Modern storm chasing started in the 1950’s where documentaries and feature films inspired meteorologists and adrenaline junkies to take part in this dangerous stunt. With the ease of taking photos on smartphones, storm chasing has expanded their community to social networks, specifically Instagram. Jason Bagby, an avid Instagram user, has followed extreme storms across the United States for over a year. I shared some of his pictures below. Application on smartphones such as Skywarn.org and RadarScope make storm chasing efficient by offering real time, mobile weather data. This makes it easier for people like us to chase storms as effectively as a professional storm chaser. However, it’s very high-risk if you don’t know what you’re doing.
“People who are just going in with a cellphone are putting themselves in real danger,” says storm chaser Nevin DeMilliano.
Although pictures and videos of storms can look cool, which is the driving factor for these hobbyists, nothing is more important than safety in these situations. It’s hard to get this point across to people who enjoy this adventure filled hobby, even with the known consequences.
“When I go out there, my first thought is not ‘for the science.’ It’s ‘these are amazing, these are 60,000 feet tall behemoths with 200 mph wind speeds,'” says Bagby. These things can turn a house into a mosaic with air and water.”