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Chasers Posed Hazard During Kansas Storm

KSAL Staff - April 10, 2015 8:36 am

The head of a group that represents Kansas emergency responders says it's time to consider rules for storm chasers in the wake of the deaths of three professional chasers in Oklahoma.

Authorities in Barber County are warning storm chasers to chill out on the roads during tornadoes.

Officials estimate between 150 to 200 different storm chasers were on Barber County roads during Wednesday’s storms. Apparently the rush to get a shot of a tornado caused congestion problems and added to already unsafe driving conditions.

Authorities want storm chasers to think twice and be careful when chasing potentially deadly storms.

KSN News from Wichita reported that Barber County Sheriff Justin Rugg says most of the professional storm chasers are not the issue. But the amateur storm chasers with just a cell phone are becoming an issue.

Sheriff Rugg points to dash cam video from a county emergency vehicle that tells the story. The video shows a car not getting out of the way, even though the emergency vehicle taking the dash cam video has its emergency lights on.

“Then there were the others that would just stop on the highway,” said Sheriff Rugg. “They might pull off a little bit and they’re out there with their cell and maybe have a video camera.”

Sheriff Rugg said cars were on both sides of the roadway, but his main concern is the video of cars not moving out of the way for emergency vehicles.

“I drove through the line of cars and I got on my PA and started telling people to move their vehicles,” said Rugg.

In Sedgwick County, emergency management says storm chasers were blocking the road at 21st and 295th Street creating a hazard.

Story from: Metro Source News / KSN


Warren Faidley

April 10, 2015 at 9:40 am

I’ve been chasing for over 27 years. I’ve seen storm chasing go from a respectable pursuit into a total circus. The biggest problem continues to be the “fake” scientists who continue to justify their antics and poor highway behavior in the name of “science.” None of them have actually ever published a peer-reviewed scientific paper, despite year upon year of “life saving” research claims.

It’s all about dominating the chasing world and making big bucks and self-promotion now days. They don’t fill their armored vehicles with scientists, but instead, with friends, girlfriends and camera guys looking for YouTube glory. They do not work for a University or scientific organization and their data can never be verified for multiple reasons. It’s all flashy gimmicks designed to make them look legitimate.

Why is this a problem? Their highway hijinks add to the overall image of bad chaser behavior. No one needs to get that close to a tornado. It’s reckless and unnecessary, all designed for YouTube drama. They also encourage new chasers or locals to act like morons, by taking unnecessary risks.

What if they cause a serious accident? EMS and law enforcement will need to respond. Placing them in danger and taking them away from genuine emergencies. Most smart and informed people see through their scams. Unfortunately, law enforcement and the media are still bewitched into believing they are for real. They get a free pass and legitimacy.

Hey law enforcement and media — they are out there to make money — not to solve the mysteries of severe weather. Ninety-nine percent of chasers are good people who chase in a responsible manner, but the “fake it till you make it” chasers need to be called out. Maybe the media will wake up someday and focus on the ones who are
misrepresenting themselves and making all chasers look like idiots.

Thanks to all the storm spotters who actually do preform “life saving”work.

Warren Faidley
Storm Chasing Journalist
Tactical EMT

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