As many of you are aware by now tonight was a historic tornado outbreak. For days the SPC has had today targeted and hopefully the word was out. As usual any time severe weather is mentioned on this forum certain people felt the need to announce their disdained for storm chasers so tonight on the heels of this disaster let me share with you a brief phone call I had with one of my best friends who is a chaser.
I unfortunately had some family business to attend to so I was only able to follow the storms on my phone. This evening it became apparent that Wichita was in danger and my friend was over nighting there so I was concerned. When I heard the NWS office was being evacuated there I decided to call him to see where he was and what was going on. He didn't answer. However what seemed like an eternity later he texted me with two words. "it's bad" This from a veteran of Parkersburg, Greensburg, Yazoo City, and Joplin.
Some time later he called me choking back tears and told me he was alright. He said they saw it all, got much of it on tape, and got some good data. It turns out he was just outside what he and some of the first responders thought was a trailer court but he said crying "Jason there is nothing here.....nothing. Hopefully it's just the dark, there has to be something here." Then after a little conversation he said "gotta go we are finally heading in to see if anyone in there."
I don't know the outcome of that search and won't until tomorrow. I don't know if there were fatalities or not, I pray not but I do know one thing. While you are chair weather people where here complaining about storm chasers, storm chasers were out there warning people. Then storm chasers were out there helping people. They will be all night while you sleep in your warm comfortable safe bed. So the next time you feel the need to criticize those of us who want to study severe weather ask yourself, how many lives have you changed with your knowledge of weather? How many times have you been there seconds after a natural disaster to help anyone who needs it? How much have you contributed to the field of meteorology behind your keyboard with your condescending key strokes towards those who our out there living it?
Nights like tonight, are why we chase. Not because we get some sick joy out of seeing peoples lives destroyed but because we are compelled to see that it doesn't happen again. This is why we chase.
And while you blast us about complaining about storm chasers, that's NOT what we did. We complain about the 'thrill-seekers' who are only in it to make money off the videos that I see that get sold online. If you are one of them, it is YOU who have my wrath. If not, continue to do the good work you are doing, and please don't be attracted to the quick money that you might make.
I've been in a tornado; I know full well what they feel like and was compelled to be a trained spotter because of it.
Oh, and yes. I have chased before. Family commitments now prevent me from doing that except on rare occasions.