Storm chasing is the art of chasing storms, such as tornados or other severe weather conditions, regardless of danger or risk. The person who chases the storm is known as the storm chaser. There are those people that chase storms do it for excitement while there are others that do in search of information to help them predict when a severe weather storm is coming and to what severity.
Roger Jenson has been labelled as the first ever storm chaser. He began chasing storms in Minnesota in the 1950s. He was able to track and chase these storms by using systematic data from local weather offices. However it was Neil Ward that brought research chasing to the forefront. He was enlisted by his state police to track and chase storms.
The art of chasing storms has gone through phases where its popularity has both increased and decreased. Most often an increase in the number of people attempting to chase storms was due to publicity from television. For example in 1978 there was a PBS broadcast about storm chasing which caused more and more people to become interested. Again in 1996 there was an increase in interest in storm chasing because of the movie Twister. This movie was action packed and gave people a sense of adventure.
Storm chasing is not without danger. The obvious dangers, of course, include getting seriously injured. The risk of getting injured comes from the fact that you will be dealing with tornado’s, lightning, floods, flying animals and vehicles. Basically anything that you can imagine can happen in the middle of a tornado. In order to chase a storm, you must drive toward or around a storm and therefore you are risking the chance of getting seriously hurt.