What’s Challenging Besides the Forecast?

nebraska_mud

Car covered in mud after getting stuck in rural Nebraska. June 1st, 2014.

“What’s the biggest challenge you face with storm chasing, besides the forecast and storm itself?” I would have to say that the single hardest thing comes down to road navigation. While road networks are generally good out in the Plains and Midwest (grid layout), a lot of their farm and county roads are dirt. There have been many times that my car has gotten stuck (sometimes for hours at a time) on a muddy road. Not only is this frustrating, but it can also be dangerous if you get stuck in a rural area with no way to get out. Most towing companies will not tow you from a rural farm road, especially if there is flooding involved.

Besides mud and flooding, road navigation in general is important. If you head down into parts of Texas or north-central Nebraska, the road layouts are not always friendly. You may go 10 or 15 miles (or more) before your next useful turn. Some rivers have limited access to bridges, so hope that you are close to a bridge that is accessible, otherwise your entire storm chase could be ruined.

There’s always concerns about downed trees, power lines and even animals. Yes, once in Oklahoma I had to wait several minutes for a large group of farm animals to get out of the road. I also had a trampoline fly across the road in front of me on that same storm chase:

An honorable mention for another big challenge is getting the best storm chase footage. If you chase alone, you know how difficult it can be to navigate, track radar and try to get quality photos and videos. It is usually far from easy. Even some of the most experienced storm chasers will sometimes miss out on the best storms. Remember, this means being in the right place at the right time! Anyone can get lucky and stumble upon a storm, but some storm chase setups are so difficult that chasers will often end up in the wrong place.

These added challenges make storm chasing even more fun and rewarding once you do find something amazing.

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Quincy

Quincy is a meteorologist and storm chaser who travels around the country documenting and researching severe weather. He has on-air experience with stations such as WTNH-TV in New Haven, CT and WREX-TV in Rockford, IL. He was most recently a digital meteorologist for weather.com.

After achieving his B.S. degree in Meteorology at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) in 2009, he returned as a University Assistant to help produce weather broadcasts. He also gave guest lectures and worked on website design.

He has over nine years of professional weather forecasting experience and his forecasts have been featured in newspapers and on radio stations in multiple states.

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