Storm Chasing: Faced with Tragedy, Will Chase On

By now, many have heard or seen the toll on storm chasers from the El Reno, Oklahoma, tornado on May 31, 2013.  Tim Samaras, a longtime veteran researcher and chaser, was killed along with his son, Paul, and his chase partner, Carl Young.  Mike Bettes and the Weather Channel crew were rolled off the highway and lucky to escape with minor injuries.  Brandon Sullivan was whacked with debris and barely escaped.  Reed Timmer’s supposedly untouchable “Dominator” lost its hood.  Veterans and rookies, cautious chasers and hot doggers, all in harm’s way.  (There are links aplenty on some of those near misses, but I refuse to add to the YouTube hits by linking them here.)

Why do we chase at all?  What is the benefit, and is it worth the cost?

I have a lot of emotions right now that range from disgust to rage to sadness to shock.  I also still have the feelings of awe and inspiration, which I will reserve for another blog on another day.  Right now, a lot of people are questioning those of us who seek out storms, and I want to take a moment to share my concerns as well as my defense of this strange hobby.

Not all chasers are alike.  There are a few categories, with varying amounts of risk among those in each category.  Research teams, like Samaras’s TWISTEX and the VORTEX2 campaign, spread out to collect data on storms from ranges of miles away to the deploying of instruments within the expected path.  Pseudo-celebrity chasers like Reed Timmer and Sean Casey have made a career of bigger/faster/closer encounters that are made for TV drama and entertainment.  Reed Timmer copycats stream toward the core of tornadic storms, cameras pointed inward toward their own faces as well as outward toward tornado destruction, looking for YouTube gold.  Meteorologists stream in to capture development and structure, and a glimpse of a possible tornado, for the sake of reporting as well as understanding storms.  Some chasers simply feel the call of nature, much like someone who scales rock faces or skis off trail, to get as close to nature’s beauty and power as possible.

Some chasers plaster their cars with logos and lights, their goals to see tornadoes evident in bright colors and in-your-face graphics.  Others chase in nondescript cars, hoping to evade the appearance of a spectacle.  Some are extraverts who love to engage locals who have questions, while others prefer to shy away from interaction and focus inward.  Some of us hate the label “storm chaser”, while others embrace it.  Chasers are no more of a homogenous group than rock climbers, skiers, or any other hobbyists/enthusiasts.

Some chasers take too many risks and get too close, to the derision of the chasers who prefer to keep their encounters more low-key.  The consequences of such risks had not been truly felt by anyone among chasers.  Until May 31, nobody had paid a price worse than minor injuries, car damage, and pride.  On June 1, that world changed.  And I am angry, and sad, and shocked.

It is indeed possible to pursue storms, photograph them, appreciate their majesty and power, and remain relatively safe – in the same way that it is possible to climb rocks and mountains relatively safely.  But chasing a powerful storm is inherently risky, as are many encounters on the fringe of nature.  It’s rare that the tornado itself is the biggest hazard.  I worry as much or more about impediments like lightning, flooded roads, hail, strong non-tornadic winds, and other cars on the road (chasers and locals alike).  In recent years, that last one has become a bigger concern than all the rest, as roads near storms are now often congested with a dangerous mix of chasers making illegal and unsafe maneuvers to get closer, locals puttering around with their dogs in the back of the truck and their kids hanging out the windows to see what the fuss is all about, and inexperienced chasers who stop on the road, stand on the road, leave their car doors open, and otherwise create obstacles.

Count me among those who turn a nose up at the bigger/better/faster chasers among us.  I’ve seen dangerous behavior increasing with my own eyes over the last several years.  I don’t know what, exactly, has caused it – perhaps people have lost their healthy fear of storms due to saturation of videos of close encounters.  Perhaps too many kids and thrill-seekers are attempting to chase unguided, without experience or education to help them.  All I know is that it was going to reach a breaking point someday.  We all assumed it would be when one of those kids got killed.  Who would have ever thought that the first chaser fatality would include one of the best?

Tim Samaras’s work was dangerous, but it was a calculated risk.  His mission was to deploy instrument probes in the path of a tornado, then get out of the way while it hit the probes and collect them afterwards.  If this sounds a little like Twister, then you’re actually not too far off.  Getting in front of a tornado is always, always risky.  It requires planning escape routes in all directions, and it requires anticipating the storm’s movement.  Disruption to either of those could be, and was, deadly.  His death is stunning and saddening because he has been in those positions before and did not pay such a price. What was it about this tornado that his experience could not escape?

The close encounters of Mike Bettes and Brandon Sullivan were less defensible, because they did not involve research.  They were for the purposes of selling coverage to gain viewers and getting video for personal attention, respectively.  (And if either of them argues they were there to spot storms or to take pictures or for public safety, I will argue right back that an in-vehicle inward pointed camera on their faces has nothing to do with public safety or storm photography.)  They were in terrible positions even for a tornado whose path wasn’t as unusual as the El Reno tornado, and in both cases, it caught up to them.  I’ll believe the apologies and mea culpa when I see changes in actions in subsequent chases this year and next year.  Their highly visible recklessness makes me angry.

We were one of the dots on the map, one of the chaser teams around that storm.  Why am I even there, with such a danger around me?  How can I defend being a chaser?

Chasing began for me back in the late 1990s, when I spent a summer in Oklahoma and met a person who had experience chasing and could take me.  (That person is now my husband and always my favorite chase partner.)  The magic of seeing a storm from birth through maturity and to demise is humbling, breathtaking, and transcendental in the same way that many awesome experiences in nature can move the spirit.  Additionally, seeing storms with my own eyes makes me understand them better.  As a meteorologist and a forecaster, it makes me better at my job to understand storm behavior, to see a storm that is in a volatile environment but can’t get its act together enough to produce a tornado, while others drop tornadoes even when some ingredients seem to be lacking.  I can understand and talk to storm spotters about what they’re seeing, because I’ve seen the same features with my own eyes.  I can see a storm on radar and have a clear idea of what it probably looks like from the ground, and I can understand how the same storm can look very different to observers from different angles.  We relay our reports to NWS, and we do our very best to stay out of harm’s way.

I’ve never been so close to a tornado that I found myself in its damage path, in a position to provide assistance rather than chase on.  I’ve never had a tornado bearing down on me and not known where I would turn.  But I’m also not error-free.  We drove way too close to the back side of a rain-wrapped tornado just on this year’s chase trip, though the combination of what radar told us and what our eyes and gut told us were enough to turn us around before we drove into harm.  We’ve had lightning hit within a mile of our car while still taking pictures, prompting a fast dive into the car for the rest of the chase.  Our car has been rocked by strong rear-flank downdraft winds that wrap around behind and to the south of tornadoes and strong supercells.  We’ve been pelted by up to tennis ball size hail when we drove into a storm that we thought was weakening at the end of a chase day.

In short, we take calculated risks, too.  Our behavior during chasing is on the low end of the risk scale, with our worst offense probably some of the speeding we’ve done to get to a storm target, rather than anything near the storm itself.  You won’t find insane video of houses being torn apart among our reels because we’re usually not close enough, and if we are, we’re driving too hard to get away.  I’ve learned that Nature doesn’t care if I want to see a storm, or where… that storm will develop or not develop, a tornado will or won’t form and hit things, and it has nothing to do with me.  All I can do is maybe be in a position to watch it and learn from it.

We will continue to chase, though perhaps not within a county of a major metro like Oklahoma City.  The communion with Nature is not lessened, even now.  If anything, I need to get back out there even more now.  I want to see the majesty of supercell genesis and remember that it is still as humbling as ever.

Above:  The El Reno tornado, May 31, 2013.  Photo copyright Barbara Boustead.

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48 Responses to Storm Chasing: Faced with Tragedy, Will Chase On

  1. Gene David Rhoden says:

    Barb, I have to say that this is one of the most well written and balanced commentaries that I have read in quite a while. You’ve managed to express in honorable form some of the feelings of sadness, turmoil, and anger that I’m feeling right now and I very much appreciate that. Storm chasing is currently spiraling out of control in an adrenaline laced gold rush of sorts …. All for what? 15 minutes of perhaps “fame” and fortune. It is simply not worth the risk. It has forced me to take a very low profile on something I have dearly loved for over 35 years. I just wanted say thanks for expressing your level headed opinions. They very much mirror mine.

    Regarding Tim Samaras and crew …. I chased with Tim and the early Nat Geo project. They were the epitome of safety and responsibility …. But to a point. They accepted a very well calculated risk. The bottom line is though, if you routinely get extremely close to violent storms, eventually you will make a mistake. The closer you are to the danger means the less time you have to try to recover from that mistake. In short, eventually, if you do it enough times, it will bite you in the butt…. No matter how experienced you are. It could have happened to any of us.

  2. Mathew Powers says:

    Wow, that is one terrifically written, and argued, piece. Wonderfully put .. kudos!!!!

  3. Sharon R. says:

    Very well put! I would like to share this on FB later. I have seen a 19-20 year old go out and try to chase in a rag-top jeep, and just cringed! Thank you.

  4. John Dissauer says:

    Fantastically written. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  5. Rich Thompson says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write this, Barb. I’m sure there are many who will echo your sentiments. The most humbling and unnerving part of the El Reno tornado is it really could (and almost did) happen to any of us (myself included). Perhaps tornadoes aren’t respected as much as they used to be within the chase community, given the proliferation of EXTREME/INSANE!!!! videos that have become commonplace.

  6. David M. Kesinger says:

    Storm chasing, like watching the Blue Angels, or the Thunderbirds provides entertainment at possibly a high cost. Is it necessary? No. Can machines do the same thing at no risk to human life? Yes. Why bother? Because Man likes an adrenaline rush. So, get high, be stupid.

    • Lisa Beal says:

      David, I think you missed the point.

      Also, we do not currently have machines that can replace trained observers for establishing ‘ground truth’: that storms are actually doing (on the ground) what our bests instruments looking miles above the ground suggest may be happening. Go read about this; you may change you mind once you know more facts.

  7. Sheila Howard says:

    Very well written and easily incorporated all of our feelings today. My son is a chaser and I worry every time he leaves the house but I know safety is his number one priority. He was caught in the El Reno tornado as well and when they realized the storm had shifted they retreated and tried to stop people from driving into the storm. Some listened some did not. He was friends with Tim and Tim was one of his mentors. He told me today, “Mom I will keep chasing and trying to understand why it shifted and what we can do to keep it from happening again. That is what Tim and his team would have wanted.” I agree 100%, Tim and his team would not want the chaser community to quit doing what they do, providing the early warnings because of him.

  8. Shannon Key says:

    I agree with the previous comments. This was a wonderful piece, thank you.

  9. Mike Estwick says:


    Hats off to you getting your point across without the rancor and slant that some accept as credible, constructive feedback. With respect to Tim, though I do not know a lot about him, the coverage I have seen and the fact that chasers in three states coordinated an initials formation for him, his son and chase teammate speaks volumes to their reputation and the respect they earned.

    Regarding Mike Bettes and his TWC group, TWC has, sadly, become not much more than made for TV weather now, basically the “nuke-a-meal” of weather coverage for the the most part. I absolutely do not wish ill on Mr. Bettes or anyone else who chases for whatever the reason or motivation, and I am glad that only one of his crew required hospitalization. I am sure that TWC has many fine meteorologists and forecasters that work hard at improving their craft and the science, though you don’t see that too much, as that kind of thing doesn’t pull ratings. That being said, if you venture that close to a storm, you’ll get what’s coming to you eventually. It doesn’t care why you’re there.

    Lastly, I hope that some good can come of this, and I don’t mean regulating or policing chasing. This community has done reasonably well for the most part with self-policing. Non-scientists or non-weather savvy people would likely make rules that are illogical and put people in more jeopardy. This wake-up call could serve well to remind us all that even for the experienced, sometimes knowledge gathering or thrill seeking comes with a steep price tag. If you aren’t prepared to pay the bill, do your thing as a chaser from safety and give Nature a wide berth.


  10. Dan Draper says:

    Couldn’t have said it better. Very good blog!

  11. Dennis Sherrod says:

    You have written and stated a wonderful piece on this ongoing and developing situation. You have stated about the glory chasers, attention seekers, and the real professionals in a way that few, definitely including myself, have not properly stated . Your perspective in dead on the money with what several of us feel now-a-days.
    Thank you.

  12. Pingback: Living with tornadoes in Central Oklahoma - Page 2

  13. TJ Malone says:

    Well said. Thanks for writing this.

  14. I love this entire article so much. In your 8th paragraph you discuss the increase of danger and recklessness that has occurred over the last several years. I will agree that I think that it has to do with the desensitization over the last several years thanks to YouTube and TWC, however another factor I think has become the easier access to technology on mobile devices/tablets. With radar composite reflectivity and velocities available at our fingertips (almost) 100% of the time, I think people feel that they can take more risks because they always know what is going on around them. However, clearly the storms have no regard for technology and this is no excuse. Once again, great read!

  15. Lori Romero says:

    Indeed – very well said!

  16. I am speechless, this is a wonderful piece with compelling arguments that I have believed for some time now. As a media storm tracker (I do not like being called a chaser) I have long believed many of your views and I thank you for writing such a moving piece…well said.

  17. Thanks for this excellent and very well written piece; it’s the best thing I’ve see on this sad day. I met Tim a couple times at the Chaser convention and waved at one of his trucks when I passed it out in Rozel, Kansas a couple weeks ago. Tim was and continues to be an inspiration, and I, like you, continue to be humbled and awed by–while also drawn to–the power of nature.

  18. Bob James says:

    A very well-written post. Thank you Barbara for aiming to be the voice of reason in this war of words going on in the storm chasing and spotting “community.” (Emphasis put on the quotation marks.)

  19. Steve Lansdell says:

    Thank you for a level headed and mature piece of writing that helps us all.

  20. John Moore says:

    Very well said. Thank you for this well reasoned post. I think most of us who have chased for years have had close encounters, even with a careful chase style.

    But as you said, who would have thought that the first fatality would be one of our best, instead of the yahoos who dash into the storms without knowing anything other than how to stream video. How sad and ironic.

  21. Glyn McManus says:

    Wonderful write up. Thank you for sharing!

  22. Pingback: A great take on where storm chasing is today…

  23. Matthew Biddle says:

    Thank you for writing this! With what has happened — the deaths of Tim, Paul, and Carl — and my aphasia (which is increased when I am nervous), I struggle to write. And I have a PhD. I do not know how many tornadoes I have seen (150+). I was here doing it in 1987. I gravitated to science-based chasing (even though I had an El Camino with stickers on it). I am trained in emergency management out the wazoo. I was in VORTEX and drove for Tim for two years and when in a caravan with him many times.

    But you said all there is to say about the chasers that chase to get video of the biggest tornado. They — I will not say who — is launching rockets into them instead of doing real science like Tim did. I do not know why Tim was killed yet, even though Rich and a few others posted that the tornado(es) which were bizarre to say the least.

    Tim, Carl and Paul will be missed by the scientific community. I feel bad for Tim’s wife and daughter. I do not know Carl’s family. I guess he lives in CA. Paul is a recent addition to Tim’s life. He was 24 and I did not know him.

    • Matthew Biddle says:

      I misspoke a long time ago. Paul is NOT a recent addition to Tim’s life. I was mistaken. Paul was raised by Tim and his wife and I was confused about Paul’s half-brother, which was not on the trip. I appologize for this.


  24. Stonie Cooper says:

    Barb – I believe you have just reiterated the common theories of the evolution of dangerous hobbies as they invade the American psych. When I first ventured forth in 1985, it wasn’t called chasing, and the number of active participants was pretty small. It took five years before I actually “stumbled” across another chaser. The acceleration in interest was really noted when the less than talented Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton graced movie theaters with the monstrosity known as “Twister”. Each succeeding year following showed more and more “yahoo-ism” on the roads, and folks liked myself spent more time forecasting marginal events to avoid the likes of newcomers and yahoos focusing on moderate and high risk days.

    In the end, this will not be the last fatality of a “chaser” – it certainly was not the first. A chaser was killed in recent years in a deer-car accident following a chase day. Tim’s accident was unfortunate, but what is even more unfortunate is the idea that chasing somehow furthers the “science”. You need to call it what it is – thrill seeking. It is no different than the analogies you had already provided – rock climbing or snow skiing. As I participant in VORTEX (the original), the data collected with even our seemingly primitive technology was so vast that it still has not completely been examined – 15 years later. And the findings continually refine what is already known, but rarely find anything “new”.

  25. Angela Pittman-Oefelein says:

    Well put. Thank you for reading my mind.

  26. Pat Morrow says:

    Hi Barb,

    Very well written article. You’ve brought up some points that I’ve thought have been issues that were going to cause some sort of tragedy for a few years now. Unfortunately they finally did. I take a little different stance with you on one point but if you look at it, we actually agree in principle, that point is what you said about “YouTube gold”. I like to look at it from the prospective that some of these glory chasers are more like the paparazzi, chasing the “money shot” for acclaim and money both, principally, they are doing the same thing that the paparazzi does, going after the shot with little concern for their own safety or that of others. Sometimes it works and the footage is great and never seen before, other times, it turns tragic like we had in Oklahoma.

    I’m not saying that either of these crews were doing this, I know that there is a little more involved in putting together a chase, somewhere some obvious safety decisions were not made correctly. I just think that if these incentives were not there, chasing would be safer.

    I will say that I can relate with you on the reasons you chase, I’ve been in the management role of our local Skywarn group for 22 years now and have thought about giving it up several times, but the “thrill of the net control hot seat”, being involved with my spotters and the thought of helping my community keeps me here.

  27. Jeff Passner says:

    Like everyone else says: Very nice job here… Nothing will stop chasing and it might even get worse given the publicity it is getting by the media. Sadly, in our society “death sells” papers and improves ratings on TV. The media glorifies death. Hurricane “Sandy” probably gave the TV news stations some of their best ratings ever. It is a sickness in society… We fear death so much that we make it the focus of our lives. While that point is away from the above article it speaks the truth about the media’s role in all of this… They will do anything to make you watch and in the modern world watching in person is even better. The number of chasers will grow…

  28. Mark Yoder says:

    Best commentary so far!

  29. Dear Barb,
    Fascinating piece on storm chasing. You’ve done a great job of answering the question of “why you chase” with heartfelt emotion and compassion. Your story is exactly what I’m trying to capture in a TV segment I’m producing for *tomorrow* Tuesday morning for our cable news broadcast “Arise America.” In honor of the Oklahoma storm chasers who perished last week in the field, we’d like to talk you about the life of a storm chaser – exactly what you put forward in your blog.
    The segment would discuss:
    – What motivates storm chasers?
    – What’s the difference between the thrill seeker and the scientist?

    Thanks in advance for you time and I hope we can discuss this opportunity.

  30. Ryan Witkos says:

    Barbara, thank you for sharing such a personal and professional examination of storm chasing. Your points about the different types of chasers were spot-on. I was very disappointed in how Tim and his team were portrayed as “thrill seekers” (Today Show 7:35am segment.) Someone please tell Al, “My job is to announce weather and not predict it”, Roker this comment:

    “The close encounters of Mike Bettes and Brandon Sullivan were less defensible, because they did not involve research. They were for the purposes of selling coverage to gain viewers and getting video for personal attention, respectively. (And if either of them argues they were there to spot storms or to take pictures or for public safety, I will argue right back that an in-vehicle inward pointed camera on their faces has nothing to do with public safety or storm photography.)”

    Rest in peace Tim, Paul, and Carl and thank you for your work.

  31. Paula says:

    Well said Barb! I have felt this for several years. You see, my first chase was on a whim, back in 1978, living in Scott City Kansas in the middle of nowhere and the storm was a county away, but I thought I might be able to see something from a distance, so I went out. Never caught up to it, but I stayed out and did end up seeing a very small tornado that would now be classified EF0, as all it did was touch down and picked up a tractor and tossed it into the ditch and lifted. But, I was hooked.
    I must say that I never in all the years that I did chase get closer to a storm than 3-4 miles away, and I always made sure I had 2-3 escape routes. That said, my last storm chase was the Mulvane tornado in Kansas several years ago. Why, because the roads were so clogged with people out gawking or trying to get a picture that my escape routes got compromised. That night scared the crap out of me and I have not chased since. I was not a meteorologist, but I was trained and took yearly training during all of the years that I chased. I knew what I was doing. I was out there to be a spotter/chaser and that was it. Of all of the tornados that I saw, the only one that I ever got a picture of was that very first tornado back in 1978.
    The deaths of Paul, Carl and Tim(whom I did run across many times in the early 90’s), breaks my heart. Tim was a great scientist/researcher and will be missed greatly. His team were all very professional. I send my prayers to all of their family.

    That being said, I knew when we started to see chasing on TV, that the result would turn it into a sideshow/thrill seeking/see if I can get famous activity. The past couple of generations of kids have been raised on Sensationalized Television, they have no conscience when it comes to putting other people in danger, because they don’t respect danger. It’s become commonplace to them. They believe that they are invincible.
    My only hope is that this will make them start to realize that if it can happen to the very best, it will happen to them also.

    Thank You for your thoughts and awesome post!

  32. Chuck Robertson says:

    Thank you Barbara for such excellent insight on the state of storm chasing. Also, in this very sad time in our close nit community, thank you for helping me a little bit to cope with the loss of some of our very best. I too feel the need to keep on keeping on.

  33. Arjan van Beelen says:

    Great article, very well said! Reflects pretty much all that I was thinking about storm chasing these days and the tragic death of Tim, Paul and Carl. For years now I expected accidents to happen (but never expected it to happen to the most sensible and experienced ones), because of people getting closer and closer to the tornadoes without ever thinking about the risks or an escape route. Even from TWC videos (and several youtube videos) which they have put all over their website it is clear that they were in a very bad position, but making even worse decisions (they literally drove into the tornado, for which it was clear -even from the bad quality video- that it was going to move over the road just in front of them. I think that many chasers these days are feeling way too invincible and taking unacceptable risks. I am hoping many of them are re-thinking their strategy.

  34. Bob Castelline says:

    I am not a chaser, and I have no desire to be. I appreciate the educated, experienced chasers out there who do it in the name of science and furtherance of safety for all of us.

    But I have grave concerns, and I’m hoping somebody here can speak to it.

    While I have no desire to chase, I do know a couple of guys who do. They decry the antics of the thrill-seekers as much as any professional. But I know them, and I know they’re not extensively trained. Perhaps they took a weekend seminar or something similar, and now they talk like they’re experts. I know them. Which means I know better. One of them posts to Facebook constantly whenever a storm seems to be brewing, with all the excitement of an 8-year-old going to the circus for the first time. I keep thinking, “How can you be so gleeful about a force of nature that can level an entire city?” He acts just like Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character in “Twister.” Is this how a professional behaves?

    So I wonder …

    Do any of you sense a growing class of people who think they’re experts but really aren’t? Or am I simply misguieded?

    I really would like to know. Please don’t flame.

  35. Tom says:

    I think the trouble is that any idiot who ever saw the movie Twister and thought it’d be fun to go chase tornadoes gets out there and calls themselves “storm chasers” without really knowing what they’re doing. Of course it’s a recipe for disaster.

  36. James W. Scheideler says:

    Well said… My thought go out the the ones whom chase these storms…Do they know what they maybe getting into… Although we all should. Experts or not there is a lot to learn yet from these Twisters…

  37. in the recent tragedy of tim paul and carl i was devistated even tho i have never met them but tim and i we were chatting on here and it really was so awesome to meet him thru the world of cyberspace such a wonderful man as well as carl to it broke my heart and i cried when i heard the awful news i have been chasing storms for 23 yrs and i have a deep passionate respect for mother nature like Tim did i am always careful like tim was alll the time until his untimely death im really disturbed about some very rude comments about our passion for stormchasing we should not be called thrill seekers reckless or yahoo chasers i chase with responsiblity and i am always alert and vigilante ive met some awesome chasers on the phone and online like gene rhoden tim marshall david hoadley and i recognize chuck robertson here as well i also have a facebook page dedicated to severe storms and chasing called storm reports live and also on twitter im good at gettin alerts and warnings out things u should do and things that neeed a strong wording according to NWS REPORTS and i have filmed some breathtaking storms in my life and with full responsibility but i dont like being callled inexperienced irresponsible and a thrill seeker or a amateur its just a regular passionate stormchaser that is solely responsible and very cautious may god bless the samaras family and the young family at this time of sorrow godbless yu and we are here for u always Sincerly Yours KimTwister
    dedicated stormchaser since 4-26-91

  38. Stefanie Sullivan says:

    Very well stated, Barb. You pretty much summed up how I feel about this whole situation better than I ever could.

  39. Excellent blog.

    I tried to organize my own feelings after the tragedy, but apparently I did not clarify the distinction between Tim’s accident and Mike Bettes’s near fatal mistake. Don’t forget a fourth “amateur” chaser was also killed while using a cell phone to take pictures.

    I don’t think we go far enough in calling out those who have made getting close big business and those who support it on national television. Why are people afraid to do so? The offenders are few, but well known.

    The Bettes and other tragedy involving the amateur will never accomplish anything unless we are willing to make getting close to tornadoes (except for “real”) scientific reasons a “stupid” idea rather than some lame excuse for those who make big money doing it and promoting it — directly or indirectly.

    Warren Faidley

  40. Jim Caruso says:

    I stumbled upon this blog post late in the game, but I just wanted to commend you on it Barb.

  41. Mark Bieber says:

    In the near future, I hope to make storm chasing fun and safe via my “Virtual Storm Chaser” software that I have in development. By next year, computers should be fast enough for me to release the first generation of this software, via a crowd funding campaign.

  42. Kendal Stitzel says:

    Cogent analysis by storm chaser Skip Talbot here:

  43. Mary Shafer says:

    Just reiterating congratulations for a well-reasoned, non-hyperbolic insight into this often fraught subject.

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