Since the 1930s, the term ‘storm chaser’ has been passed around more and more as the decades pass. But what is a storm chaser?
In 2019, storm chasers are labeled as trained and qualified individuals who track down and spot weather for local National Weather Service offices. Why?
The enhancement in radar technology is superb compared to the 1900s. However, there are still flaws in Doppler radars. In fact, not all tornadoes are recorded on radars.
In fact, the farther away from the storm the harder it is for the radar to pick up any rotation near the surface, making it more unlikely it will pick up the tornado.
When the radars are unable to pick up tornadic rotation, they rely on trained NWS Skywarn storm chasers.
Chasers report any significant, life-threatening weather events via 911, NWS chats and some through Spotter Network apps. In a lot of cases, storm chasers will record photo and video evidence of weather events which helps with the future of tornado research.
Recently, storm chasers have received backlash after a flood reckless behavior across the plains with multiple chasers involved in accidents and a report of Impersonation of Law Enforcement by a potential storm chaser.
Storm chasing is a dangerous profession as well. On May 31, 2013, four storm chasers were killed by the largest tornado ever recorded near El Reno, OK.