Who Has What It Takes to be a Storm Chaser?

A powerful storm system with multiple lightning strikes arcing down away from it towards the ground

If you’ve ever wondered about becoming a storm chaser, you might be curious about how to get started. After all, it’s a complicated and dangerous pursuit that could carry deadly consequences if not done correctly.

So, what does it take to be a storm chaser? Read on to find out!

The Most Dangerous Chase

There’s a reason that so few people are actually storm chasers: it’s dangerous, it’s difficult and it’s often quite thankless. While there are some full-time storm chasers employed by weather services and universities, most of them are meteorologists with training and deep knowledge of how to safely pursue the biggest storms.

In the event of a tornado or other powerful storm in your area, it is strongly advised that you take shelter and stay far from the storm’s path. If it passes over your home, you should get to the lowest floor, as far from all windows as you can, and take cover until the storm passes. It’s hard to stress how dangerous tornadoes can be to your safety and well-being.

It’s Never Really “Safe”

Tim Samaras, one of the most well-regarded storm chasers of all time, was killed in 2013. He was chasing a storm to acquire more meteorological data in order to better predict future tornadoes. His son, Paul, and their friend and colleague, Carl Young, were both also killed in the incident.

If anyone on Earth knew how to keep up with a storm and the best ways to stay clear of harm’s way, it was Tim Samaras. His son and colleague were both accomplished storm chasers in their own right, so for all three of them to have been killed by a tornado is a clear indicator that the profession of chasing itself is never truly “safe.”

So, Who Has What it Takes to be a Storm Chaser?

If storm chasing isn’t safe even for the most veteran meteorologists and climate scientists, then who is right for the job? In truth, storm chasing is an extreme endeavor that should not be pursued by amateurs. However, there are many people with the determination, knowledge and skill to excel in the field while hot on the heels of the next big storm.

We urge anyone without the right training or equipment to leave storm chasing to the pros. After all, getting some cool footage of a tornado is hardly worth risking your life over.

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Jeremy Liu
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Jeremy Liu

Jeremy Liu has always been fascinated by extreme weather—but he prefers to write about the world’s deadliest storms from the safety and comfort of his home office. He’s much less likely to get hit with a flying cow that way. (And yes, Jeremy’s favorite movie is Twister.)

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Jeremy Liu Written by Jeremy Liu