Monday, May 24, 2010

Chaser Convergence

Since my last post here, the blogs that I began have evolved into long essays that are more appropriate for my Website than here. But I do want to post something here about chaser convergence, which has been something of an e-drama since 19 May 2010, when vast crowds of chasers clogged the roads in Oklahoma. Some of those chasers engaged in various forms of irresponsible behavior, including passing the long lines of cars while going uphill. Among these irresponsible chasers was the Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) of Sean Casey - famed for his place on the Discovery Channel crockumentary, Storm Chasers. His TIV was caught on tape engaging in this unsafe behavior - and he's done similar things in the past. He's become a poster child for irresponsible chasers.

There has been a lot of discussion about what it would take to rein in the irresponsible chasers, and various thoughts on the growing hordes of chasers. There doesn't seem to be much we can do, frankly. Eventually, I believe that law enforcement is going to urge the passage of laws restricting storm chasing - however difficult those laws might be to enforce consistently, I suspect that many places in the Plains eventually will respond to the mob scenes with a vengeance.

And we (including I) have brought this on ourselves, by going on in media interviews about the awesome beauty of storms, the adventure of chasing, and so on. With the growth of chasing into what amounts to a 'trash sport', more and more 'extreme' chasers have become active - people who sneer at the very thought of responsibility in their quest for attention, for glory, for cash. The media have glamorized storm chasing, even as they portray chasers as thrill-seeking lunatics. Perhaps that image appeals to certain chasers?

I'm about to commence my storm chase vacation for 2010 ... adding my vehicle to the hordes dashing about in the Plains this spring. I have a strategy for avoiding the worst chaser convergences that worked reasonably well last year, although no doubt I'll be caught up in them occasionally. I want to avoid being anywhere near a storm that Vortex2 is working - in part to stay out of their way, and in part to avoid the mobs of tag-alongs they attract. We'll be keeping a low profile, so I hope you don't see us!!


Scott said...

Thanks for the link to Vortex II.

Laws against storm chasing would be problematic. If I have several antennas on the car, that doesn't make me a storm chaser. In some cases a non storm chaser may be in the wrong place at the wrong time and accused to being chasers.

I suspect that the cautious chaser is going to do what he/she can to be low key and not look like a storm chaser.

We shall see but I do agree that at some point, anti-chasing laws will be tried.

Chuck Doswell said...

An interesting article here:

The media always love conflict! For an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, it's curious that proper titles haven't been used - e.g., Dr. Wakimoto (rather than Mr.).