Weather Wise Kids: Storm Chasers


Sarah Kate Shuman, 10, wants to know more about storm chasers.

Twister… the 1996 movie that made storm chasing cool.  It sparked an interest in meteorology in both kids and adults alike.  While it was definitely entertaining, it wasn’t very realistic.

In the movie, the stars stand in an Oklahoma cornfield.  The wind whips their hair back and forth.  Debris flies toward them.  And yet they stand there in awe of an oncoming tornado.

In real life, a storm chaser is a scientist who tracks storms, mainly tornadoes.  They do this to try and figure out how they form.  Most do it for science, to help develop better early warning systems.  And most do it from a safe distance.

Some do it to try and get the best video and then sell it to the highest bidder.

A recent tornado outbreak in Oklahoma produced some of the best storm chasing video ever.  While many were left amazed, others said the chasers were getting too close.

Whether it’s a job or a hobby, it takes many years to become a safe and successful storm chaser.  And sometimes this isn’t even enough.

Back in 2013, a group of men who devoted their lives to hunting powerful storms died in the middle of the chase.  An unpredictable storm turned on them.  The tornado picked up their car and threw it half a mile.  When the car was found, it was only 60 to 70 percent of its normal size.  These scientists simply wanted to save lives, and they gave the ultimate sacrifice.







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