Who should I take with me on a chase?

When the chase day comes it is very important who you choose to be your chase partners. These people can have a large effect on how successful your chase is and how safe it is.

While chasing, it is best if you have three or more people. Jobs should be assigned to these individuals. One person is the driver, another person keeps track where you are on the map and also plots paths while you are by the storms, and the remaining people are the observers. These jobs can and should change, provided others are able to fill in the empty slot, so everyone has an equal turn to watch the storm.

The Driver - It is important that one person at all times has their eyes on the road. This person is in a sense responsible for the safety of the people in the car and everyone else on the road. The temptation to watch the sky is great so this person must be good at resisting temptation. It is also a good idea to switch drivers so that everyone has a chance to look at the storm. Don't let someone drive that takes chances. When you are close to severe weather it is important that this person takes instructions well and knows how to drive safely in different weather conditions. It is also the drivers responsibility to make sure that when you stop to observe a storm the vehicle is pointed in the direction that you will be leaving. This way if the conditions change rapidly and you are put in immediate danger, you don't have to take the time to turn the car around.

The Cartographer - This must be a person who has the abilities to read a map accurately. It is very important that while you are chasing that you know where you are and where you can go. If a storm changes direction and moves toward you, you need to have an exit route available to you. This person is responsible for trying to position you so you can have best view of the storm but also a safe escape route if one is needed.

The Observer - This person(s) must have knowledge of storm structure as to help you realize where you are in relation to the storm. Where you are can determine your safety and also what you get to see. If this person has no knowledge of storm structure, then they could lead you into a dangerous situation where you won't see much of anything. This person works with the cartographer to try and position you in the safest and best viewing spot for the storm. It is helpful to have as many people spot as possible. Only one person really needs to be well grounded in their storm structure while the others can be along to learn.

All of these people help out when you stop to observe a storm. They help in setting up the cameras and tearing them down when the storm gets to close. They also can help in taking instrument recordings on the storm.

If you are better equipped you may add positions. As an example you could have someone that works with the weather data downloaded off the Internet or that is responsible for logging the conditions.

Back to the How to Chase Storms Safely index

DISCLAIMER: Remember storm chasing exposes chasers to many hazardous and potentially deadly weather conditions such as lightning, dangerous roads, damaging winds, hail, and flying debris which puts the chaser's life at risk, particularly those who
have little or no experience and/or storm structure education. Learning to deal with these is best done by understanding supercells and thunderstorms, and riding with an experienced chaser before attempting to chase on their own. The author of these pages does not encourage storm chasing and is therefore not responsible for any actions as a result of what is seen here!

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Created by Adam Frederick, webmaster@severewx.com
Content and Images (unless otherwise noted) Copyright 1999 Adam Frederick

Last updated 07/1/99 09:21 PM