What do YOU consider a "BUST"?

Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
193
Location
South Carolina
To me, a bust is when I have a rotten time, wish I never went, and wasted my time! LOL I've drove over 25 hours, 2,000 miles on one chase before, and saw ONE SC...that was a bust. If I am chasing something that goes tornado-warned, my adrenaline is through the roof, then whether I see a tube or not isn't important..that is NOT a bust. Last weekend I was in Dumas, Arkansas 7 minutes after the tornado ripped through there. I didn't see it. What i DID see will last forever in my mind...this was NOT a bust..this was the most memorable chase ever. I'm wondering what do you all consider a bust?
 
A true bust in my book is when the cap does not break and you're sitting endlessly in the middle of nowhere...seeing locals come and go multiple times, and then try to explain to them that your waiting for the storm. The skies are completely clear and the chase outcome isn't. Then the sun sets and you see the atomic bomb supercell explode about 100 miles away. Now that my friend is a BUST !!! Yes I have experienced this sort of thing first hand, and hope that these become less frequent as I grow wiser as a seasoned chaser :cool:
 
Mild bust: See a good storm but am not in position to get the best shot or see a so-so storm within a short drive but capture a couple nice pics. Also arriving too late for the best show.

Moderate bust: Long drive see a so-so storm, short drive with nothing, or being totally out of position on a spectacular storm as to not be able to see anything special.

Big bust: Your long distance blue sky bust.

Thinking from the other perspective:

Poor chase: Nothing special to see

Fair chase: Seeing a so-so storm not terribly far from home

Good chase: Capturing a very photogenic storm without a huge drive or seeing a nice supercell with a long drive back.

Awesome chase: Photogenic supercell anywhere.

Incredible chase: Long-lived easlily chasable storms with tornadoes.
 
I don't wanna do too much calculations, but I rate a bust when I've travelled some miles and I'have not chased any kind of storm with a "good structure". When I speak of good structure I talk about at least a nice mesocyclone or a good squall line/bow echo shelf cloud or a storm with high wind or large hail;in sum I wanna say that I've to feel some good emotion when I chase..If not that's a bust to me.
 
there are 2 kinds of busts to me.

1. When you expect a big severe wx show and the lid holds and you get nothing but clear skies after sitting in the hot sun on the side of the road all day

2. Choosing the wrong target and missing the big show like I did 5-15-03 in the Tx panhandle. 27 tornados and I missed them all.
 
My qualification of a bust is simple. If I didn't get a storm. Doesn't matter what kind of storm, as long as I get one. I find something cool in every storm I see and every single storm is different from the next. So for me, it's a bust if I didn't get a storm at all.
 
I agree with Mr. Drummond that as long as a storm has a little lightning and something to observe in your target environment than you have eluded a bust.

An exmaple would be March 1st, after a line of stroms briefly went severe in Central Illinois they quickly decayed (undercut by the colt front) I casually drove south to intercept a 50MPH shower. What's important is the picture that I got of elevated convection over a snow covered hill which made the 30 mile trip worthwhile.
 
A true bust in my book is when the cap does not break and you're sitting endlessly in the middle of nowhere...seeing locals come and go multiple times, and then try to explain to them that your waiting for the storm. The skies are completely clear and the chase outcome isn't. Then the sun sets and you see the atomic bomb supercell explode about 100 miles away. Now that my friend is a BUST !!! Yes I have experienced this sort of thing first hand, and hope that these become less frequent as I grow wiser as a seasoned chaser :cool:


well said dude
 
Some friends and I left from Norman at 3pm on wednesday because of class. We saw some cumulus clouds around OKC and to the north, but by the time we got to Tulsa the skies cleared and it got dark. We were way too far south to get to the storm in Kansas and just ended up turning around. That was the worst bust I have had so far. There was one time in southwest Oklahoma where there was a stratus deck and nothing got started, but at least then a squall line came in from Texas and we got windgusts, rain and hail. Therefore, I would have to say a bust is when nothing happens. Maybe I havent seen enough storms yet, but i still appreciate at least being in one even if it isn't tornadic. One time we caught some amazing supercells about 40 miles away with overshooting tops. We couldnt get to them, but I still loved watching them.
 
For me, a bust is, if powerful thunderclouds are approaching, but are no longer thunderstorms when they finally arrive. One such case was in 20 August 2006 when I expected some significant thunderstorms from significant clouds within 3 hours(3 PM to 6 PM), but the result was that my rainfall gauge remained dry that day and nothing spectacular went over the village(except some vicious clouds).
 
I like to think that there are no busts (often some extreme disappointments) but not busts. It seems that even on bust days I learn an awful lot, sometimes more then on successful chases, so its hard to term them busts. I think I would much rather experience a bust/disappointment then not getting out in the field at all and wondering what I am missing or might miss even if it ends up to be nothing.
 
A bust is simply not seeing what you expected and/or wanted to see. The higher your expectations, the more significant the bust. Lesser expectations means lesser busting.

Busting is part of the cost of seeing good storms/tornadoes/lightning or whatever you want to see on a chase. It's just like filling up the gas tank. Fuel is an accepted cost - and busting should be the same way. A bust is not a failure, it is a neccessary experience in the process of reaching your personal storm observation goals. No chaser would see anything if they didn't bust, because that means they're not out chasing.
 
A BUST: Not being able to chase on a potential chase day.

NON BUST: Rolling down the window and breathing in the fresh spring air on the way to my target area.
 
I'd go even further and break busting down into soft and hard categories:

Soft: able to witness or photograph a distant Cb and still have some dignity left at the end of the day
Hard: nothing observed and you begin questioning life in general!
 
To me, a bust is missing your storm for whatever reason, whether it's because of a bad forecast, a navigating error, an error in judgement, or just being lazy and not even trying to go for it (yep, I've been guilty of all the above).
 
In terms of bustiness:

chase did not meet expectations < blue skies cap bust < missed-the-tornado-by-a-few-minutes-bust < did not chase

My expectations increase the more I chase, and as a result my definition of a did not meet expectations bust broadens.
 
Considering I live in the Northwest and dont experience Midwest chase type storms, a typical bust for myself is seeing the SPC list my area as a Slight risk, then a MD posted for a possible watch and the skies remained clear all day with no action whatsoever.

Seeing thunderstorm clouds at a distance, Getting a weak thunderstorm, seeing a lightning bolt, getting weather photos (severe or not) are all Good chase material for myself. I take anything that comes my way.

-gerrit
 
For me, when I was in Oklahoma and Texas, a bust was if I go out and instead of seeing anything with rotation (doesn't necessarily have to be a tornado though) I either see blue sky (cap bust) or a linear grunge fest. The reason for this is because I could see plenty of "normal" convection (ie the linear stuff) just by staying home. However, I may have to lower my standards here a bit in Asheville. It seems like these days I am happy to hear thunder haha.
 
I'm along a lines similar to Chris R in terms of busting... I catagorize it pending on the miles I drive, the expected forecast, what I saw, etc.

A major bust is something similar to May 24, 2004 where I missed every single tornado that day, some by minutes.

To be a bust, usually I need to see crap for anything. Usually I'm happy if I can get some good hail, flooding, lightning, winds, or whatever. But yeah, it varies pending any number of circumstances.
 
Good day all,

I consider a bust simply as NOT GETTING WHAT YOU SET OUT FOR.

If you are looking for a tornado, and do not get one, that's a bust. Even is a beautiful supercell forms but does not produce a tornado, it's a bust (but only if you are looking for JUST a tornado). People looking for beautiful supercell structure would NOT even think of it as a bust, even though the tornado-only chaser would call it so.

I consider any chase which dishes out any fruitful events a success, and not a bust. I look for, ofcourse, tornadoes - but also appreciate lightning, structure, hail, wind, flooding, etc just as well. It also rewards my forecasting and driving (target area) efforts.

I consider a cap holding strong - and NOTHING happening, and being too far / stuck from a good storm a bust. Besides a cap, traffic jams are excellent bust-makers, especially road costruction (example: the I-70 syndrome), given you are unfortunate to be stuck in them on a chase.

Also, a bust can be "softened" by trying to think up any consolation the chase day may bring (example: "we did not see a tornado, but at least we had a rotating wall cloud and mothership storm").

Dodging the subject of storm chasing, an obcessive passion - A person trying to meet a beautiful Asian woman (who is a fanatic / fond of Asian women) and the woman slaps him on the face just for offering to buy a drink with the "not interested" BS will have the exact same gut-wrenching feeling of a person who was stuck in traffic and saw what he missed on the evening news and / or the playback of the event at a chaser convergance afterwards!!

My thoughts...
 
I'm pretty surprised to see so many chasers have so many different definitions for a "bust". IMO, if you go storm chasing, regardless of the actual distance traveled, and do not see a thunderstorm, then it's a bust. I'm talking about surface based convection that you actually expected.

My personal favorites are the "clear sky busts" as I'm sure many chasers can relate to. That way at least you've got a nice sunset over the plains, as apposed to maybe overcast or something depressing like that.

Happy chasing or bust.
 
I live in MI, and for the past few years I've been setting off towards the plains whenever an active period is forecasted (i.e. 6/3/05-6/12/05, 3/29/06-4/2/06) and my "standards" are just a tad higher given that I typically have to spend the most money and drive the most miles in order to chase the "traditional" setup. Consequently, I guess my idea of classic bust days would days like 10/22/04, 5/7/05, 6/4/05, and most days in May 2006. Yes, I'd have to say most... I typically have to drive a thousand miles in order to even reach the dryline, ergo, I often like to see convection in a form I couldn't see it in my home state -- e.g. classic, photogenic supercells, which 2006 didn't bring in May or June. Instead, it brung it on several days in the late summer, when I was left flat broke.

To break it down, a bust to me is both the classic "cap" bust and elevated or non-photogenic high-based crap. When chasing, I expect and pine for storms with sustained surface-based inflow.
 
I live in MI, and for the past few years I've been setting off towards the plains whenever an active period is forecasted (i.e. 6/3/05-6/12/05, 3/29/06-4/2/06) and my "standards" are just a tad higher given that I typically have to spend the most money and drive the most miles in order to chase the "traditional" setup. Consequently, I guess my idea of classic bust days would days like 10/22/04, 5/7/05, 6/4/05, and most days in May 2006. Yes, I'd have to say most... I typically have to drive a thousand miles in order to even reach the dryline, ergo, I often like to see convection in a form I couldn't see it in my home state -- e.g. classic, photogenic supercells, which 2006 didn't bring in May or June. Instead, it brung it on several days in the late summer, when I was left flat broke.

To break it down, a bust to me is both the classic "cap" bust and elevated or non-photogenic high-based crap. When chasing, I expect and pine for storms with sustained surface-based inflow.

Using Chris' equation, ( Bust = (Distance from home)^(Cost of gas) / severity of weather observed at chaser's location(s) ), you'll have to see several +EF4's in order to break even (given your distance) LOL

Since my chases are usually local and the distance variable is small, I suppose I can get away with elevated junk and a few puffs of +45MPH that Michigan often provides.

I probably won't be able to make it very far this year (if at all), I've got a lot of "issues" going on with the family that takes priority.
 
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