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Storm Chasers, do they serve any legitimate purpose?

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#1
Over at hamsexy, it's obvious how they feel. But is there another side to this? Is HS just putting up youtube links to the worst of the worst, while ignoring vehicle installs which might actually be useful for something, or are storm chasers bad news in general, driving rolling road hazards waiting to happen, and doing nothing actually productive?
 

rdale

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#2
Not sure what HS has to do with it... But plenty of lives are saved by stormchasing. I'm not quite sure what you mean about "rolling road hazards" -- most of the time other than an extra antenna, there's nothing you can tell from the outside of a chaser's car that makes it any different than any other. Usually they are less noticable than the typical ham car!
 
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rdale

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#5
True, but whackers cover about 1% of all storm chasers. I've seen many hams with cars that have more crap on them. It doesn't mean hams should be considered dangerous to drive behind. Do a search there for some volunteer firefighters -- some of their setups give me seizures just watching all the lights flash ;)
 

poltergeisty

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#6
Here's an example. I would be very concerned if I were behind this in high winds:
YouTube - Our Storm Chase Vehicles
Is this like the storm chaser whacker mobile or what? Shouldn't that stuff be modular?
Meaning you use it stationary?

Is there a certain lic. or something you get to do this? The lightbar???


Usually they are less noticable than the typical ham car!
I know what you mean. Especially during the summer when fox hunting! :eek:
 
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#8
Why do some storm chasers use flashing lights/light bars on their vehicles, what is their purpose?
For the same reasons anyone else who uses lightbars and additional lighting uses them... increased visibility to traffic when the vehicle is a hazard. As with anything else, it can be taken to excess.

And, just like anything else, there are whackers, but they are an extremely small percentage...

Storm chasing does have its purposes. Protection of life and property is first and foremost achieved by accurate weather reporting and teamwork between weather professionals and spotters, followed closely by on-the-ball emergency services personnel. Accurate storm and tornado position data and reports of conditions and damage ensure the proper resources are directed to where they are most necessary and avoid emergency responses to unaffected areas.

Also, in the midwest, chasers provide vital data and footage for weather research. Even the most advanced research team cannot be in two places at once. More eyes, more video equipment, and more instruments means more data and better data that can help us learn more about these weather events and hopefully in the future predict them better. Even a five minute warning would be better than the 0 - 60 seconds most places get because we couldn't predict where it was going to hit.
 

iMONITOR

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#9
For the same reasons anyone else who uses lightbars and additional lighting uses them... increased visibility to traffic when the vehicle is a hazard. As with anything else, it can be taken to excess.

And, just like anything else, there are whackers, but they are an extremely small percentage...

Storm chasing does have its purposes. Protection of life and property is first and foremost achieved by accurate weather reporting and teamwork between weather professionals and spotters, followed closely by on-the-ball emergency services personnel. Accurate storm and tornado position data and reports of conditions and damage ensure the proper resources are directed to where they are most necessary and avoid emergency responses to unaffected areas.

Also, in the midwest, chasers provide vital data and footage for weather research. Even the most advanced research team cannot be in two places at once. More eyes, more video equipment, and more instruments means more data and better data that can help us learn more about these weather events and hopefully in the future predict them better. Even a five minute warning would be better than the 0 - 60 seconds most places get because we couldn't predict where it was going to hit.
I understand what you are saying regarding the purpose of a storm chaser, but I don't think any of that qualifies them under the law to use such emergency lighting/warning devices on public highways. I know the state of Michigan has some clearly defined laws pertaining to the use of such lights. If their vehicle is presenting any kind of a hazard on a public highway then I think they would be breaking the law.

Or am I wrong about this? Are there actual laws on the books regarding storm chasers having any additional rights or exceptions over any other driver/vehicle on the road?
 
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#10
Why do some storm chasers use flashing lights/light bars on their vehicles, what is their purpose?
Bill

I will tell you the reason that I plan on using lights. 1) Increased visibility. Let me explain. The reason for lights is to let people know that you are there. If for whatever reason you get stuck in a hail spike, or torrential rains every little bit is going to help. I do not plan a lightbar, but everything on my truck will be able to be seen once the lights come on.

2) Skywarn Spotter are recruited by the National Weather Service, and is coordinated locally usually by the Emergency Operations Centers. Therefore we are doing a duty to the community, and as long as lights are used in the correct manner I see no issues with them. To be driving down a public road full boar with lights coming from every direction is not right and in most states is illegal. However if you are pulled off to the side of the road you are no longer on a public road and therefore the lights can be used. I know a lot of people use lights like they are going out of style. I am not one of those persons, but even our EMD issues us Amber lights!! Michigan has a law against them, however I doubt seriously that a Law Enforcement officer would bother me if I am doing a duty and can prove it to a community.

3) Lights can and do save you at times. Lights are not meant to be used all the times, just in times were you need a little bit more exposure due to a potentially dangerous situation. Storm spotters/chasers are putting their lives on the line. We are the Eyes and Ears of the Doppler Radar system. Radar can tell you if there is rotation but it cannot 100% tell you if there is a tornado there. Storm Spotters fill that role. Most storm spotters are Ham Radio Operators and therefore are in direct communications with a Net Controller from the Emergency Operations Centers and or the National Weather Service themeselves.

Lights are not all that bad. However, they do have to be used properly and in the most efficent manner. Broadcasting what you have only leads to trouble. Then places like Ham Sexy get a hold of it and you become the laughing stock of the world. Again, my lights will not be noticable until they are on and will only be used if they have to be used, otherwise they stay off. Being able to warn other drivers that you are there is inparative. If you can get off the beaten path to an area where traffic is not a concern then great no lights needed, however if your on the side of the road, or for whatever reason in a turning lane or anything like that then you will need some support. Thus the lights are a good tool. They are just another tool in the shed and they have to be used responsibly, and being that responsible should keep you from getting into trouble with the law. Dont tell me about the people that use any other lights other than amber, I am clear on that and witnessed it first hand and that leaves a bad taste in ones mouth.
 

kb2vxa

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#11
To put it simply REAL storm chasers are the eyes of the NWS reporting system and Hamsexy for all intents and purposes is a porn site where anything goes on the forums including language that would make a sailor blush. That doesn't say much for their credibility quotient but no matter, where do you think I get those weird photos from anyway? (;->)
 

rdale

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#12
I understand what you are saying regarding the purpose of a storm chaser, but I don't think any of that qualifies them under the law to use such emergency lighting/warning devices on public highways.
Most states allow for yellow lights by just about anyone... It gives you no special rights. If you overdo it, then you're a whacker.
 
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#13
Bill

I will tell you the reason that I plan on using lights. 1) Increased visibility. Let me explain. The reason for lights is to let people know that you are there. If for whatever reason you get stuck in a hail spike, or torrential rains every little bit is going to help. I do not plan a lightbar, but everything on my truck will be able to be seen once the lights come on.

2) Skywarn Spotter are recruited by the National Weather Service, and is coordinated locally usually by the Emergency Operations Centers. Therefore we are doing a duty to the community, and as long as lights are used in the correct manner I see no issues with them. To be driving down a public road full boar with lights coming from every direction is not right and in most states is illegal. However if you are pulled off to the side of the road you are no longer on a public road and therefore the lights can be used. I know a lot of people use lights like they are going out of style. I am not one of those persons, but even our EMD issues us Amber lights!! Michigan has a law against them, however I doubt seriously that a Law Enforcement officer would bother me if I am doing a duty and can prove it to a community.

3) Lights can and do save you at times. Lights are not meant to be used all the times, just in times were you need a little bit more exposure due to a potentially dangerous situation. Storm spotters/chasers are putting their lives on the line. We are the Eyes and Ears of the Doppler Radar system. Radar can tell you if there is rotation but it cannot 100% tell you if there is a tornado there. Storm Spotters fill that role. Most storm spotters are Ham Radio Operators and therefore are in direct communications with a Net Controller from the Emergency Operations Centers and or the National Weather Service themeselves.

Lights are not all that bad. However, they do have to be used properly and in the most efficent manner. Broadcasting what you have only leads to trouble. Then places like Ham Sexy get a hold of it and you become the laughing stock of the world. Again, my lights will not be noticable until they are on and will only be used if they have to be used, otherwise they stay off. Being able to warn other drivers that you are there is inparative. If you can get off the beaten path to an area where traffic is not a concern then great no lights needed, however if your on the side of the road, or for whatever reason in a turning lane or anything like that then you will need some support. Thus the lights are a good tool. They are just another tool in the shed and they have to be used responsibly, and being that responsible should keep you from getting into trouble with the law. Dont tell me about the people that use any other lights other than amber, I am clear on that and witnessed it first hand and that leaves a bad taste in ones mouth.
I have yet to see on the "Skywarn" card where it says you have a License to have lights on your vehicle.

Common sense, people....

wesct
 

rdale

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#14
I have yet to see on the "Skywarn" card where it says you have a License to have lights on your vehicle.
You don't need any sort of license in most states... Show me where on the "volunteer firefighter" rules it says you need to deck your personal vehicle with so much that it takes a nuclear generator to power it ;)
 
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#15
To put it simply REAL storm chasers are the eyes of the NWS reporting system
I though that was what weather satellites and weather radar were for.

Now I might well be ignorant about this topic, but someone please explain why the NWS needs these guys riding around?

It would seem this falls into the "I need to do SOMETHING to feel important" category, for many of those who for whatever reasons cannot serve in public safety or in the military. An answer without a question.

But please, feel free to educate me on this.
 
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#16
To put it simply REAL storm chasers are the eyes of the NWS reporting system...
Storm chasers or Storm Spotters?

Storm spotters play major role in weather warnings

“Spotters allow us to get information out very rapidly,” said Rice. “They are invaluable to weather news. Without spotters, it’s hard to verify severe weather.”

Rice said the information trained storm spotters call in is very reliable.

Not to be mistaken for storm chasers, Miller said storm spotters don’t even have to leave the comfort of their home to spot severe weather, and they definitely should never chase a storm system.

“Safety is a priority,” explained Miller. “We observe from a distance and relay what we see to the weather service. We don’t try to run down storms. You can step out on your porch and look out and spot a storm.”

Miller also said he doesn’t advise untrained people to go out and try to spot storms.
... and Hamsexy for all intents and purposes is a porn site where anything goes on the forums including language that would make a sailor blush. That doesn't say much for their credibility quotient but no matter, where do you think I get those weird photos from anyway? (;->)
Of that, I'm sure you're probably right!
 

rdale

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#17
I though that was what weather satellites and weather radar were for.
Nope. That helps us with the big picture, finding storms of interest, forecasting movement, etc.

Now I might well be ignorant about this topic, but someone please explain why the NWS needs these guys riding around?
Because nothing can confirm a tornado on the ground other than human eyes... No matter what radar shows us, we don't know for certain if there's a tornado until it's spotted.

Same with hail and high winds. If we had instruments every square mile then maybe the story would be different, but instruments are about 30-60 miles apart so we need to fill the gaps.
 
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#19
Most states allow for yellow lights by just about anyone... It gives you no special rights. If you overdo it, then you're a whacker.
Well, Michigan certainly doesn't allow aftermarket yellow flashing lights for "just about anyone". The law is very specific as to who can have them on their vehicles, and despite often severe weather, storm chasers are not included.

In fact, it's a misdemeanor to merely POSSES a flashing light, of any color, unless you're listed under one of the light law exemptions.
 
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#20
I believe there is a difference here that is not too clear, there are trained spotters that have the knowledge and equipment to do the job. And then there are the ones that are out there in more of the whacker form that do it for the thrill or to say they done it. The TV shows Ive seen kind of mix bag things, you have the trained spotters out there doing a job and you have the others that are out there getting in the way. Vans full of them, strictly there for the thrill or the photo op. I dont see a problem with the legit ones using lights while off the side of the road, we have all been or will be in some kind of blinding storm at one time or another, I cant blame them for wanting some kind of added protection in a situation where most drivers hit the brakes and then the ditch to stop due to poor visibility. To the trained ones that leave their home and family to help protect everyone my hat is off to you. The others just need to do just the opposite and stay home out of the way.
 
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