A number of things have been going through my mind after watching what all occurred yesterday (May 31, 2013) in Oklahoma. I'll try to be brief...
- I am not anti-storm chasing. In fact, from time to time, I enjoy going out to take in a few storms. And in of itself, I don't think storm chasing is a bad thing. But, I do think it requires a certain responsibility. I don't think drinking is wrong. But, you get drunk and then go and get behind the wheel of a car? Yeah, that's a problem...it's irresponsible. To me, purposely driving INTO a tornado isn't any different. 9 times out of 10 you may drink and drive without consequence, but then that 10th time comes along. I think a number of chasers experienced their 10th time yesterday. And, fortunately for them, it didn't end as bad as it could.
- I hope lessons are learned from this, both by the public and by chasers across the country. I say this not meaning any disrespect at all. But, I wonder if The Weather Channel's SUV getting tossed was good for the public to see. Their incident, while unfortunate, sets a great example for all the TWC viewers that trying to outrun a tornado simply is not a good idea. If the TWC SUV had not been flipped, it's possible less people would have seen the negative effects of such a choice. It might just be one of TWC's best instructional videos.
- On a side note, I have to be honest and say that in previous chase trips I have not always made the safest or wisest choices. None of my bad choices ever led to a bad incident, thank God, but I'd be a hypocrite if I pointed out others flaws without pointing out my own. So, I can truly say that the events of the other day have served as a good reminder to myself as well.
- Many storm chasers add a great value to the field of Meteorology. I hope we don't let a few ruin it for the rest of us. Good information from chasers can help aid the NWS in making important warning-related decisions. This, in turn, can ultimately help the public to be better informed of impending weather-related hazards.
- Chaser videos that show the "inside" of a tornado are really not that interesting to me. Again I am reminded of "Twister". The two main characters (Bill and Joe) get their truck lifted up as they hold onto a bridge. Afterwards, our boy Dusty asks, 'Well, what was it like?' Joe's reply? It was windy. That's what I think of when I see these "spectacular" close-ups. Well, I guess it was windy. Some of the most amazing chase videos I have seen have been from people who were filming from a distance with a nice zoom lens. And, while getting a great video, you can make a quick call to the nearby NWS office giving them an update on the storm and how it is behaving. You get a great video and offer some potentially life-saving information all for the price of one...and you don't even have to be next to the tornado!