YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The thought of storm chasing can be a thrill, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions.
Extreme storm chasing has grown in popularity over the last two decades.
Unfortunately, this past week an accident happened that’s a harsh reminder of the dangers severe weather poses. Three storm chasers were killed in a vehicle accident while chasing a tornado west of Spur, Texas.
Sam Roback is an avid storm chaser who warns that if you are not properly trained, do not go out.
“It’s not a good idea to be out there because you definitely are going to put other people’s lives in danger if you don’t know what you are doing,” he said.
WKBN Chief Meteorologist Paul Wetzl is the only experienced storm chaser in the Valley. He says there are a lot of dangers that come with the role.
“I’ve storm chased for 20-plus years and had storm chase tour companies. We were always on our drivers to be careful out there but we understood the storm dynamics,” Wetzl said.
He suggests that instead of putting yourself in danger, leave the chasing to the professionals.
There are other ways though to get in on the action, like becoming a storm spotter.
WKBN’s Storm Team 27 encourages people to attend the National Weather Service Skywarn Trainings, but they don’t automatically give you a license to chase.
“The Skywarn Spotter Training is not meant to encourage people to storm chase. It’s mostly meant if you’re in some point and severe weather happens, that you are going to be able to identify and accurately report it to the weather service,” Roback said.
Still, there are more ways to help out during severe weather. Those interested in getting involved can sign up to be a Storm Team 27 Weather Watcher.