Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Value of Chasing #Skywarn

We offer our condolences to the friends and families of those who were tragically killed this week in Oklahoma.

When one views the after shot of what once was a valued item and considers the outcome of hearing chasers emulate Reed Timmer, one surely must conclude that a car, no matter how well built, is not the place to be during a tornado.

When Mike Bettes says, "Very blessed to be headed home tomorrow to see my family", can one conclude that he's happy that he's alive?

This points out the very different line between Chasing and Spotting.  The National Weather Service spends a lot of time training individuals how to watch for storms, how and to whom to report storms, how to be safe around storms, and when to take shelter from storms.  

The program is called Skywarn and it brings responsibility to the local community to train their spotters.  While the value of chasing is understood, how can a community say they are StormReady, when they don't have a spotter program?

Watching the Chaser convergence on I-40, one could only conclude it was a matter of time before someone got hurt.  Yet this is not the first time. In 2008, a firefighter in southwest Missouri died spotting for his community while a Kansas deputy died serving his community as well.

In a statement from the National Weather Service, "We encourage all who chase to do so as safely and as responsibly as possible..." 

"Number of storm chasers becomes problem"

"Should storm chasers risk their lives? | USA NOW video"

"Amateur storm chaser took photo of tornado that killed him"

"Oklahoma Tornadoes, Extreme Weather Inspire Social Media 'Storm Chasers' To Take Risks"

Storm chasers among Oklahoma fatalities - #Skywarn #OKwx

The day that should change tornado actions and storm chasing forever 

Will this change next storm season?  Is your community willing to step up to do its job in safe severe weather reporting to the local emergency management and National Weather Service offices?

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