Pick a year from the selection above to see the chase reports for that year
While many people may portray storm chasers in the stereotypical gun-ho manner such as Twister, it is far from the truth. Most storm chasers are sensible in what they do, and have genuine concern for the safety of themselves, fellow storm chasers and the public. The idea of "chasing" a thunderstorm often seems rather extreme to many people. However, during a thunderstorm many people will look out the window, or look out from the patio on the backyard to watch a storm. Essentially, you're maneuvering yourself into a position to better see the thunderstorm. Storm chasing takes this one step further, that is putting yourself into a better position to see a thunderstorm. This could range from driving to a hill just a few minutes away, to driving down to the border ranges and observing the storms there for several hours, to even taking a "storm chase holiday" where you chase storms throughout Australia. It's all storm chasing, and how much of it you do normally depends on enthusiasm, time and money.
Storm chasing doesn't just stop at storms. I for one enjoy all aspects of weather, and will at all possible times go out and get into a good position to view and photograph a sunset, or it might be just a coastal shower coming ashore. It's all a great learning experience, and experience is an essential tool.
While storm chasing is often conducted by both amateur and professional weather enthusiasts, it's important to note that if you do go storm chasing, it's not just a matter of finding a storm, and following it. To have basic knowledge of how a thunderstorms works is absolutely essential! As it's important that you know where the danger areas of thunderstorms are (in particular severe thunderstorms), not to mention be careful of lightning. If you don't know how to identify the features of a thunderstorm, then it's best that you don't attempt storm chasing at least until you learn what they look like, what they can indicate and how a thunderstorm works. I certainly don't recommend that anyone without some background meteorological knowledge should go storm chasing.
Storm chasing also isn't as easy as it may look. It's very difficult to try and get in position. Weather analysis charts and satellite imagery assist in looking for target areas to chase. This is then supplemented by forecast models that attempt to forecast what the atmosphere will do in the next few hours, to the next few days. When finally accomplishing this, you then have to be fortunate enough that you chose the right area, and that something will form there. After this, a storm chaser then has to choose which storm(s) they should follow, and where they should be located to observe the best features of a thunderstorm.
Storm chasers (particularly in Australia) are also great observers, and phone in all severe thunderstorms that they encounter to the BoM. This assists in their severe thunderstorm database, and also issuing of severe thunderstorm warnings.
Hopefully this short overview gives you an insight as to what storm chasing actually is, and has corrected any stereotypical images that you may have had of storm chasers!
Written by Brisbane Storm Chaser Anthony Cornelius