The Storm Chasing Anthology

“A 67-minute condensed visual history of storm chasing and severe weather research culture told through the words and imagery of storm chasers and meteorologists across North America.”

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El Reno 2013

So you want to be a storm chaser?

Five years ago (May 31, 2013), a 2.6 mile wide tornado hit El Reno, Oklahoma. Several people were killed or injured, including several storm chasers, among them the well-respected team of Tim and Paul Samaras and Carl Young. This was the first time chasers had been killed by weather (automobiles are more dangerous) and 2.6 miles wide is still, in May of 2018, a record wide storm. (Nowhere near as wide as the storm in John Barnes’ novel Mother of All Storms, but still…)

As I mentioned in a previous post, Skip Talbot is a weather geek. The video below is his feature length essay on meteorology, storm safety and, in the last half hour, his experience with this storm. It’s a chase. The tornado gives them a hair-raising run for the money.

If you noodle around the web, you’ll find some pretty dramatic videos of chasers within or nearly missed by that storm. But this video also provides a weather education.

Lightning

There is more to storm chasing than tornadoes. Lightning, in some ways more dangerous than tornadoes, is also a phenomenon of fascination:

Photographing lightning is a bit of a technical challenge. One of my favorite weather videographers, Pecos Hank, put together this tutorial:

And for you gear-heads out there, a “lightning detector” is indeed a thing. Who knew? Are they useful? When are they useful? Another of my favorites, Mike Olbinski, provides the benefit of his experience: