Some of us have seen the scene from the move “Twister” where the crew is driving through a field. Unfortunately, that same scene plays out in “tornado alley,” an area of the United States known for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Driving through one’s field is considered trespassing. Farmers probably don’t appreciate a bunch of storm chasers ruining their crops. Crops are a farmer’s livelihood. When I chase and document storms, I stay on public lands. Examples are state game lands and/or state parks. I sometimes pull off the side of the road if space permits to view a storm. I try to put myself in the property owners shoes. If I saw a suspicious vehicle on my land and someone taking pictures, I would be livid.
Lately, I have been reading about storm chasers disobeying traffic laws. I have read chasers blowing through stop signs and chasers speeding to get the best shots of the storm. I never chased in “tornado alley” but I have read about chaser convergence. Advances in technology such as mobile internet and smart phones have enabled everybody and their mother to chase storms. I have read about traffic jams on rural roads. It seems like some storm chasers have no regards for their safety or other’s safety. They just want to get the best shot. Sadly, 3 storms lost their lives on March 28, 2017 as a result of a traffic accident. The accident was not storm related. It is only a matter of time before an innocent motorist who is trying to get home to their loved ones or an innocent family is killed by some chaser breaking the law.
My Feniex light bar and my storm spotter certificate DOES NOT give my any special privileges. It does not give me permission to break the law or block roads or intersections. My light bar is used so other motorists can see me when I am pulled off the road safely. I am the same as everybody else on the road.
As a storm chaser, I am respectful of other’s property and I obey the traffic laws. I don’t want to be a victim and I don’t want to hurt others. No storm is worth it. Everybody stay safe this season.
Pulled off at the East Brady Overlook in Clarion County, PA watching a storm.
Observing a storm at State Game Lands 95 in northern Butler County.