You couldn’t pay me enough to do that job

From Accuweather, here’s a video of a tornado near Wray, Colorado, a few days ago.  Watch it in full-screen mode for best results.

I can’t believe the storm chaser idiot in the car shouting, “Get closer!”  Does he have a death wish, or something?



  1. Peter, having gone to college to get a meteorology degree and known some storm chaser-types, I say it's possible the idiot has a death wish. More likely, he's trying to show what big balls he has so he can get cool points and strut around. Even more likely, he just plain doesn't have the sense to think anything that cool could do anything bad could to him. A dude I roomed with asked our dorm RA if he could go on the roof of our 16-story dorm if a tornado was coming, just so he could see it.

    BTW, I DON'T think storm chasing is cool, or even really necessary. Cheap thrills.

  2. Most of the storm watchers/chasers in Kansas I've been exposed to:
    1) drive 1-ton dually 4x4s
    2) have fold-down grates that cover the windows kind of like the windshields to WWII jeeps.
    3) external roll bar cages around the cab.
    4) the vehicle is beat to hell from hail and flying debris.
    5) several spare tires for all the flats from driving over the debris left in the road.

    I would hazard a guess the cars you see are gawkers. Definitely not people who watch a lot of storms and want to go home to the family.

  3. One of the meteorologists I worked with at Boeing was a "Storm Chaser".

    He said after the third time he got that close to one, and could feel their big 4×4 starting to lift off the road, he decided to quit.

    Several months later one of the guys he was storm chasing with was killed when a tornado picked his truck up and threw it about half a mile….

    I grew up in Illinois, and I've seen several big ones, and I always got the h3ll out of there!

  4. Should head over to the comments on the video at YouTube. Everything from Chuck Norris doing his vacuuming to … someone switching on the ceiling fan for 'full immersion' while watching the storm chaser video.

  5. I loved meteorology, even as a kid. I remember one picture of tornado damage I saw back then was of a hunk of wood (looked like a 2×4) stuck in one of those thick metal poles. If it can do that, it'll send anything through your windows or the door of your car and then you like it was nothing.

    Another image coming to mind is some of those videos you see of big, heavy vehicles being flipped by jet engine exhaust. Going anywhere near something that powerful and which is unpredictable in its movements is simply insane.

  6. just to bad that we have not be able to harness all or at least part of that energy being released. It would solve many power problems for this country.

  7. I have seen 4 tornadoes in my life. All from a safe distance. I have also seen the effects of one close up right after the storm had passed.

    When I was a teenager, a tornado touched down in my Aunt & Uncle's back yard. It swept through their rural neighborhood for a couple of miles. As tornadoes go, it wasn't a very big one, possibly an F1 or F2. You could clearly see it's path by the "swirls" in the grass and field crops. It started out about a hundred feet in diameter when it touched down and ended up about a quarter mile across when it finally dissipated. The effects, however, even of a small storm like that, were breathtaking.

    My Aunt & Uncle had a row of large oak trees shielding their property. The storm stripped all the leaves, twigs and small branches from those trees even before it touched the ground. Their house was clad in wooden "clapboard" siding. There were so many twigs and branches embedded in this siding that it had to be replaced. (It looked like a coarse fur.)

    It came down in their backyard, so it swept their back porch clean off of the house and left only the concrete foundation and their well pump. It destroyed their shed and the kids steel swing-set was picked up and twisted around a neighbors tree a few houses away. A house a few doors down had all the bricks pulled off of the leeward side. Those bricks were scattered for miles. Imagine getting hit by one or more of those bricks! That's what usually kills people during storms like this.

    It picked up a farm tractor, stripped the tires off of the front wheels and set the tractor back down a couple of hundred feet away. The tires were later found hanging in trees about a mile away.

    It destroyed a garage leaving only the concrete slab and the big roll-up door sitting there upright, in its frame, door still closed and locked. There was a dog house right next to the garage that was untouched – with the dog still inside. The poor thing was traumatized for weeks afterward and for the rest of its life would cower in fear at the approach of any thunderstorm. (…can't say I blame it.)

    It struck a large commercial chicken coop and utterly destroyed it. There were guts and other parts of chickens hanging in trees and on power lines for miles downwind.

    I wouldn't have believed any of this – especially the garage door – except that I saw everything I have described with my own eyes.

    My Aunt and Uncle and my two cousins were fortunate in that it did not destroy their house – possibly because of those trees. It did do seriously damage to it though. Besides the porch and siding, they also lost their roof and every window on the windward side of the house. There was no prior warning and they had just enough time to run down the basement stairs before it hit. My Uncle said he was pulling the basement door shut when the windows blew out.

    This happened in 1968 just outside of Shepherdsville, KY.

  8. Tonerboy. I went to grad school on teh edge o f Tornado Alley. The grad students had gathered at a sports bar one Friday night, and for reasons known to Ghu, the owner had "Twister" on the big screens. Regulars and grad students all ignored it until someone called, "Hey, guys, cow scene!" Everyone in the bar stopped, watched, laughed in the wrong places and made rude comments about cows, tornadoes and Hollywood. Then we went back to our beers-n-burgers.


  9. Not a dangerous as it looks. They were traveling from West to East. Rarely do tornados in that area move West. The usual path is ESE. That said, they are damn fools.

  10. I did cleanup in Jarrel Texas after the F5 hit there in the 90's. I was a high schooler and it's been more than 20 years but I still get chills thinking about just driving up to the cleanup site. The switched from asphalt to gravel all of a sudden and I thought it was strange since we weren't that far out. The escort in the front of the bus says "it wasn't a gravel road before the tornado came through, the storm sucked the asphalt up off the road bed". We passed the section in a minute but it's always stuck with me.

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