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So You Want To Be A Storm Chaser?
Storm chasing is a hobby that is followed by many people who are interested in storms and other types of severe weather. It involves more than just observing a storm as it approaches and monitoring its effects, but rather going out and following the storm, quite literally chasing it down, observing its characteristics, and taking detailed notes for scientific analysis. Of course there are rules to this game, and a code of conduct among the storm chasers themselves, which we will be covering over the next couple of water restoration blog posts.
Despite what you have seen in the movies, and even with the death of two well known storm chasers in the midwest recently, storm chasing is not that dangerous if you know what you are doing. You will be spending a lot of time on the highway, and as a result there will be not only the rules of the road that must be followed, but the situations created by the storm. The storm environment makes for a hostile place to drive, with limited visibility and wet roads that may even see cases of flash flooding. Environments can change quickly.
Avoid chasing alone. It is always better to have someone who can concentrate on the driving and nothing else. They will be able to see standing water and other dangers that could end up causing an accident. It also frees up the other person to concentrate on studying the storm.
Do not chase within city limits, since things like traffic signals and normal levels of traffic will be an impediment to your goals of being able to move freely and keep up with the storm. Even if you are in the country, resist the urge to break the speed limits just to get to the scene of the action. Speeding in severe weather situations can only bring about bad results. If you must speed, do so only in areas where you are only putting yourself at risk (no, you didn’t hear that from me!).
Use turn signals, avoid sudden starts and stops, and generally do not break the traffic laws. Storm chasing in movies like TWISTER is exciting, but impractical. You never want to put anyone at unnecessary risk.
If rain or dust blows up to the point that your vision is impeded, then slow down. Any time you can’t see, then you are at a serious disadvantage. You should refill your tank before the fuel level gets too low. Remember that storms knock out power, and this includes power to fuel pumps.
Finally, you should avoid unpaved roads, even if you have a 4×4, since muddy or saturated roads can strand you in short order.
Finally, make sure that your vehicle is visible to other drivers. Use parking lights or flashers liberally, especially when parked on the side of the road
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