11-24 June 2017
Storm chasing is, in relative terms, a new kind of tourism. Television shows like In Search Of… (1978) and movies like Twister (1996) introduced professional storm chasing to the wider public, and over the last twenty years or so, a number of tour companies have sprung up offering people the chance to join in with the chase.
I only learned of this possibility when a local forecaster joined a chase in 2014. I tried to get information from one company in 2015 but never received a reply. So, I did a little more research and contacted Tempest Tours, one of the best reviewed companies on the net. This time I got a prompt response and answers to all my questions. I signed up for Tour Six, an eleven day chase in June, 2017 and for their upcoming Solar Eclipse Tour in August, 2017.
Unlike the coach tours I’ve taken, this one has no set itinerary, no hotel list and no included meals. For that matter, it can’t even guarantee that you will get to sit down for dinner. The itinerary is dictated solely by the weather.
We drove more than four thousand miles through Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. We watched clouds grow right before our eyes and the sun light them up as it set. We stood in awe of silent lightning under the clouds and the Milky Way above them. We listened to the hail bounce against the van and thunder split the sky. We stood against hurricane force winds by day and tried to catch fireflies by night. We bought lemonade from kids on the street and explored abandoned farms. We met wonderful people and forged friendships.
And yes, we saw a tornado, maybe. It may have only been a dustnado, but it made for a pretty picture.
All my photos can be found on my flickr page.