Storm Chasers. I want to be a storm chaser

Hurricane Isabel of 2003 from the ISS. Storm Chasers

From a very young age I have been fascinated by meteorology and storms. I remember when I saw Twister for the first time, movie where they are 😉 well because I was hallucinating seeing those people who took the car and instead of fleeing they went like an arrow towards the center of the tornado. Why did the tornado always catch those who tried to flee but not those who are going to hunt it? It is one of the great unknowns of cinema.

I would watch that movie and think, I want to be a storm hunter. Because children want to be doctors, firefighters and astronauts. Now they aspire to be civil servants, But nobody wants to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones or a meteorologist to predict the great catastrophes of the earth. Go to the eye of a hurricane, flee from an erupting volcano, predict a Tsunami or a major earthquake. And it's a shame, the romance is being lost.

What if we go back to real life? Are there storm chasers? What do they do, what have they studied? where I can find them?What if I want to be a true tornado hunter? In Spain we do not have hurricanes or tornadoes of the proportions of Americans, although we do have good storms to study. As you will see, not everything is risking your life to reach the eye of the hurricane. Prediction, data analysis play a very important job the main one of most storm chasers.

Storm hunters in real life

There are few "crazy people" who jump into catching storms with their cars like in the movies, but there are some. People like Warren faidley, 'Specialized' in disaster survival. Or the team from the Discovery series, Storm Chasers, of which 3 died not long ago. Because in real life, if you go to an F5 you can die.

Famous hunters

The first recognized storm chaser was David hoadley. He started hunting storms in North Dakota in 1956 he was the first to use it in a systematic way weather station and airport data. For all this, he is considered the pioneer in this discipline and was the founder of Storm Track magazine, among many other things.

In 1972 the University of Oklahoma together with the NSSL (National Severe Storms Laboratory) started the Project to Intercept Tornadoes, which was the first institution-sponsored storm hunting activity. From here, the activity began to become popular with magazines, publications, films and the recent Discovery Channel series

The dominator, the dominator, is the vehicle used in the series of discovery storm chasers

the dominator

I leave you a video that has impressed me, of some storm chasers following the Joplin tornado of category EF5

"Hunting" a storm means driving thousands of miles, at any time, and risking your life. It is not normal. Although with this my childhood dream disappears

The rest of the hunters are great meteorology enthusiastsPerhaps freaks in the matter but already more normal people, photographers, physicists, engineers, meteorologists, or amateurs who pour their lives into studying and observing storms. Many are dedicated to forecasting and others to the analysis of the data that is obtained. In the end, storm chasers enjoy storms, weather buffs. A tornado is very difficult to see, it is like the icing on the cake, but few can boast of seeing it and less of trying to follow it.

Tornado area and season

The most frequent time for tornadoes is in May and June in the great American plains and more specifically in an area (large area) called Tornado alley and that focuses on Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska

Tronados Alley area

Photos and videos of spectacular storms.

Here you have an impressive supercell (Source images Gabriel galaz)

Impressive right ?, every time they talk about the now so famous explosive cyclogenesisI imagine that a storm of these comes, to see something like this would be a real dream, although yes, in the middle of nature that does not cause material or personal damage to people.

How to be a meteorologist in Spain

You can be an amateur or get much closer to the world of meteorology, with "official" studies. To be a meteorologist in Spain, before you could study physical sciences and specialize in meteorology, although there is no official title. In Spain there is no own career for this activity. Now you can access

But nothing better explained than in the Maldonado's blog 😉

The University, therefore, does not award the title of meteorologist. You can only do it, in accordance with the rules established by the World Meteorological Organization, the State Meteorological Agency in which there are three bodies of officials, requiring different degrees to choose, by means of opposition, the places called in the BOE for admission to the same.

1) Superior Corps of State Meteorologists (Degree: Doctor or Graduate, Architect or Superior Engineer).
2) State Meteorology Diploma Corps (Qualification: University Diploma, Engineer or Technical Architect, Third Degree Professional Training or equivalent).
3) State Meteorology Observers Corps (Qualification: Higher Bachelor, Second Degree Professional Training or equivalent).

I focus on the first because of space. The opposition consists of the following exercises:

a) Written answer to a questionnaire of questions on a Physics, Meteorology and Climatology syllabus.
b) Resolution in writing of problems related to the agenda.
c) Resolution of a practical exercise on cases of a meteorological and / or climatological nature.
d) Oral defense in public session of the applicant's training record.
e) Taking written and oral tests on the English language (compulsory) and other foreign and vernacular languages ​​(optional).

And here we leave this review of a profession with not much future, although tremendously attractive. I'm talking about the storm chaser, not being a meteorologist, of course.

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  1.   Jaime Alexander said

    I love the idea of ​​chasing storms, from the first time I watched the programs on TV about this activity, I knew that was what I wanted to do and I would love to participate with you.

  2.   Lucas hayes said

    I love everything that has to do with nature, since I was a child I always wanted to be a storm chaser, today I am 20 years old and I still cannot fulfill that dream. What am I afraid of a tornado? I am willing and ready because it is what I am passionate about