Storm chasing has never been more popular. Enthusiasts who are deeply interested in tornadoes and severe storms are cropping up everywhere. It’s fantastic to see so much growth in the community.
More people getting involved means more information being discovered, more professional and working relationships being formed and strengthened, and more excitement for the chase. Chasing storms doesn’t have to be a very dangerous activity if you always practice good safety precautions.
Deaths in this field are actually pretty rare, but with the increasing number of enthusiasts, it’s important to always keep some basic rules like these to keep yourself and your crew safe.
Don’t chase storms alone. In fact, it’s a good idea to enlist a driver who isn’t passionate about storms, and will be able to focus solely on the road. Always watch for standing water, which is prevalent around storms.
Don’t chase in the city, it’s too risky. And never drive above the speed limit! It’s worth missing some of the storm to save your life.
Be extra cautious around lightning
If you’re chasing storms, chances are good you will be around lightning pretty often. So far we have not lost a chaser to a lightning strike, but don’t be the first! If any cloud-to-ground lightning strikes within a mile of your crew, find shelter immediately.
Your vehicle will suffice! Remember that lightning can strike the ground even outside the area of precipitation.
Don’t “core punch” storms
For the unfamiliar, “core punching” is when you drive directly through the “core” of the storm with the heaviest precipitation with the purpose of getting a good position. To be blunt, core punching is the last resort of a loser! But even more importantly, it’s wildly unsafe.
The consequences of doing this range from your car getting damage from hail, to accidentally driving directly into a tornado. So don’t do it! Also, watch for and avoid rotating wall clouds.
When you find a good and safe position to view a storm, frequently check in all directions and never fixate on one area.