Tim B, London

2006 was, I’m told, a bad year for chasing. 2006 was also my first year chasing and if the magnificent storms I marvelled at were a ‘bad year’ I can’t wait to tour again in a good year.
I spent a lot of time researching my options before choosing Silver Lining Tours’ for my custom, and found my choice vindicated so much that I booked for 2007 on the spot. David Gold and Bill Gargan proved to be both expert severe weather forecasters and true weather enthusiasts, able to get us time and time again to the right storms in the right place at the right time. They’re also all-round nice guys and great friends, which makes for a superb team-leading ethos. The Master Class Tour was a perfect opportunity to learn forecasting from the experts and to discover I’m not the only person who gets excited about monster thunderstorms.

The tours are about as far from the old-school image of rough-and-ready storm chasing as could be imagined. Don’t, though, think that getting to see monstrous storms involves no more than being impressed by high technology (though the mobile data displays in the van are superb) and enjoying the comfort of snoozing the miles away on comfy van seats (though the seats are very comfortable). This is an adventure out in the wilds of the USA, and don’t you forget it!

Be prepared for long days of driving; if you love road trips you’ll love these tours, and they’re the perfect way to see the beautiful Great Plains and High Plains country. Be prepared, too, to be part of a close-knit chase team for the duration of the tour, becoming a valuable team member whether it be the important cleaning of the van windscreen at a quick mid-chase fuel stop so the driver can see clearly or the very exciting watching out the back windows of the van for tornados to form whilst the team repositions. And when the technology can’t keep up with the forces of nature (taking sensitive electronics up against nature’s worst is quite a challenge) have confidence that the tour leaders have decades of experience under their belt that let them seamlessly continue forecasting, explaining, and chasing based on reading the storms visually to get you in the perfect position.

Finally, Silver Lining Tours is a company which runs chase tours but it also brings together and supports a year-round online and offline community of weather enthusiasts from the novices like myself to storm chasers with years or decades of experience. You’ll join likeminded men and women from all walks of life, from teachers to nurses, racing drivers to 911 operators, academics to pro photographers, all united by a fascination with severe weather.

Severe weather will happen irrespective of chasing and chaser expertise, but chasing with expert guides can let YOU see, hear, and feel those severe storms. If you want to be there in the right place when it happens, I recommend taking a serious look at Silver Lining Tours and booking your tour before spaces run out.