I am a storm chaser, which in many ways is the same thing as a hurricane hunter. The only difference is the location. In the mid-west these storms are can turn into tornadoes and in the coastal region they are called hurricanes. There is a scientific difference in the storms but the reason people chase storms is the same.
Some people hunt down storms for scientific purposes. The movie “Twister” is a perfect example.
Whether a person chases them for scientific reasons or for the thrill, the result is still an educational experience.
I chase storms because it is more than just fascinating. Watching the storm turn into an angry act of nature is exciting. It’s better than a reality TV show because you are there; watching it happen and you don’t know what the outcome is going to be.
I’ve taken my kids storm chasing with me since they were babies. Of course safety has always been of the foremost importance. The art of chasing a storm requires distance anyway. You can not watch a storm develop if you are IN it! You have to make sure you are far enough away that you can see the overall spectrum of the performance. Knowing which way the storm is headed by listening to weather reports is important too. The difference of being in a storm and watching it from afar is as different as night and day.
Watching out the window of your vehicle and seeing a storm compose itself to the north, where it is dark and lightening is breaking through the darkness is, in itself fascinating. Looking out the window towards the west and seeing clear, sunny skies is bewildering. Mother Nature performs her show with many colors and effects.
I’ve taught my children how to listen for thunder and count the time span between the sound of the thunder and the appearance of lightning to determine how far away the storm is. Perhaps when they were studying storms in science class, they were more interested because they had experienced the results of scientific aspects.
My children are all adults now yet they will still call me when a storm is approaching and say “Mom let’s go storm chasing”. It’s become a family tradition as well as an educational resource. Hopefully, they will pass down this family adventure to their children as well. I know I will be known as the Grandmother who chases storms.
And the best part of it, is that it is free! The government has not figured out a way to tax this free show by Mother Nature! Yea!