Thinking About Going Storm Chasing? Forget About It: Today, It's Too Dangerous

A serious threat exists Monday for any storm chaser, experienced or inexperienced


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Today's risk of severe weather features a "high risk" category up toward Wichita Falls, Childress and much of Oklahoma.

This is the first high risk since 2017. In this area, long-track, violent tornadoes are possible.

If that wasn't bad enough, there's also likely to be gridlock on many of the rural roads due to all the storm chasers wanting to take a look.

Believe it or not, the temptation for many weather enthusiasts and photographers is to go storm chasing right into the heart of this area. In fact, this type of setup is liable to bring out several hundred chase vehicles — professional and amateur — to the highlighted area. In the chase community, it's referred to as "chaser convergence."

What makes chaser convergence particularly dangerous on a day like today is because the "target area" is relatively small and compact. This means everyone converges on the same spot, essentially

You get inexperienced chasers into the mix that don't know what they're doing. They try to get up close and personal to tornadoes, which is flat-out stupid.

On a day like today, even for trained professionals, storm chasing is dangerous. The threat for tornadoes, combined with wet roads and a risk of flooding, gets even more dicey when roads are restricted with all the extra chase traffic.

While I certainly understand and admire the love for weather photography, today is not the day to head out for an amateur. Even for the professionals, it poses a serious threat.

Congestion on the roads in the middle of a tornado warning is a scary, dangerous thing. In this case, it's 100% preventable. If you're a weather enthusiast, there are better opportunities to go chasing. For example, when the target zone is more spread out geographically and not a high risk.

So, leave today to the professionals and official National Weather Service spotters. They are doing it to keep the public safe. They have studied these storms and know to respect them at a safe distance. After all, no picture or video is worth your life. 

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Before the Storm
Weather Safety
Stay Safe During a Hail Storm
 
At Home?
  • Head indoors immediately
  • If time allows, close all drapes, blinds or shades to prevent broken glass from entering your home.
  • Stay away from windows and skylights (any exterior glass) and head to a safe location inside your home, ideally only with interior walls.
Outdoors?
  • Cover your head and seek shelter indoors immediately.
  • If you are trapped outside, get to a low-lying area and try to protect your head. Use clothing if it's all you have.
Driving?
  • Stay inside your vehicle.
  • Slow down or pull over and stop at a safe location. DO NOT stop under a highway overpass. You may be protecting your vehicle, but you could be forcing other people to stop behind you.
  • Turn your back to windows or cover yourself with a blanket, coat or spare clothing to protect yourself from breaking glass.
  • If you have a sunroof, try to find something to protect your head.

 

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