If you don’t mind traveling 6 days in a van with five strangers, and you don’t mind being tired and needing to pee, but can’t stop anywhere, or you don’t mind riding down bad roads, and battling bad storms that produce hard rain, large hail, vicious lightning, and thunder so loud it makes you flinch….then chasing tornadoes just might be the thing for you. Am I crazy, you ask? No! Each year hundreds of enthusiasts who want to experience the power and excitement of nature first hand, turn storm chasing into an annual vacation.
Every spring and summer, at least 800 tornadoes touchdown in “Tornado Alley”, but only a small 2% are classified as violent, less than a third are considered strong, and only two out of three are considered to be weak. Eight hundred tornadoes touching down in a year however, still does not guarantee you’ll see any tornadoes, on your storm chasing vacation. So please, make sure that you’re going because you want to experience the whole package…super cell thunderstorms, lighting, hail the size of baseballs, massive wall clouds, and rain so hard you can’t see.
There are quite a few people offering storm chasing vacation packages, that range in price. I’ve seen them anywhere from $1,500 per person, to $2,800 per person. It depends on the amount of days you choose. The requirements you must follow, will be basically the same for most storm chasing teams…pack light-enough clothes for 5 or 7 days, use a duffel bag for packing, shower regularly, wear clean clothes, bring headphones to listen to your music, bring your cameras and camcorders-they must also be packed light, and last, but not least…lots of many.
The money you pay for the package, goes toward hotel reservations, and maintance and up-keep on the chase vehicles. You will be responsible for purchasing your own food and the other necessities you’ll need. The guides will not allow any smoking, alcohol or drugs inside the chase vehicles, and if you have medical problems that will require any special needs, you may want to think twice before venturing on this type of vacation.
Strom chasing can be a really fast-paced vacation. Getting in and out of the chase vehicles quickly, could be a problem for some people. As well as traveling some 400 miles a day, chasing storms. There is a great possibility the teams will chase a storm right on up to 10:00 or 11:00 at night. So you should take this into consideration also. Stopping to eat could also be an issue. Most teams eat breakfast and they try to stop for lunch in the area where they are chasing the storm, but dinner may not be guaranteed, so you would have take food or snacks to tied you over until then.
All in all, storm chasing is fun and exciting, for those that can handle this type of vacation. You can go as a single, as a couple or even as a family. Some tours will accept children as young as 12 years of age, if accompanied with an adult. The chase vehicles are well maintained and comfortable, and everyone gets to sit by a window. The teams are experienced and cautious. When you book your storm chasing vacation, go on-line and read more about storm chasing and the different vacation packages that are offered. You will have the time of your life and memories to last you a lifetime.