Storm Chasers Get Way Too Close

June 4th, 2013 at 5:11 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

The popularity of chasing storms has exploded in recent years, but last week’s El Reno, Oklahoma tornado has shown the stark reality of the dangers storm chasers face. Three experienced storm chasers and and one amateur died in the tornado that grew to record 2.6 miles wide. The immense size of the twister, with multiple vortices, surprised the storm chasers as the tornado took a turn and headed straight for a group of them watching the storm.

Check out this video from tour operater Tempest Tours. Yes, they’re is a tourism business for chasing tornadoes. At the beginning of the video, which they’ve sped up, you can see just how many storm chasers were watching the tornado as it formed and grew. The road is covered with a couple dozen people and multiple vehicles. As they watch, the storm grows, turns, and heads straight at them.

For the next several minutes of the video the tour operator is gunning it to outrace the twister, which at times is directly behind them. After some tense moments, they move to safe distance, but not everybody was so lucky.

Bottom line, chasing storms is dangerous business. A quick turn, a sudden strengthening, a misjudgement, and many other factors can lead to serious consequences. This time, even professionals lost their lives. It’s a sobering reality check of how dangerous chasing these monsters of Mother Nature can be.

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