What Is The Difference Between a Storm Spotter and a Storm Chaser?
The differences are in method and motivation.
Storm Spotters serve a community by participating in an organized effort (most often through the local county emergency management) to watch for storms approaching the community and warn of the formation of tornadoes or other threatening severe weather. Storm spotters are usually unpaid volunteers who are stationed at a fixed location in their community. Law enforcement officers and fire department personal may also serve as "spotters" in some locations.
For more information on Storm Spotters Click Here.
Storm Chasers are people who try to get close to storms and often cover hundreds of miles a day. Storm Chasers may chase for any number of reasons, including scientific field programs, storm photography, self-education, news media coverage, or personal thrill seeking. The vast majority of people who chase storms do so as a hobby in their spare time. Some storm chasers (the thrill seekers) can be very irresponsible and give a bad reputation to the legitimate chasers.
Storm Spotter/Chaser Vehicles
Individual chase vehicles can be very unique. You can't just go out and buy a ready-to-go chase vehicle. Almost all of the equipment has to be custom engineered into the vehicle. These vehicles often look odd with all sorts of things sticking out of them, this equipment is very useful in providing data that storm chasers use for safely and effectively chasing down and navigating around and through severe weather. Most chase vehicles you see are privately owned. Some are owned by TV stations or research institutions. Chase vehicles are as diverse in design and purpose as storm chasers themselves. Click on the pictures below to view our galleries of Chaser/Spotter vehicles.
* Storm Spotting and Storm Chasing is dangerous and should not be done without proper training, experience and equipment.