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Tornado Scientists Butt Heads With Storm Chasers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the any-way-the-wind-blows-doesn't-really-matter-to-me dept.

Earth 402

An anonymous reader writes "Tornado researchers say amateurs — inspired by movies like Twister and shows like Storm Chasers — are getting in their way, hampering science and creating hazards. 'Hundreds of camera-toting amateurs in cars ended up chasing the same storms as a fleet of scientific vehicles during the high-profile research project, called Vortex2, which wrapped up data collection this week. At times the line of traffic caused the Midwestern roads to look like the freeways of Los Angeles, said Roger Wakimoto, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, during a briefing for reporters this week. "I worry about this as a safety hazard," Mr. Wakimoto said. "These people were blocking our escape routes because of the sheer number of cars."' Storm chasers say they have as much right to watch storms as Ph.D.s."

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402 comments

Big fucking deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617280)

See subject.

Re:Big fucking deal. (4, Insightful)

earls (1367951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617324)

Agreed, the scientists started somewhere, just because the "amateurs" aren't being compensated and don't have a million dollar chase vehicle doesn't mean they have any less right to follow the storms - fuck off.

Re:Big fucking deal. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617422)

Yeah, but the chasers are just there to go "hyurp, issa terrnado!" while the scientists are there to learn about tornadoes and how they form so they can save thousands of lives.

Re:Big fucking deal. (5, Funny)

earls (1367951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617462)

Silly rednecks, you would think they'd know that staying in their trailer park would grant them the best view.

Re:Big fucking deal. (5, Funny)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617664)

and kill two birds with one storm

Re:Big fucking deal. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618152)

From the news reports, it is clear that tornadoes actually swerve towards trailer parks... I'm still waiting for the scientists to explain this phenomenom.

Re:Big fucking deal. (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618046)

It doesn't matter, the roads are public and this is America. Just because they have a PHD doesn't suddenly give them more rights than anyone else. As long as the police don't tell them to leave (and talking to cop friends after Twister came out they think BOTH the scientists and storm chasers are fucking nuts) then the scientists can just learn to deal or go somewhere else.

Welcome to America, where public is public and we ALL have the right to use the roads, even in times of emergency. And what if I am getting the fuck away from one, and a scientists blocks my way? They are creating just as much of a hazard as the storm chasers, and the little roads in places like OK and AR simply are gonna be crowded...period.

Re:Big fucking deal. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617680)

I doubt that many of these folk will become scientists.
Why they have the right to be stupid let's be honest.
1. This is a dangerous activity.
2. They have caused issues with scientists trying to do proper data collection.
3. They could cause problems for first responders trying to help people.
So yes the have the right but is it ethical or even morally right to get in the way of real scientists?
I would say that most of these folk should get the heck off the rode and let the professionals have their crack at getting real data that might actually end up helping people.
Otherwise they are just using their right to be dumb jerks to hurt the advancement of science for in exchange for some thrill seeking.

Re:Big fucking deal. (-1, Offtopic)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618110)

real scientists?

Ok I have to take issue here. A degree does not make you a scientist. Nor does money, or reputation. Some of the greatest breakthroughs were by very curious individuals. I just hate this University mentality that you are not worth anything unless you paid dues.

Re:Big fucking deal. (1)

Smoke2Joints (915787) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618136)

Lets see.. maybe because storm chasers have been doing it for far longer than scientists (on the order of many many decades), and have it down to a fine art. They have contributed greatly to our understanding of severe thunderstorm dynamics, more than most scientists have, Im afraid. Im talking about real storm chasers here, the ones that know a thing or two about atmospheric physics, reading the weather signs, and taking appropriate action. Scientists, seeing their success, are now jumping on the bandwagon, and claiming a divine right to the roads - get out of town.

They may have a (weak) point about the real amateurs, but they really do not have any right to claim the roads, nor the storms.

Re:Big fucking deal. (5, Informative)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617730)

The message missed by all:

FTFA - While people have no legal obligation to yield to radar trucks, he said that he felt the amateurs should have given way as a courtesy... it's just polite..

We do encourage that, don't we? Or is it fuck everybody?

Re:Big fucking deal. (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617810)

The message missed by all:

FTFA - ...

Slashdoters don't RTFA, and you expect amateurs to do so?

Re:Big fucking deal. (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617902)

It's fuck everybody.

Did you miss the meeting?

Re:Big fucking deal. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617330)

Mind if I block all the fire exits in your building and disable the smoke detectors?

Re:Big fucking deal. (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617358)

Who's building?

Since when did "Scientists" gain possession of the roads?

Re:Big fucking deal. (5, Funny)

earls (1367951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617408)

I AM BUILDING, thank you very much.

Re:Big fucking deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617598)

Who's building?

More importantly, WHO IS PHONE?

Re:Big fucking deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617804)

I don't know who is phone, but ipod.

Re:Big fucking deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617744)

The building I live in? Or work in? Or just happen to be walking through? Who said anything about the scientists owning the roads?

What about someone who blocks a road during an evacuation? Granted the scientists are engaging in hazardous research, but why disregard their complaint that random idiots chasing storms are putting the scientists in additional danger?

Re:Big fucking deal. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617920)

The point is that the roads are not the property of the scientists. They might just as well complain about people trying to avoid the storm by using the roads. Perhaps the scientists are interfering with proper public escape routes.

Why assume anyone out on the roads are random idiots?
Many are film makers producing documentary TV shows.
Some are probably competing scientists.

Re:Big fucking deal. (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617988)

Since when did firemen? Would you support this behavior in pyromaniacs?

Re:Big fucking deal. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618132)

Scientists engaging in (largely redundant) research are not an emergency service.

 

Re:Big fucking deal. (1)

Smoke2Joints (915787) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618154)

The fire service responds to emergency situations. Storm chaser scientists are just getting somewhere quickly to record data.

Re:Big fucking deal. (1)

johnshirley (709044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617518)

A private building does not equate to a public road. All licensed drivers in properly licensed vehicles may use public roads and highways. If you don't like the rolling road block ahead of you, choose a different road or get used to the fact that those people in front of you have the same rights that you do.

Re:Big fucking deal. (2, Interesting)

sleeping143 (1523137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617610)

Those people have the right to use the road, but that doesn't give them the right to recklessly block the road from being used by others, especially if that use is to escape from a life-threatening situation. At that point they become as much of a reckless driver as someone texting while driving or going excessively fast.

Re:Big fucking deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617912)

And who's to say it's not the scientist blocking said road/escape for the other motororist. If neither one of them likes the situation, they can turn around and leave. It's entirely voluntary to keep going. It's a public transportation route, "scientists" don't get special rights on it, only designated emergency services.

Re:Big fucking deal. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617926)

...this is a rant just dripping with irony.

No! We should be the only ones allowed to flaunt the law or good sensee.

Re:Big fucking deal. (0, Redundant)

Doctor Morbius (1183601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617332)

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Storm chasers say they have as much right to watch (4, Interesting)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617308)

Hmm, sure ... as long as your stupidity doesn't get the Phd folk killed.

I'm amazed we haven't had a fail of epic proportions yet where a storm changes directions and sucks up a bunch of them.

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (4, Insightful)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617374)

Even if it does get them killed, every last one of the bunch stuck in traffic went there knowing they could get blocked in by other people. Who says the PhD types couldn't contribute to some amateurs getting killed? There's a storm that can put a toothpick through an oak tree: everyone running towards it is responsible for their own consequences.

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617460)

Even if it does get them killed, every last one of the bunch stuck in traffic went there knowing they could get blocked in by other people. Who says the PhD types couldn't contribute to some amateurs getting killed? There's a storm that can put a toothpick through an oak tree: everyone running towards it is responsible for their own consequences.

Well, clearly the PHD's just need to call "dibs" on the tornados, blocking the "amateurs" from chasing.

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (1)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617656)

Causing a traffic jam near a storm that as you mention, can put a toothpick through an oak tree, falls well below any reasonable threshold for "intelligence" never mind responsibility.

Perhaps the thing to do would be to use an off-road motorcycle and go for the big score - a dozen cars with nowhere to go getting scooped up and chucked.

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (5, Insightful)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617754)

Given that the amateurs are just there for kicks, they should know and accept that they are willingly putting themselves into a risky situation.

The PhDs also know that they are willingly putting themselves into a risky situation, but they are doing so to increase the sum of human knowledge, which makes it slightly more worthwhile.

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (5, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617914)

Who says the PhD types couldn't contribute to some amateurs getting killed?

Well, the PhDs have a little thing called KNOWING WHAT THE FUCK THEY'RE DOING.

There's a storm that can put a toothpick through an oak tree: everyone running towards it is responsible for their own consequences.

But apparently not the consequences their ignorance and sense of entitlement force on others.

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617974)

> Well, the PhDs have a little thing called KNOWING WHAT THE FUCK THEY'RE DOING.

You assume. And you assume that the amateurs don't know what they're doing.

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (4, Insightful)

EricWright (16803) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618014)

Are you sure? I have a PhD and sometimes, I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. I'm just making it up as I go along...

Lucky for society my PhD isn't related to my job.

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (1)

jaygridley (1016588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617502)

Considering one of the so called profesionals referenced in the article (Wurman) got chased by a tornado a couple years ago near Stuttgart, AR? And it was all caught on tape too for his TV show STORM CHASERS.

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (1)

jaygridley (1016588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617634)

I should note this was with only his group & Discovery Channel around...

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617750)

Hmm, sure ... as long as your stupidity doesn't get the Phd folk killed.

I'm amazed we haven't had a fail of epic proportions yet where a storm changes directions and sucks up a bunch of them.

We would know, but most of the people involved died in mid tweet. Besides the others were too busy running away.

Re:Storm chasers say they have as much right to wa (2, Funny)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618112)

I'm amazed we haven't had a fail of epic proportions yet where a storm changes directions and sucks up a bunch of them.

Now that would be some good TV!

In Soviet Russia, storm chases you

Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617338)

Amateur storm chasers are just unemployed adrenaline junkies that are all balls and no forehead.

Re:Idiots (1, Funny)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617558)

dey took errr steerrrrmssss!!!!!

Butt heads (0, Offtopic)

Aeros (668253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617348)

nice!

It's a whirlwind... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617356)

...of controversy.

Re:It's a whirlwind... (1)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617620)

Yes...these issues seem very twisted.

Re:It's a whirlwind... (1)

gonzonista (790137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617856)

but the arguments are circular.

Re:It's a whirlwind... (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617958)

bah, it'll all be dust in the wind

Simple solution (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617370)

Shouldn't these "amateurs" have a clause in their insurance which automatically cancels the insurance if they do something as mind-bogglingly stupid as driving towards tornadoes?

Re:Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617416)

probably not because there are no clauses for something as mind-bogglingly stupid as driving towards telephone poles (which usually have electric lines on them, not telephone... so why do we call them that?)

Re:Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617638)

Because "Power Poles" or "Electric Poles" sounds stupid.

Re:Simple solution (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617640)

I'm pretty certain that if your insurance company found out you were intentionally driving towards telephone pole, they would cancel your insurance. Incidentally, those poles were originally used as telegraph poles, and were probably used for telephone wire before they were used for AC power transmission.

Re:Simple solution (1)

Qantravon (1466953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617434)

Would that be the "Natural Selection" clause?

Re:Simple solution (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617866)

Yet another hazard of an uninsured motorist.

--

His final expression was one of extreme annoyance. (Bored of the Rings)

Freudian Slip? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617378)

For some reason I misread the title as Tornado Scientists Butthurt About Storm Chasers. I can't imagine why.

Re:Freudian Slip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617508)

you'll learn to read one day

You know what some will say.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617388)

1) Those elitist egg heads are doing something that should be done, and done better by the common man.
2) The evil government is doing something nefarious and we're going to keep an eye on them

Bullshit! (2, Funny)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617400)

Bullshit, those storm chasers are not motivated by movies and shows like Twister and Storm Chasers. Everybody knows they are motivated by xkcd. See: http://xkcd.org/752/ [xkcd.org]

Yes, I too am inspired by crappy movies (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617402)

why just the other day I was inspired to become a pilot after watching Iron Eagle III, and the week before that I took up the ancient Japanese art of Ninjitsu after watching American Ninja

The problem is not the chasers... (5, Informative)

skivvies (979561) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617410)

As a chaser, emergency first responder, and media chaser... I can say that the problem is NOT the chasers but the "Chaser-chasers". The article references May 19th in Oklahoma where most commonly you could find local folks with their kids and dogs in the back of the family pickup truck taking pictures with their phones and point and shoots. Regardless of what the masses in Oklahoma think... just because you have an iPhone app with radar does NOT classify you as a "chaser"! On top of VORTEX2's caravan of 40+ vehicles, you have NBC/The Weather Channel following the VORTEX2 project that are not included with that count. You've also got the Discovery Channel's team of production vehicles coupled with the "Dominator" and TIV2, which both were captured passing miles worth of vehicles on a two lane highway in a no passing zone! Throw a few tour groups, emergency management, a couple media chasers in the mix... and you've got yourself a problem on the roadways. But those numbers nowhere add up to the amount of local yahoos who gathered up the family and put themselves in more harm than anything. This situation defiantly makes me think twice of chasing in Oklahoma again.

The problem is not the chaser chasers... (5, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617514)

but the "chaser-chaser" chasers. They put the "fun" back into "funnel".

Re:The problem is not the chasers... (2, Interesting)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617572)

Even if you made it illegal to chase storms without a storm chasing permit
or some other silly government drama ppl would still do it.

I wish you the best, maybe you guys can make a UAV to chase the
storms for you and that way you can back off to a safe distance
and fly it remote like the military folks do.

You may have some heavy gear that will not scale to a UAV though
and that would be a show stopper.

Good Luck getting the locals off the road !

I go underground when one of those things are near.

If you outlaw driving at tornadoes.... (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617752)

only outlaws will drive at tornadoes!

....

works for me...



we need a word for when this happens: torna-doh!

Re:The problem is not the chasers... (1)

WeatherGod (1726770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617796)

I go underground when one of those things are near.

You are one of the smarter ones... It is sad that people don't understand just how bad things can get. I saw the damage from the May 10th storms in OK first hand.

Ever see a boat wrapped around a tree... 30 feet from shore?

Re:The problem is not the chasers... (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617934)

I thought it was monumentally stupid when Oklahoma City TV stations sent-out people in vans to try and catch a tornado on camera. It served no real purpose since most of the time I couldn't see anything except lots of rain.

And as for the amateurs with their family cameras, I figure that people own their own bodies. That includes the right to abort it.

Just as much right? (5, Insightful)

theghost (156240) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617452)

Perhaps, in a painfully literal sense, but claiming that your desire to seek an adrenaline high is just as valid as their desire to do research that will save lives is high asshattery.

It's Oklahoma (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617540)

They're pretty sure all that science stuff is an elitist, commie, atheist plot to steal their vital bodily fluids and turn them all gay.

Re:Just as much right? (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617646)

I'd agree with you, if it wasn't so much fucking fun.

Re:Just as much right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617718)

From my perspective it is valid, for everyone that gets gobbled up by a tornado means we have one less idiot roaming the streets. Because everyone knows idiots are much more dangerous and destructive then tornados, its only a matter of numbers since we have several billion idiots on this earth. I think we are going to need more tornados....

Re:Just as much right? (1)

JJTJR (883367) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617792)

I somewhat agree but I do believe asshattery is not against the law. In which case, the scientists are really just complaining that people looking for excitement are getting in the way of science. If this is a legitimate safety problem then the scientists should be lobbying the relevant lawmakers to make it a punishable crime to drive towards a tornado unless you have a permit for scientific purposes. Then they should apply for and get said permits and then they would have ever right in the world to complain. Media stories of them complaining may set the ground work for this I guess but it comes off as a little whiny.

Re:Just as much right? (1, Interesting)

toby34a (944439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617820)

The entire thing about "storm chasing saves lives" is complete bunk to give the PhD's moral authority over the amateur chasers who are in it for the thrill. Currently, warning times are around 15 minutes, with a fairly high false alarm rate. The miss rate on a tornado warning is actually quite low, due to the effect of the deployment of WSR-88D's on the national grid. As the WSR-88D's are upgraded to a dual-polarmetric configuration, we should be able to see more development and perhaps improve warning times. Scientists in the field are there to research atmospheric development for an interesting phenomena that we don't know all that much about. These field campaigns get a lot of press because they are neat- "Hey, we chase after tornadoes for a living". However, while they do produce actual science, the "saving lives" stuff gets overblown. Chuck Doswell (one of the original storm chasers) has addressed this topic on his blog: http://cadiiitalk.blogspot.com/2010/05/are-chasers-saving-lives.html [blogspot.com] If there's not a use for good field work in science, and that's not reason enough to do this field work, then meteorologists are just boned.

Re:Just as much right? (1, Insightful)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617832)

Maybe, but look at it another way. Maybe doing things (that give you a profound experience) is as important as finding things out. Now, I bet for your average slashdotter, finding things out is one of the most profound experiences you can have, but not for everyone.

It's very easy to get on your high horse and proclaim SCIENCE!, but in the end, what is science for? It is for making living better or more interesting. Maybe for these people storm-chasing is a big part of what makes living interesting.

I think we should avoid making science stifle life.

Re:Just as much right? (1, Troll)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617842)

This is the United States of America! Every man is created equal! My desire to have a good time is equal to your desire to learn about storms and prevent deaths in the future! Don't tread on me!

Helicopter (1)

diablovision (83618) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617480)

Use a helicopter....what could possibly go wrong?

Re:Helicopter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617654)

Been done. Very well in fact.

A MN News helicopter recorded a tornado in 1986. Mad Max Messmer was the pilot. They captured amazing images of a tornado over it's life span.

I still have a VHS tape of that... somewhere...

Morons in Diguise (1)

Shogun37 (1835726) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617578)

It's evolution in action. By all means, let's get more of these "amateur scientists" in there, and get more stupid out of the gene pool.

Twister?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617584)

Tornado researchers say amateurs — inspired by movies like Twister

Really? Twister?!? Did you ever see that movie?

I think anyone who is inspired by that movie should go chase a tornado. The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

Don't worry (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617588)

Darwin will clean up this mess soon enough. These people will NOT be passing their curiosity onto their children.

Re:Don't worry (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617822)

That cuts both ways though if it's putting the actual scientists in danger.

Re:Don't worry (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618040)

You realize that to truly qualify for a Darwin award, you have to do the stupid shit before you've actually had any children, don't you? Unfortunately, most morons have already bred.

Science would be better served... (1)

Will Steinhelm (1822174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617592)

If the scientists didn't talk down on everyone else... The Vortex2 project was the one that was in "Storm Chasers" building up all the hype... well what did they expect?! I'm sure they have a passion for what they are doing, but they're kind of coming off looking like pricks.... just say'in.

Re:Science would be better served... (1)

WeatherGod (1726770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617722)

If the scientists didn't talk down on everyone else... The Vortex2 project was the one that was in "Storm Chasers" building up all the hype... well what did they expect?! I'm sure they have a passion for what they are doing, but they're kind of coming off looking like pricks.... just say'in.

Storm Chasers is not affiliated with Vortex2, for both 2009/2010 field campaigns. The only link is that Josh Wurman in the first few seasons is a part of Vortex2. However, while he while he was a member of Vortex2, he did not participate in Storm Chasers.

Re:Science would be better served... (1)

Will Steinhelm (1822174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617848)

Whatever... the "Storm Chasers" show had several episodes where they showed the IMAX movie guys pitted against the Vortex 2 folks... even filmed their meetings... every time the big rig with the radar was shown, they got "Vortex 2" into the conversation as much as possible...

Seriously, people? (1)

GhostGuy (708750) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617616)

Siding with the amateurs? People need to get the fuck out of the way and let the real scientists do their jobs. If you're not doing anything important, get the fuck out of the way and let people with actual instrumentation work. Yes, I understand that everyone started somewhere. Yes, I understand that legally every licensed driver has the rights to the public roads. But really? Is looking at the pretty tornado so important that it's okay to get in the way of actual scientific research? No.

Tornadoes are DANGEROUS (4, Interesting)

starseeker (141897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617740)

I always flinch when I see images of roads clogged with folks chasing a tornadic storm either just for the thrill or for the purposes of filming it - doing so is a Bad Idea and sooner or later is going to get some people (possibly a LOT of people) needlessly killed.

Professional scientific researchers have training, equipment and experience. They are fully aware of the danger the storm presents, and are risking it to perform scientific studies for the purpose of increasing human knowledge about these systems. They know what they're doing, they have things like mobile doppler radar to help them keep track of the situation, and aren't out there for cheap thrills.

People, you need to respect these storms. Sure, they produce awesome video. Great. Watch the Discovery show or the latest PBS special - don't go charging into the middle of danger! Does watching snake handlers on television make you want to go hunt up a rattler and start juggling it??? These storms are DANGEROUS. People DIE in these things, and cars are not a safe place to be. Particularly in heavy traffic.

Scientific study of these storms is a legitimate activity, and is more legitimate (and deserves precedence over) thrill seekers and people looking to make a cool home movie. If it comes down to it, maybe we should license storm chasers and fine anyone else who tries it - send some police cars along with the scientific teams. Make their special status explicit under the law, if that's what it takes, because people seeking knowledge to help make better warning systems are surely more important than cheap thrills for people with no common sense or survival instincts.

Re:Tornadoes are DANGEROUS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32618130)

Professional scientific researchers have training, equipment and experience. They are fully aware of the danger the storm presents, and are risking it to perform scientific studies for the purpose of increasing human knowledge about these systems. They know what they're doing, they have things like mobile doppler radar to help them keep track of the situation, and aren't out there for cheap thrills.

What about their camera crew buddies? Aren't they presenting a risk as well? If it's that big of a deal then none of them should go.

Oh, that's right, camera crews = research grants... I see where this is going now.

One ice cream truck driver slams another ice cream truck driver because he's a "professional" and anyone else is just asking for those poor little kids to get run over when they hear the bells ring.

Seriously. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If it's that dangerous, he needs to drop his TV show.

can't feel sorry for them.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617742)

Sorry can't feel bad for Joshua Wurman, considering he was and is the person in the storm chasers series on Discovery TV.. If he wants to complain, then he shouldn't have promoted it with a TV show...

let 'em do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617764)

i live in tornado alley, and it is common for people to chase storms around here (i also live around the biggest meteorological college in the country, so we get a lot of meteorology majors who do this crap too).

i say let 'em do it.

it's not just phDs out chasing. it is a million guys who work for local news stations. if they get to overhype and over-sensationalize these events, then they get to deal with the crowds. if a raindrop hits the ground between April and June, they cut away from normal programming for 4 hours to talk about it. they bring this all on themselves.

if phDs are doing research, then let them get money in their grants to get security escorts for their research.

"let's go to val in the field..."

Storm chasers spot tornadoes. (0, Redundant)

Anonymatt (1272506) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617782)

Enthusiasts can spot tornadoes and call in reports, potentially saving lives.

Re:Storm chasers spot tornadoes. (1)

Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617840)

Pretty sure anyone with eyes or ears can spot a tornado, bro.

Dr. Joshua Wurman.... (4, Insightful)

malakai (136531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617788)

What this article fails to mention is one of the reasons Vortex2 even got a go was partially because of the success and semi-stardom Dr. Josh Wurman got from participating in "Storm Chasers".

The publicity that show generated for them no doubt helped lube the federal funding money chute.

Besides, you can't just declare martial law and saw "No one can storm chase". There's no solution that will ever be enacted that ends with making it illegal, so you may as well stop bitching about it and simply work with the other guys. I'm amazed there isn't a federal call center or something for these chasers to all phone in to, and a website with realtime dopplar radar provided to them. The faster these guys report a tornado on a ground, the easier it is for the weather people to push a button for a siren or some other event.

This just sounds like sour grapes. You could see the annoyance on the part of the "funded" scientist when that little no-name crew successfully flew a model airplane around a tornado and dropped sensors into it. The fact that was done on a budget put together by selling Tornado videos to news channels sounds like a win/win for me. Took none of my tax dollars, and reaped novel data.

"So what" is what I say (0, Troll)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617818)

Why do the "legitimate" scientists think that they are any better, deserving, or even more fit than the "amateur" scientists? Or even the thrill junkie? What gives them the temerity to try to exclude others from natural phenomenon. I think of myself as scientifically minded, but science is not the only thing. Some people study oceanographic waves, some people surf. Don't like it, study cryptozoology, no one will bother you there.

Science Damn Them!!! (1)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617886)

These "amateurs" must learn to respect the almighty power and authority of Science and those that do it's works! They must not interfere with the great works of our Scientists for they operate under the authority of the power of Logic. Science damn these tornado chasing fools for their misaken ways!

What a joke (3, Insightful)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617908)

I stopped reading the article when I read "Dr. Wurman said that amateur storm chasers rarely offer useful information"

It always bothers me when people with PhD's discount the information provided by amateurs. More than 1/2 the PhD's I have worked with tend to have a belief that if you do not have a degree in the subject you can not possibly provide any useful research data or that there is no way you can know what you are talking about.

If they are worried about the numbers of amateur storm chasers maybe they should have a conference with them and train them in proper data collection and where to report it. Then the people they think are "getting in the way" could be helpful and add to the body of scientific knowledge.

But then they would have to admit that anyone can do science and not just the PhD's. We can't have that, we have to pack the class rooms so they can get paid.

/me steps down from his soap box and kicks it back to the wall where his degrees hang.

Re:What a joke (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618108)

Dr. Wurman said that amateur storm chasers rarely offer useful information. I'd hazard a guess that Dr. Wurman is incapable of installing a car stereo in his vehicle by himself, let alone the tons on equipment that they use to monitor storms. That would all be done by technicians, not PhD's. (The "Engineer of the Year" at the college I went to, with a major in Electronics Engineering, needed help to install a cheap car stereo in his car.)

Wait, isn't this supposed to be one of the... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617962)

VALUABLE SERVICES that Ham Radio provides? You mean they're causing more problems than solutions? What a shocker!

Once again hams prove that they are a poor substitute for the professionals!
Show this to your elected officials! Show them that ugly antenna farm down the street! Show them the interference in your devices!
Show them your rage! Together we can get the hams off OUR airwaves and put them to OUR use!
There is no reason that hams should occupy millions of dollars worth of valuable and scarce radio spectrum for free!
Make them pay or make them go! Let's put the airwaves to WORK FOR US, the citizenry, instead of used for the leisure of rich republicans!

TALK TO YOUR CONGRESSMEN! END HAM RADIO NOW!

Missing punctuation (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617980)

Shouldn't that be, "Tornado Scientists: Butt Heads With Storm Chasers"?

A Free Country (1)

CompressedAir (682597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618020)

It is, still, a free country. If storm chasers are interfering with your data collection, you are just going to have to factor them into your plans.

You can ask them to stay out of your way, but that's all you can do: ask.

This could make for a new reality show! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32618052)

"Tornado Experts versus Average Joes"

Stay tuned for tomorrow's episode when Dr. Johnson's pursuit of an F2 comes to a crashing halt after two joes get into an accident along the way:

"What the [bleep] is going on here!?? [bleep] [bleep] Get your [bleep]-ing cars out of the way!!!"

Sidepanel: Dr. Johnson: "I feel really frustrated right now...umm....the tornado could dissipate at any moment...[camera cuts to tornado]...but we can't get our...uhhh...vehicles going because of this accident....you know it's..ahh..frustrating. [camera pans across upset staffers] You know, very frustrating."

professionals (1)

beadwindow (1578749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618142)

If they are professionals , they will find a way around the problem.
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