It's March 4th. It's been a COLD, LONG winter for many in the United States (ya, you know!). And we are TIRED of it!! Spring is just around the corner (or so we hope). That means severe weather is also just around the corner. This is exciting for some and scary for others. Personally, I'm excited! But I'm also aware. Stay aware when you chase or are hanging out at home or the park on a warm spring day. Pay attention to the forecast in your area. If there is a chance of Severe storms, keep your weather radio on. If you are chasing the storms, keep a safe distance from the "meso" and don't get in the path of the tornado. Stay back, stay alive.
Last year was a tragic year for the storm chasing community. We lost top notch researchers and very kind, respected men in the field; Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young. They were taken in an instant in the May 31st historic El Reno, OK tornado. It was a somber reminder of what power these storms have and how we must treat them with respect.
While researchers may have specific tasks to perform, like deploying probes in the path of a tornado, most chasers do not have any reason to be in the path of the tornado. Please remember that. To be honest, there is something more majestic and beautiful about a storm when viewed from a few miles away (see image below), where you can see the dynamics at play. It can be magical. Ok, yes, sometimes it's exciting to be a little closer and feel the inflow at your back as the tornado crosses the field in front of you.... But, I've never been one who wants to see how close I can get or drive into the vortex to get the most dramatic shot or see debris fly in front of me. I have never understood why some think they can drive into a tornado for the ultimate shot. Deploying a camera probe in the path makes sense, yes, that's ok...but driving INTO it while in the vehicle (whether or not it's a "tank")? No Thank You! Not for me!
As the 2014 season approaches we are charging our cameras and laptops, awaiting the rush of the wind, the magic of the sky and the power of the storm. Maybe this year we will see a set of sister twisters.
Here's to riding the winds of life!
Photograph from Ada, OK in 2011. Copyright Melanie Metz, http://www.TwisterSisters.com