Stormy Weather


Who are storm chasers?

Storm chasers are scientists and amateur storm enthusiasts who track and intercept severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Two reasons for storm chasing are: 1) to gather data to use in researching severe storms and 2) to provide a visual observation of severe storms indicated on radar stations. In addition, television personnel will chase storms to produce a dramatic storm video. Storm chasing can be an extremely dangerous activity in which strong winds, heavy rain, hail, and lightning threaten one’s safety. Individuals who chase storms are trained in the behavior of severe storms.

Roger Jensen (1933–2001) is generally considered the first person to be an active storm chaser. A self-trained weather observer and professional photographer, Jensen spent 50 years recording data on tornadoes as well as thunderstorms. David Hoadley (1938-) is also considered a pioneer in the field and founder of the first newsletter on the subject, Storm Track. The first scientist who became a storm chaser was Neil Ward (1914–1972), who worked for the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, and is considered the official “father of the storm chase” because of his credentials.


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