As in the other sections,
you can click on the glossary image wherever you see it, and the glossary
will open in another window. Just close that window when you are ready
of all, we are going to cover some chaser ethics. The basics are
- LIMIT data-gathering
visits to the National Weather Service.
Many chase documentaries feature the casual words: "___'s chase
starts here at the National Weather Service". The very issue
of chasers using government resources and facilities as a "base"
for operations has recently become an item of serious discussion.
Some offices have gone so far as to establish a local policy
in dealing with chasers. Considering there are tremendous amounts
of data available via laptop computers, it is strongly recommended
that you don't begin your chase inside NWS offices. If you really
have to visit a NWS office, only one person goes in and makes
his request as brief and courteous as possible. You can find
just about everything you can get at the NWS on the Internet
- OBEY laws.
The "irresponsible" segment has infuriated some law enforcement
departments, particularly in Kansas, making responsible chasers
more vulnerable to citations and even arrests. This also means
no pulling over on Interstate highways or trespassing on private
land to take photos. Generally if you obey the laws, you will
have nothing but positive experiences with law enforcement while
chasing (or otherwise for that matter!).
any enthusiastic discussion about severe weather while in mixed
company. Remember that many residents in small towns on the
Plains have had bad experiences or lost property due to severe
- Excerpted from
a complete paper on Storm Chase Ethics by Alan Moller you can
following are things which many chasers agree are an absolute minimum
for storm chasing. There is still several discussions each year
among chasers about "gadget" chasing vs. "stealth"
chasing. You will develop your own style of chasing and find out
what works best for you though. Some chasers prefer to chase with
all sorts of gear, others with nothing more than a map, a camera,
EQUIPMENT Above all, an amateur radio and an amateur
radio license. Amateur radio is otherwise known as "HAM" radio.
It is much easier now days to obtain this license, and most
ham radio repeaters are on battery back up power, which means
they will stay up when other forms of communications won't or
are clogged with other traffic. To find out more about getting
a ham license, check out the Amateur
Radio Relay League. You can obtain a Technician license
now without learning Morse code. Hopefully, once you get into
the hobby, you will find all sorts of interest, but for our
purposes, this license will allow you to use the great many
frequencies that SKYWARN spotters use. Many of these groups
operate these nets on the 2-meter band. There are many sources
for purchasing your radio and there are many brands. Amateur
Electronic Supply can be recommended as a good place to
purchase. Not only will a ham radio with a license allow you
to participate in the SKYWARN nets, it also gives you an excellent
way to summon help, should you need it. A cell phone should
also be considered, but be aware that during a severe WX disaster
that these often get jammed and are unusable. They are more
useful for downloading data to your laptop from the Internet.
- A good quality
police scanner. Get one with 800 MHz capabilities and
trunk-tracking. Many law enforcement agencies have moved to
this band. Also make sure it has a WX button, which will allow
you fast access to the nearest NOAA WX Radio frequency. We run
with two scanners in the primary chase vehicle, one of which
we can dedicate to the SKYWARN networks, and the other to monitor
NOAA, law enforcement or anything else we might need at the
time. Keep in mind that in some states, it is illegal to have
a scanner in your car. Possession of an amateur radio license
exempts you from that. All the more reason to get the license.
- MAPS, MAPS,
You need to be able to know where you are at all times, and
how to get out of there if necessary. Collect as many maps as
you can find about the area you are planning to chase in. In
addition, if you have a laptop, there are some excellent mapping
programs, some of which use GPS tracking, so you know exactly
where you are all the time. Delorme
is one favorite among chasers. Many chasers consider this their
single most important piece of equipment.
- First Aid
and CPR. This cannot be stressed enough. I think it
is something that EVERYONE should have, but definitely chasers.
Courses are offered through your local Red Cross Chapter at
a minimum expense. The life you safe may be someone dear to
you. If you are so inclined, it would be advantageous to also
get at least some First Responder training in emergency care.
Nothing could be worse than stumbling across a damage path full
of victims and not knowing how to help.
CHASER READING AND STUDY MATERIAL:
SUGGESTED READING :
VIDEO AND PHOTOGRAPHY
RELATED ONLINE READING
READING MATERIAL SOURCES
what do I do if I think that chasing on my own would be too much
there are still some options for you. There are several Storm
Chase Tours in operation. You can find them by searching Google.com
for Storm Chase Tours. Beware that they are VERY expensive. Your
other option is to hook up with a storm chaser and ride along
on some chases. Several will take you with them, but finding them
can be hard. Getting involved in the weather and chase community
will help you meet like minded people, and maybe a storm chaser