Registration opens for College of DuPage storm-chasing tours

College of Dupage storm chasing tour participants view a developing storm. Photo credit: College of DuPage Meteorology
College of Dupage storm chasing tour participants view a developing storm. Photo credit: College of DuPage Meteorology

Registration has opened to all for this year’s storm-chasing tours operated by the College of Dupage (COD), which is headquartered in the western suburbs of Chicago.

What makes these tours unusual and of interest to any and all weather enthusiasts, is that you don’t have to be a COD student to join a trip. (Technically, if you’re not already enrolled, you pay a $20 application fee and COD makes you an official student for the trip, but everyone pays the tuition rates they’d pay if they were permanent residents of COD’s district).

I’m certain that I’d learn more about severe meteorology, which would help me be a more effective storm spotter.

The total cost for someone who isn’t already a student, therefore, is $1,290. That fee includes a minimum of eight nights of hotel stay;
transportation costs while on the trip; teaching and instruction of severe weather analysis, spotting techniques, and other meteorological phenomena; and three hours of college credit.

That price seems to compare favorably to those of some of the commercial tornado tour companies out there. Plus, everyone participating on a COD trip can expect to learn about thunderstorms, tornadoes and storm chasing from a respected instructor, such as Prof. Paul Sirvatka. COD has been taking students out storm chasing since 1989, enabling it to offer, as its web site reads, “more experience than any of the major storm chasing tour operators that we are aware of.”

I’ve never taken one of these trips. In fact, I’m not all that interested in storm chasing, although I’ve been a SKYWARN® storm spotter for more than three decades. I can see, however, some advantages to a trip like this for someone like me. I’m certain that I’d learn more about severe meteorology, which would help me be a more effective storm spotter. In addition, the experience of watching storms produce tornadoes would help me better understand what to look for when I’m at home making reports to the National Weather Service.

To learn more about COD’s storm chasing trips, visit the program’s dedicated website at http://weather.cod.edu/chasing/.

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