Video evidence refutes claims of Kansas storm chaser problems

I started this blog post compiling a list of full-chase video timelapses and stream archives for outsiders and media to reference and observe actual storm chasing traffic. This is to directly refute the claims being made in negative news coverage and even some storm chasing circles.

http://stormhighway.com/blog2015/april2815a.php

I'm sure some critics can come up with a few isolated shots of chasers doing boneheaded/dangerous things - that is irrelevant. Show how those along with the traffic jams are widespread and/or normal, which is central to the critics' claims. I'm showing video of full chases, the least you can do if you're a critic is to post your full-day videos to support your claims.

I'm duplicating the video links here:

Dashcam, dome cam and GoPro time-lapses of Kansas chase events:

Bennington, Kansas tornado chase, front cam - May 28, 2013
Bennington, Kansas tornado chase, rear cam - May 28, 2013
Rozel, Kansas tornado chase part 1 - May 18, 2013
Rozel, Kansas tornado chase part 2 - May 18, 2013
April 23, 2014 Kansas chase timelapse


Timelapses from chases in other states:

Bowdle, SD chase timelapse - May 22, 2010
Laramie, WY chase timelapse - May 21, 2010


Full-chase live stream archives:

Source 1
(Daniel Shaw Youtube livestream archives)

Examples of (rare) heavy storm chaser traffic:

Deer Trail, Colorado - May 21, 2014
 
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Here's a gem. Nick Slone brought this video to my attention of a Barber County Sheriff yelling at chasers to pull farther off of the road along Highway 160 on April 8, 2015. It has been confirmed to me that this was what triggered at least one anti-chaser story from Wichita media where officials alleged major storm chaser problems and "chasers clogging roads". Nick also has images/video showing a mainly traffic-free Highway 160 during this time. There are other credible eyewitnesses present during this time as well, I'll let them chime in here if they choose.

I want to say that my intention here is not to bash law enforcement - most don't deserve to be broadbrushed the same way we as chasers are suffering with the Wichita coverage. I just want the truth to be out there in plain sight for all to see.

 
^^ "Here, let me stop in the middle of the highway to yell at you to get off the roadway farther and threaten you with jail because there is no other traffic or chasers in sight"
 
Clogging the road or not - it's illegal to be parked there, so wouldn't it make more sense to not park there in the first place? Does chasing exempt you from roadway laws if there's only a little bit of traffic versus a lot?
 
Pulling off the road in the middle of nowhere Kansas is illegal like going 5mph over the speed limit is illegal. Ticketable, sure. Worth the outrage we see in the articles? Hardly. Where is the article about roadside parkers on the 4th of July nationwide?
 
Give someone a badge and a gun and that power goes straight to the head

Such a shame that a few rogue cops give them all a bad name
Sound familiar?
 
My point is that now that you know this sheriff is supported by his constituents and will get you for 5mph over or parking on the road - why tempt fate in that county? Park legally and don't go 6mph over...
 
Ok, so maybe there has been an increase of people interested in chasing in recent years. However the way Dan presented it made it crystal clear chaser traffic is not a problem.

I wouldn't think they would ban it completely, maybe require you to have a license to do it; I really hope it doesn't come down to that though. Storm chasing is really no different then people who have boats to see whales or people who like to see trains.
 
What I would like to know is just what the hell is going on in a county where the biggest city has a population of 2,000 (Medicine Lodge) at 7 p.m on a Wednesday night? Just what problem was this extra chaser traffic causing? If this were rush hour in one of the bigger plains cities like OKC or Wichita and it was on a major highway, I might have just a little sympathy for their concern but this is ridiculous.
 

Here's our chase from June 3rd, 2013, including the Booker supercell. Almost zero chaser traffic, and hopefully no violations. We always pulled well off the roadway, and on the dirt roads there was pretty much zero traffic.
 
I was there in Medicine Lodge. While this video shows perhaps a poor example, the drivers here ARE breaking laws as rdale highlighted, but the likeliness of them causing an accident is relatively low I would surmise. This was taken at an "opportunistic" time, as the main pack of chaser traffic was further west here (you can see the headlights near the end.)

The traffic I experienced on hwy 281 and hwy 160 was pretty marginal compared to chases closer to larger metros and more "hyped' days, but it was still moderately inconveniencing for me, which would indicate it could present an inconvenience for LEOs. I also had the "joy" of experiencing the volunteer firefighter being a complete @sshole to people, then stopping in the middle of the road and hanging out of his window recording the storm. In this case, as in many, there can be blame/fault on both sides. That being said, the chaser community that was out and about that day seemed to me to be pretty dang well behaved sans a couple flashy light speeders/weavers. The worst of my experience was having to wait a couple minutes to make a turn east on hwy 160. Pretty "meh" overall.
 
I tend to agree that some cops abuse their power when enforcing traffic laws, but some chasers certainly don't help matters by engaging in borderline or fully illegal behavior, or by being douchebags about it during or after the fact. My biggest peeve is: why do so many chasers think they have the legal right to simply stop with their vehicle still halfway in the traffic lane just because there is no shoulder or insufficient room to get the vehicle all the way off the road? That's not the way it's supposed to work. If there's not enough room to get all the way out of the driving lane, don't stop there! Instead proceed down the road to the first location where you CAN get all the way off the road. You don't have the right to redefine traffic laws at your convenience just so you can get the same shot that 20 other people will end up getting. There are very few areas in chaser alley where you're not within a few hundred yards of a safe place to pull well off the road. Yet on every chase, including this year, I encounter people doing exactly that. That's the kind of behavior that is guaranteed to draw ire from LEOs everywhere, not just those in Kansas.
 
Very well stated Jeff. Also important to note that those rules don't stop existing on non-paved roads! I've had some pretty gnarly experiences on gravel.
 
Definitely, Jeff. Medicine Lodge is a good example of crappy roads for this year, but there are similar situations EVERY season. Bad roads and muddy, unusable shoulders are common, and the usable turnoffs are frequently already full of chasers. Nobody likes to drive away from a good photo, but stopping on the roadway is extremely poor practice and not only draws the ire of LEO, but of fellow chasers, too.
 
I cannot agree with Jeff more. If you, for some reason, cannot find a place to stop at least pull off onto a side road to park half in a lane.

Most places, especially down in Texas, you can easily just pull way off into the grass on the right-of-way. Even in my car I can do it, so you can too.
 
Looking at this video again - it appears to me that there is plenty of grass there, but even plenty of "side gravel" that negates the need to keep your front end in the roadway.
 
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