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VORTEX team chasing a storm near Northfield, TX
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Brian F. Jewett

Chasing Tornadoes

Storm chasers are different than storm spotters. Chasers travel around Tornado Alley looking for severe storms and tornadoes. This area in the Great Plains is the best for chasing because of the frequency of storms and also because of the relatively flat ground. There aren't as many hills and trees to block a chaser's view of a storm.

All kinds of people are chasers. There are actually very few scientists doing primary research. Most people chase storms because they are interested in meteorology and because they want to see severe weather up close. Others are interested in taking pictures or videos of the storms.

Some people think that they can just go out and find a tornado and be home in time for dinner; it's not that easy. Some experienced chasers say that they spend 10-12 days hunting for every minute they see a tornado. And they're experienced chasers!


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA