Storm Chasing Perks

Dan Robinson

As I was typing out my list of chasing 'hates' on Mike's thread, I thought of all the great times there are in chasing that outweigh all of the bad things. Chasing does bring its fair share of problems but also its fair share of 'perks'. So, I am re-posting my list of 'hates' and countering each 'negative' with a related 'positive', or as Jeff Wear would say, 'The Perks of Chasing':

HATE: 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.

PERK: Driving for miles with no traffic in sight, westbound to the next day's target - at sunset, with the windows down, and a good song on the radio.

HATE: 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.

PERK: Having the trucker ahead of you do the kind gesture of pulling over just to let you pass, then stopping for a glass-bottle Coke and beef jerky.

HATE: Paying for chasing expenses.

PERK: Looking at photos, video and thinking of the stories to tell your future grandkids - money well spent.

HATE: 25 mph speed limits between you and a storm.

PERK: 70 mph speed limits on rural Texas roads.

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

PERK: Catching a bolt squarely in frame.

PERK: Being set up, tripoded and rolling tape on a wall cloud just before it drops a huge tornado.

HATE: Booked hotels during graduation week in Kansas.

PERK: A cheap hotel in a small town that is actually clean and has WIFI!

HATE: Bugs and windsheilds.

PERK: The relaxing sound of crickets in the middle of the night while shooting anvil crawlers.

HATE: Increasingly messy chase vehicle - coke spills, junk food wrappers.

PERK: Fellow chasers that don't care if the car is messy because theirs is too!

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

PERK: When the convenience store food is actually home-cooked and good!

PERK: Dinner with chaser friends at any restaurant, both after a tornadofest or after a bust.

HATE: 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

PERK: Having all your gear there when you need it and enough tape/film to cover the whole day.

HATE: Rain on the lens.

PERK: The same rain doing this:

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

PERK: A tornado or intense lightning barrage with no rain.

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

PERK: Getting to bed early after a big tornado day, sleeping in, and being within an hour of the next day's target.

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

PERK: Watching others and your own video from a big day.

HATE: Not enough plug outlets in the hotel.

PERK: The times there are enough plug outlets for everyone's laptop, chargers, razors and phones.

HATE: Spending too much time on forums during the off season.

PERK: Finding out next chase season that you actually learned a bunch of useful stuff from spending all the time on the forum.

The biggest perk of all...

Seeing and experiencing some of the most awesome and awe inspiring natural events on the planet, IN PERSON! :shock: :D
Meeting all the chasers i did this year and being able to enjoy a beautiful storm with them. And during that time learn something new that will help me down the road.
HATE: Booked hotels during graduation week in Kansas.

PERK: A cheap hotel in a small town that is actually clean and has WIFI!

:lol: The Townsmen Hotel in Yates Center, KS. Good times Dan.

Here is another one...

HATE: A blue-sky bust 7 hours from home.

PERK: Filming 5 nerdy guys throw rocks at stop signs, coke bottles, and transformers for 2 hours.
Perk: Learning as much as possible on the chases. I learned more on a bust chase than I had up to that point in the books I'd read. The people I was chasing with were more than willing to explain anything that I couldn't quite grasp.

Perk: Riding with people you like, doing something you all love. I mean, what could be better than that?

I can't think of any cons right now, but if I do, I'll be back.


Leaving home, driving North-Northwest with a strong (warm air advection) wind at your back, which gives you great gas mileage.

And then returning home that night after the outflow boundary, cold front, or surface trough, which has caused winds to have a Northerly component, has passed giving you a wind at your back so you have a nice cruise to home.

Five words:

...and having the privelege to have officially added 1300' of twine to it, courtesy of the local curator of the twine.


Photo by Chris Kridler