actually happened April 21, 2005)

-You are sitting in the car discussing with your partner the quickest route to take, when all of the sudden the TVS icon pops up on the screen, the loud alarm sounds, you get all excited and reach over to zoom in on the radar image, while at the same time your chew spit cup lands all over the electronic equipment because you got lazy and set it down somewhere other than the cupholder (Yes, this has unfortunately happened, on more than one occaison. That's why I dont allow myself or anyone else to have a drink or spit cup in the car unless it's capped or lidded.)

-Your chase partner's car catches fire because he didnt take care of a known oil leak. And all of this goes down while hauling balls to a tornadic storm. (This happened about 7 years ago while we were chasing down in Arkansas. Luckily we were not in the storm's path at the time.)

-You get a brand new car, and two days later the windshield gets taken out by baseball sized hail during a chase. (This happened back in May 2003 while I was chasing the KC Metro tornado. I knew I should have waited until after the convective season to trade vehicles. :oops: )

-Trying to get to a storm "quickly" during rush hour traffic. (Took the risk, but learned a good lesson afterwards)

-Hitting a police roadblock, and having to find alternative routes.
lol - great list. A few things off the top of my head that turn me to a hayta:

*That moment of realization that you drove way further than you originally thought you would and now have to start back.

*Forgetting to bring the CD pouch and having nothing to listen to on the return trip.

*Mosquitoes trapped in the car with you.

*The rush in trying to get the right shot, and get the the tripod all set up just as everything poops.

*The local hero who thinks that by stopping in the middle of the road ahead of you he is saving your life.

*Knowing you could get a great shot outside the car but there's just enough rain and lightning to keep you in.

*Any two lane highway in Kansas.

*States that place the "Low Maintenance" road sign on the exact spot the road turns to mud instead of 100 yds before.

*Where's the cell phone? Where's the cell phone? WHERE'S THE CELL PHONE?!


*The little light starts blinking to warn you that you are almost to the end of the video tape just as things are getting really good.

*Unwrapping the impenetrable shrink wrap around new video tapes while trying to drive.

*Misplacing your awesome video. You know it's somewhere in the house or the car, but it takes you an hour to find it every time.

*Hearing the tornado warning issued and you are still one county away.

*Hearing the the report of a tornado being sighted and you are exactly five minutes away.

*Towns that are small enough to not have a bypass but big enough to have stop lights or train crossings (Marysville, or Leavenworth, Kansas to be exact).

*Drunk guys that ask if they can follow you.
Screwing up your chase car's engine chasing the Liberal KS storm June 28, 2003, and as of August 5, 2005, the car is still not running.
-40 miles after you already REALLY had to go and someone is in there already

Having to go number 2 real bad, and there is no bathroom around. LOL

Oh yeah, bathroom emergencies are no joke! I found the best way to deal with those are find the nearest bush or some other secluded area...and handle business from there...that is if all other options have been exhausted. :lol:
Seeing people hide under freeway overpasses (saw whole groups do it in Kansas).

Power lines that come down

Not knowing how big the hail is going to get!

Creepy encounters (weird cop in Kansas at 4:30 in the morning; carload of drunk guys chased me in Arizona and I had to get out fast hence the escape route rule is a good one to follow).

Volkswagen-sized tumbleweeds!

Flash flooding (hitting a mesquite log in the dark)

The size of the fire ants in Texas (proportionate to the size of the state I guess!)

Illegal border activity

No services for miles in the Permian Basin TX

Roving cows on the roads at night

Getting suckered into chasing a storm all the way to Arkansas!

When a critter lands on you when you're photographing in the dark and you don't really want to know what is on you

Trying to find a late-night motel room in Wichita

Lack of Starbucks in the Plains (although the situation is improving! :)

Well, these are a few chase-hates...vastly outnumbered by my long list of chase-loves!
1. Breakdowns
2. Busting and then, on your final gas stop, hearing about all the tornadoes from other chasers who saw them.
3. Backseats
4. Rain
5. Convoys
6. Being late because other people can't get their sh*t together (some of my partners from years past)
7. Those female police dispatchers with the painfully-strong southern drawal that break over your scanner, giving you a momentary jolt of excitement because you think it's a weather report
8. Having everyone notice you're a chaser on days when you sucked and don't want to talk about it, and then not meeting a single person who's interested in talking about what you saw on your best tornado days.
9. Missing planned personal events because a slight chance of a chase suddenly pops up, and then busting.
10. Ignoring a slight chance of a chase and going on with personal plans, then hearing about the tornadoes you missed an hour from home.
Two words: night storms!

Seems like the best ones always happen after dark. :?
-Getting pulled over while chasing, especially on your way to a distant target area.

-While this is nice when it happens, it's also an annoyance; getting pulled over by a cop who never had an intention of giving you a ticket, he just wants to give you a warning. Again, nice when it happens, but at the same time, do what the cop in Nebraska did to Weathervine, myself, and Verne.

-Precip being blown at you.

-The buzzing of my antennas near electrical storms.

-Prepaying for gas.

-Trying to fight off Denver traffic on my way across town.

-People reporting hail bigger than it really is.

-Just about all your driving issues mentioned above (and below).

-Speed traps.


-Booked hotels.

-Not having time to set up tripods.

-My shakey hands when I'm not using a tripod.

-Mosquitos and bees.

-Cowboys fans :wink:

-Tour groups.

-People who rudely invite themselves into your caravan ("Lost Puppy Syndrome")

-Missing the best week of the season after chasing for nearly a month cause you have no more time to take off from work (that really hurt).

-Immaturely over-excited chase partners.

-Uptight chasers in the field (I was guilty of this a couple times myself).

-'Call Dropped'

-Denver's News stations that fly their choppers under hailstorms to get video for their station.

-Not having cruise control.

-Chasing targets that are more than 400 miles away on consecutive days (i.e. chasing NE on Mon; chasing TX on Tues; chasing MO on Wed; chasing CO on Thur, etc).

That's all I have for now! Many were already mentioned above!
Good thread Mike, and your list brings back a lot of memories. Here's some more for you:

-Trying to get through metro traffic to get to a nearby tornado / supercell - Argh!!
-Hitting / killing a large dog. THis happened once, and I'm a dog lover.
-Leaving my little girls behind while I'm gone and out on the road many days, or weeks.
-Leaving late
-Staying up late to look at the latest model runs, SPC, and having to leave early - with no sleep.
-Leaving late, and watching the tornadic cells begin to fire at your target area and you are still 300 miles away.
-Getting really sick on the road and far from home in remote areas.
-Having Streetatlas lead me to deadends when a tornadic storm is dropping tornadoes only a few miles away.
-Doing everything right, getting out on time, with tornadic storms starting to pop at your target and then your car dies.
-You forecasted it perfectly 500 miles away with big tubes in the county you picked, but you didn't go.
-You have a blue sky bust, & 100 miles away you see overshooting tops. You race to it, and get there just in time to have everyone tell you of 1/2 mile wide tubes you missed.
-Your power adapter going out which provides power to all your equipment including camera charging.
-Making a perfect run through the hail core to get in front of a tornadic area only to hit a bridge out with no road options.
-Road construction forcing you to wait at stop lights while the tornadic area is about to run you over.
-Every Sheriff, DPS, police vehicle wanting to pull me over, and usually causing me to be late.
-Middle of the night, no motels, and you were starting to pass out over 200 miles ago.
-Those wierd hallucinations and dreams you get when you are passing out late at night that scare the hell out of you.
-Long, long drives with no tornadoes bagged.
-Tv media hype of chasers and tornadoes.
-Tornadoes that are wrapped so much you can never quite tell if it really IS a tornado.
-Photos and videos of your great tornado chases that end up blurry, jumping around too much or over / under exposed.
-High cost of gas.
-TOrnado on the ground in odd lighting situations and not knowing how to adjust the complicated cams and video.
-Muddy roads that you very, very easily can slide off of into plowed fields and get stuck.
-Having to look through cracks, and small holes in giant hail shattered windshields with rain / hail falling down.
-All the damn glass that you have to clean up in your vehicle, hair, eyes, equipment, clothes, bags when your windows shatter.
-Taking the wrong road option, which ends up taking you directly into the path of a tornado at night, in rain.
-TOrnadic supercells all over you at night in the middle of nowhere, and no radar data.

Well, the list will go on and on. The longer I sit here - the more I remember. YOu get the idea.
*Continuing to chase a major tornado that went through your neighborhood 5 minutes earlier, and not knowing if you still have a house or not.

*Texas Turkeys!!!!

*Driving a vehicle laden with weather instrumentation, 11 antennas, light bar, etc...and having people come up and ask "Hey...are you a stormchaser?"

*Same as above, but they ask while you are filming a tornado.

*People who get to chase on days that I have to work. :)

*Eastern Oklahoma/Arkansas/Missouri chases.

*People who talk crap about the SPC forecasters because they bust.

*People who talk crap about other chasers forecasts because they bust.

*People who criticize other chasers choice of equipment, stating that it is either stupid or not proper, simply because it differs from their beliefs.

*People who criticize other chasers techniques because it is different from theirs.

*Driving a vehicle laden with weather instrumentation, 11 antennas, light bar, etc...and having people come up and ask "Hey...are you a stormchaser?"



Even better when it's SPELLED OUT FOR THEM! That's not counting the "STORM CHASER" I have on the lip of my trunk. :lol:
There is a long list of storm chasing pet peeves for me!

1 Seeing a storm in front of you and being stuck in traffic.

2 Road blocks / construction.

3 Speeding tickets.

4) Yahoos (irresponsible storm chasers).

5 Insurance (any).

6 People who steal chase gear.

7 No data / computer or electronic issues.

8 Playing "catch-up" with a good storm and missing the action.

9 Not being able to find accomodations (grad nites, memorial day).

10 Price gouging with hotels (such as $129 per-person PLUS TAX at Trinidad, CO Holiday Inn Express).

11 Running out of gas.

12 The "cap" (bustola!)

13 Run-down motels with prostitutes, midgets, and weekly rates.

14 Copyright violations.

15 The five-letter "R" word: R-I-D-G-E

16 Antenna-napping (stealing your antennas).

17 Eastern Oklahoma / West Arkansas chasing.

18 Seeing FL in slight-risk more than you in the central USA!

19 Farting in the chase vehicle.

20 Rex blocks.
"Pulling a Fabian" -Slang : Pressing pause instead of record during the best tornado footage you managed to get this year.

Chasing 6-7 hours from home only to have tornadoes tough down in your home county. Although this has happened on numerous occations, "chase grace" was on my side on 4-20-04 as I was home due to a vehicle breakdown which kept me from chasing out of state.
Jerry Funfsinn
1. the 2005 chase season
2. changing your target and ending up with a bust while your original target area sees all the action
3. traveling out of state and busting while your hometown area sees all the action
4. running out of film at the worst time possible
5. trying to watch roads, maps, storm, etc at the same time while chasing solo
6. deer dodging
7. Missouri hills and trees
8. limited road options that can’t get you to the exact location you need to be in
9. HPs (rain, rain, and more rain, ugh)
10. HPs when you forgot to Rain-X your windshield
11. having to sit out on chase days due to work schedules or high gas prices
12. sitting out on a chase day that ends up being a tornado-fest
13. not being able to get anything but country music stations on the radio
14. people who look at you like you’re crazy when you’re pulled off a road and they stop and ask if everything’s ok and you tell them “yes, I’m just watching the storm†(I don’t mind them stopping cause that’s thoughtful of them but please don’t look at me like I’m nuts)
15. storms that move too fast to chase
16. trying to get out of a major metro area in rush hour traffic
17. lack of healthy food when out on the road
18. toll booths in KS and OK
19. changing locations to try to get a better view only to end up with a worse view
Man reading all these is making me remember a ton I should have mentioned. Here is another I remember while sitting here having cold feet, reading the net.

-My car's AC system. 2 parts
-A: The AC kicks off if I'm stopped idling somewhere. Not good for summer chasing around here.
-B: The damn vent setup for my car's AC. I must have poor blood circulation as my feet are always cold as hell. Well, I wear sandals 99.9% of the time when it is not snowing out. So I always have sandals on when chasing. I have the vent set to blow out just the dash ones, to the face and not set on the floor at all. Well that stupid thing blows out the floor ones anyway, right on the gas pedal. I always swear I'll remember socks the next time and never do. So my AC all around is an annoyance. I can often be seen moving down the interstate, cruise on, and rubbing my right foot in my lap to warm it up. Goal for 2006, fix both those problems.
Argggghhh Mike, you reminded me of one...

People wearing sandels while chasing. I fuss at Graham all the time about it. Part is a thing with me that I just really don't want to see other people's feet yech! LOL Put in practicality, how do you guys do it with sometimes mud on the side of the road, all variety of biting insects, most notably CHIGGERS and all other hazards that chasing can bring to the feet. Scares me to thing of wearing sandels, the car breaks down and you end up walking 20 miles in to town with sandels.
Put in practicality, how do you guys do it with sometimes mud on the side of the road, all variety of biting insects, most notably CHIGGERS and all other hazards that chasing can bring to the feet.


The only time I'll be worried about mud on roads and sandals is when I'm stuck in that crap. Twice this has happened and man were my feet muddy. At least us folks wearing sandals getting air on our feet likely have much better smelling feet than those wearing shoes and socks. Too bad I don't have the vid cap online of my muddy feet and sandals from that day or I'd show you my feet, lol. As for chiggers, I've yet to have a chigger bite on my feet and I get them ALL the time in other places. I always walk my parents dogs in tall grass wearing sandals, and this is when I get them all over me, but never have I had any on my feet. Hmmmm. I bet if I had shoes and socks on I would.