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Thread: Promoting Safe Storm Spotting

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    Member kmreid's Avatar
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    Question Promoting Safe Storm Spotting

    Well, let me just say that I have been spotting for two years now. I try to learn as much as I can about how the weather works and devote a lot of time to studying and asking questions to veteran chasers/spotters. This year, I plan on going on my first chase. I have prepared for a couple of years and even then, I want to make sure that I do things right and keep myself and others safe!

    That being said, there is a spotter group that has been in the local media lately. They are very young and from speaking with a couple of them, they are a bit inexperienced (we all have to start somewhere). The part that gets me, is that I don't feel that they are going about things in a safe manner. They are just using their "title" as a platform to gain media attention. I know a number of spotters who do their job and do not expect to be given a pat on the back every time that send in a report to the NWS. Unless they have gained funding from the public, I do not think that they have any of the necessary tools or equipment to help them in the field. It scares me that they are making spotting into a "sport" and not so much an effort to help others. Yes, I would love to see a tornado in a safe location, but I try to remain objective and help others first! The newspapers and news stations are promoting these spotters and I don't think that they are placing enough emphasis on safety. I feel like they are trying to build off of "Storm Chasers". I am sure that I am coming off as being a bit jealous. It just annoys me that the people that really are contributing are not being allowed to set an example, while people that are going about things in a poor manner, are being hailed as trend setters. Anyone else face these issues?
    Kayla Reid
    KF5LPV

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    Kayla, are you talking about storm chasers or actual Skywarn storm spotters?

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    Member kmreid's Avatar
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    I am talking about spotters. They haven't done any chasing as far as I know.
    Kayla Reid
    KF5LPV

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    You might need to use some specifics, because I'm not quite sure what you are talking about. What spotters? What media? Who is promoting them? What are their dangerous spotting activities and how does that affect you/us?

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    Member Joshua Nall's Avatar
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    I thought of this that was posted a while back. They are Arkansas boys, so they might be the ones that are up to no good.

    http://www.stormtrack.org/forum/show...-the-Dominator


    Of course I'm joking. I can see how you, Kayla... could be irritated are even afraid for them.... but everyone's going to do their own thing I guess. I really don't know how spotter groups work. Thought about going to a class this year just to see what it was like, but I'm not usually here if the weather is bad. Unless it's really bad.... right here, lol. Seems Like I've heard of "mobile" spotters before, so if a storm is coming in and some of them want to get in position to see a tornado... I can't see how that could be a bad thing.

  6. #6
    Member kmreid's Avatar
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    I really didn't want to mention names but it is the Pope County Storm Spotters. They have been endorsed by KARK. They basically take anyone's forecast and makes it out to be their own. I have spoke with one of them and they had no radios, no computer or any other device that had a radar program. Our area of the state in AR is very dangerous as far as storms go. They drive blindly into these places without making sure of what they are doing. Anybody can copy and paste what the NWS and SPC say, so I am not impressed. There is much that I don't know but I make my forecast FIRST and then check it against SPC if I am not entirely certain. I honestly think they aren't able to even make a guess at a forecast. I am confused that so many people actually are "fans" of theirs.
    Kayla Reid
    KF5LPV

  7. #7
    Member Andy Jackson's Avatar
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    I don't think Skywarn requires forecasting abilities and I'm pretty sure most don't require radar (though it's recommended), so, you really don't have a case with the spotter police. Let them live and learn and they will eventually become experienced.

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    Stormtrack supporter Wes Carter's Avatar
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    I like to fish. I use a spin cast reel and either fish from my canoe or from my pier, and preferably I stay out of the water.

    There are more and more people around here getting into 'noodling'. That's where the person fishing wades out into the water, takes a deep breath, and sticks his/her arm up under rocks and logs trying to get a large catfish to latch onto their hand. I think it's irresponsible and dangerous because there are many things that could happen. They could get a large snapping turtle and lose their fingers or hand. The log or rock could shift, pinning their arm so they cannot resurface and therefore drown. There are a few water moccasins in this area.

    I know this has nothing to do with chasing, but the situation is very similar. There is something that we are familiar with and enjoy yet we see other people doing it differently and even in a dangerous manner. If we want to potentially have a positive impact on their safety the best thing we can do is talk to them one on one. As long as they are not hurting someone else in the process it's pretty much their decision to do what they want to do how they want to do it. Worrying about it too much is just wasted negative energy in my opinion.

    I just hope that they don't get hurt in the learning process. And good luck on your upcoming chase. I think once you chase you will be hooked (no pun intended).

    Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Wes Carter; 03-03-2012 at 11:08 AM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Jackson View Post
    I don't think Skywarn requires forecasting abilities and I'm pretty sure most don't require radar (though it's recommended), so, you really don't have a case with the spotter police. Let them live and learn and they will eventually become experienced.
    I agree with this if they are just spotters then really no forecasting is needed. You basically just just get activated if severe weather is approaching your county and go spot. Forecasting skills are needed more for chasing when you are driving hundreds or thousands of miles. I looked at their facebook page and it looks like it's just a group of young guys that love weather. Their goal is to help warn the public of severe weather so I see nothing wrong with that. They will either learn and start being safer or lose interest in it after shows like Storm Chasers loses popularity and it's no longer "cool" to chase/spot.

  10. #10
    Member Jake Orosi's Avatar
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    OP: Everyone here doesn't seem to understand your concern. Perhaps some elaboration is in order.

    You say they don't have tools or equipment or "experience", or as you said even computers with radar software. But you haven't yet explained exactly what it is that they're doing. Are they presenting themselves as forecasters? Are they really posting NWS forecasts as if they were theirs, or just posting the forecasts? Are they chasing with their personal vehicles or staying home and watching? Are they taking pictures or do they call the NWS when they see something? What risky behaviors specifically are they engaging in?

    Strictly speaking, anyone has the right to hop in their cars with their camcorders and drive off in pursuit of storms. I do admit it's a little distasteful for them to be proclaiming they're doing anything scientifically useful when they're not (or engaging in the old "we're saving lives!" cliche when they've never called the NWS or 911 even once), but what can you do?

    For fixed location spotting, you don't need any equipment whatsoever aside from working eyes and a phone or some other method of communicating with the NWS. For mobile spotting, you need the above plus a vehicle. Anything else is optional - perhaps increasing your chances of seeing something neat, but not strictly necessary to do the job.

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