A unique opportunity for those who want to maximize their odds of seeing severe weather during a short time period.
We are delighted to offer “on-call” storm chasing, a targeted approach to storm chasing tours. These short-notice trips will be operated during the spring season before, during and after the regularly scheduled 10, 7 and 6 day tours. They are designed to identify potential tornado outbreaks and give you the opportunity to chase these events with us. The logistics involved in extended storm chasing vacations require long-range planning, both for you and for us. But imagine having your very own personal severe storm forecaster who will email you with advance notice of the probability of tornadic storms in the offing. If you had the flexibility to drop everything and board a plane to meet us in the threat area, you’d probably do so, right? Well, now we offer this amazing opportunity for all comers who have some hope of being able to take off work with limited notice or whose situation otherwise affords them the chance to participate. The key advantage of this approach is that it takes advantage of the fact that forecast skill improves with decreasing lead time. Our regularly scheduled storm chasing tours rely on the reasonable hope that some severe storm activity will occur within the 6-10 day time frame allotted for each trip. With on-call storm chasing, we can wait until we can discern a significant tornado threat, a forecast that is now sometimes possible with a lead time of 48-72 hours. As always, there can certainly be no guarantees because weather is highly unpredictable, even at small lead times, especially when trying to forecast environmental factors governing storm type and initiation. An event that looked promising 48 hours in advance can easily look much less enticing 12-24 hours in advance. But on average, your odds of seeing something spectacular are greatly enhanced without having to spend 6-10 days in the field.
Here’s how it will work. Email us and tell us that you’re interested in being added to the on-call storm chasing email list. Whenever we discern a decent tornado threat, we will email that list. We’ll provide updated information regarding the expected length of the severe weather event (some severe weather episodes span a few days), the subjective probability that the event will include tornadoes (as opposed to primarily hail and winds) and geographic area to be affected. Approximately 24-48 hours prior to the expected event, we will issue a GO or NO-GO forecast. A GO forecast will include the following information: a refined “target area” (i.e., where we expect the severe weather to happen), the airport to which you should fly to meet us, the arrival and departure dates that you should book (this depends on the expected length of the event, given in the forecasts leading up to the final decision and repeated in the forecast), the tornado probability for each of the expected chase days and the date of the first and last expected chase days, including cut-off times before which (on the arrival) and after which (on the departure) it is safe to book flights (we’ll return to the same airport from which we depart). Those wishing to take a chance should notify us by email at this point that they want to go; we’ll take the first 4-6 to commit and then we’ll close that mini-chase to further customers. Make sure that suitable flights are available and affordable. On our end, once we receive your commitment, we’ll invoice you for credit card payment, which you should make immediately. If payment is not sent, we will open up the tour for more participants. We’ll meet you at a hotel close to the designated airport the evening before the projected event. One of our capable Silver Lining Tours storm chasing team will lead the group while another provides aggressive nowcasting/forecasting support to further augment the odds of success. It is emphasized that we are likely to give a GO decision only for those events for which we perceive to offer a decent tornado threat. However, we recognize that some particularly storm-starved individuals with plenty of time and money on their hands (lucky souls) may be overjoyed at the prospect of accompanying us for lesser opportunities. While this is fine, we reserve the right to “blow off” an event if it doesn’t meet our standards for targeted tornado chasing, issuing a NO-GO for such scenarios. Needless to say, once the GO decision has been made and payments made, it is irrevocable and the chase will proceed for the agreed-upon event duration. This unique new opportunity is now being offered and will be handled via email as described above. The cost is $300/day, fuel, storm guide and transportation included (while on tour). You’re responsible for booking/paying for your flights, hotel and food. T-shirts and highlights DVD’s are not included, but will be available for purchase at the end of the season.
This may sound quite complicated, but it really isn’t (see the summary of steps below). It is quite common for seasoned storm chasers to take a day or two off from work and fly out to the Great Plains in advance of a forecasted tornado event. Naturally, a certain degree of planning is required to make this happen – e.g., booking last-minute flights, rental cars, and so forth. Given the difficulty of getting time off and finding available and/or affordable flights, it is expected that few people will actually be able to chase any given event, with an increasingly large number of souls willing to go to farther extremes the greater the tornado threat assessment given in the GO forecast summary.
SUMMARY OF ON-CALL STORM CHASING PROCEDURE
- Let us know that you’re interested in this program and give us your email address(es) to be added to our email list.
- We’ll email periodic forecasts to the group, or make known the URL where the forecasts will be posted and updated. If the latter, it is your responsibility to check that site often.
- 48 hours prior to the expected event, we’ll issue a final GO/NO-GO forecast. Each person on the list must quickly decide whether he/she wishes to take a chance. If so, make sure flights are available/affordable, book your flights, pay the entire tour fee ($300 x the number of chase days in the event) and meet us at the pre-arranged meeting site the evening before the first expected chase day.
- At the end of the chasing event, we’ll bring everybody back to the city where it all started (and from which your departure flight is scheduled) and we’ll get a good night’s sleep (you’ll likely be asked to schedule your departing flight the morning after the last chase day). That’s it!