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Storm chasing’s popularity leads to conflicts on the road

Friday, May 21st, 2010 3:21pm MST
Dangerous driving and irresponsible behavior by some storm chasers has led to worries that someone will get killed while chasing storms soon. In this image from a video, the infamous Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) is seen passing other vehicles in an unsafe manner. Watch the video at the link below. (YouTube / Steve Miller)

Dangerous driving and irresponsible behavior by some storm chasers has led to worries that someone will get killed while chasing storms soon. In this image from a video, the infamous Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) is seen passing other vehicles in an unsafe manner. Watch the video at the link below. (YouTube / Steve Miller)

Professional and amateur storm chasers, television and movie crews, researchers and news media all converge on Tornado Alley during storm season. Severe weather is fascinating and it has been brought more and more into the public eye thanks to the Internet and popular television shows. That popularity has given rise to increased danger to everyone and many say it is only a matter of time before someone chasing a storm gets killed.

Over recent weeks, tornado outbreaks in Oklahoma have seen hundreds of chasers of all types converge on tornado producing storms. Some are there for fun, others to study the phenomena for science, a few to get their two minutes of fame by capturing video to be shown on the Weather Channel and some to capture ‘the perfect shot’ for a movie.

With so many people in a relatively small area chasing the same target, conflicts are sure to arise and they have. Traffic jams of chasers around the storms have created a safety hazard as vehicles are unable to move. People are exiting their vehicles, standing in the middle of roads, all to get a glimpse of a twister.

Many have put the blame for the problem on inexperienced chasers, lured to the chase by what they see on television and the Internet. To be sure these novices can cause problems however they are not the only ones by far.

Vortex 2, the largest tornado research project in history, has brought a veritable armada of vehicles to bear chasing storms. The group’s mission of trying to learn more about tornadoes is important and Dr. Josh Wurman, one of the scientists involved with the project, laments that chasers are getting in the way of science.

There's more to this story on Examiner.com!Read more on the Natural Disasters Examiner about how many big name chasers, including those from Discovery Channel’s “Storm Chasers” are thought to be part of the problem.

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