Number 1: make sure that they have experience and that they have been successful in the past. Experience is important for three reasons: (1) the ability to not only find storms, but to negotiate them safely and confidently; (2) the ability to actually forecast and find the storms and tornadoes; (3) the ability to smoothly run a tour operation, which is distinctly different than just piling into a vehicle with your friends on a whim.
Nobody is perfect. Every single chaser makes mistakes and plenty of them. But after being out there for several years, a tour operator should have amassed enough material worthy of displaying on his or her web site. Be especially inquisitive about any tour company whose web site is conspicuously void of photographs or video captures, or redirects you to a client’s site for the bulk of their images. One company in particular is displaying photographs that are fakes. The tornadoes they are showing never occurred at the times and places that they claim and, in many cases, were photoshopped into fake backgrounds and filched from other legitimate sources. If they had actually seen tornadoes, they wouldn’t need to invent ones that didn’t occur! If you would like to discuss this or even ask who we would recommend (other than us of course), please feel free to contact us via email or phone anytime.
We at Silver Lining Tours have pictures of many of the supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes that our tours intercepted. These can be viewed at any time within our extensive Chase Logs. We tell you the truth about what we’ve seen during our tours and we have the storm and tornado pictures to support our claims. It is true that we don’t post images of every single storm seen on every tour, but we make a real effort to show you the majority of the good stuff. We have the proof. This is why we have a 50-60% annual customer retention rate! This past season we had one customer return for his eleventh consecutive year, and several that returned for their fifth or more!
Also beware of tour companies that don’t give you thorough or truthful documentation of their credentials. A tour company might make claims on their websites about how they are the best tornado forecasters in the world, but in fact don’t have any formal education in the field of meteorology and little experience, to boot. If your friendly supermarket butcher claimed to be a skilled surgeon by virtue of the fact that he handles knives, you wouldn’t let him operate on you, right?? The Silver Lining Tour staff features veteran and respected storm chasers with years of chasing experience, the respect of the storm chasing community at large and, in several cases, advanced degrees in meteorology. We truly are among the best severe storm forecasters and chasers in the country, with universal respect within the storm chasing and meteorology community. We create our own forecasts from scratch every day without needing to rely on third parties to do something for us that every tornado tour operator should be capable of doing without assistance! We have the knowledge that some of the others lack and with us you get what you pay for.
The drivers should have amassed considerable driving experience in storm chasing conditions. It’s dangerous to have inexperienced tour guides that drive your tour van around severe thunderstorms. All of our drivers have the critical mass of experience necessary to drive a van-load of passengers in and around storms safely. Even if they are experienced, the drivers should adhere strictly to standards of conduct befitting a commercial driver.
We at Silver Lining Tours are totally dedicated storm chasers, committed to safe and skilled storm chasing. You can expect to have a fulfilling and comprehensive storm chasing experience with us. We will work harder, more skillfully, more safely and more intelligently than anyone else to be in the right place at the right time, time and time again. As you can see from our Chase Logs, that hard work has paid off! There will be no mitigation in our future performance because there will be no abatement in the knowledge, skill and experience of our staff! We will be learning and growing with every passing year, and we will always strive to pass that knowledge on to you, our cherished and valued customer. Why not be a part of these great storm experiences with people that know what they’re doing and care enough to share that knowledge with you?