Slate article: Why storm chasing has become unethical.

Reed Timmer's "dominator" chase vehicle
Celebrity storm chaser Reed Timmer’s “Dominator” storm chase vehicle during a 2010 chase in Allen County, Ind. (W9LW photo)

Storm chasing has become more controversial lately, as I indicated in a recent post. Here’s a link to another article on the topic:

Why This Former Storm Chaser Now Thinks Stalking Tornadoes Is Unethical.

Here’s one of the points the author makes:

1) Storm chasers are not saving lives. In fact, storm chasers sometimes put themselves at risk and further burden local emergency managers should they require assistance. Chasers call this phenomenon “chaser convergence,” and it sometimes crowds rural and remote roadways to the point that emergency vehicles can no longer pass.

I think “Slate” author Eric Holthaus over generalizes a bit when he writes, “Storm chasers are not saving lives.”

Some chasers are true scientists who conduct research that might someday save lives by enabling improved forecasts, for example. And some chasers act as both chasers and SKYWARN storm spotters when in the field — in other words, these chasers report the severe weather they see to the nearest National Weather Service office.

Chasers who do bona fide research and those who make reports to the NWS might be saving lives, either in the long term or short term. On the other hand, Holthaus might be correct, if he refers to the remainder of chasers, who neither do true research nor call in reports.

What do you think? Add your comments to this post.

2 thoughts on “Slate article: Why storm chasing has become unethical.”

  1. You know, I’m not going to lie. I’ve been into weather since I could remember. Even living in Connecticut I remember looking up and seeing the clouds rotating directly above me with tornado warnings and instead of being scared I stared up in awe. Until recently I have to admit that it wasn’t until really learning who Samaras and Young were and what they did, did I realize that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I want to do what I can to push the research forward. Lives are being affected by these storms and we need to decrease if not obliterate that.
    A lot of what’s happening in the chaser community is personal preference, what’s too close, why you chase, etc but there are people out there giving legitimate chasers bad reputations now that’s not needed.
    My opinion I’ll stand strongly with is that if you’re not chasing/spotting either for your community or for research you’re getting in the way and there is no room for you. Get the he’ll off the roads and let the trained people trying to make a difference do what they need to do. Quit being a “yahoo”

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