Version 3.3 (6/15/99)
Maintained by Allan Rosenberg

Selected Internet Resources
for the Beginning Storm Chaser

* Items with blue asterisks have been added since version 2.1 (2/14/98).
* Items with white asterisks have been added since version 3.1 (1/15/99).
* Items with purple asterisks have been added since version 3.2 (4/10/99).

The selection of resources on this page reflects the opinions of its author only. Many pages either citing or cited by this page have disclaimers; please read them. I don't have a disclaimer because nobody is stupid enough to sue me. I won't try to encourage or discourage you from chasing storms, but if you are going to chase, I encourage you to learn as much as you can about storms first. There is an impressive and growing amount of interesting material on the Internet, but there are even more complete sources off the internet. Here are two excellent lists of recommended outside reading:

Educational Materials for Storm Chasers (Tim Marshall/StormTrack Online!)

Suggested New Chaser Reading Material (Tim Vasquez/StormTrack Online!)

My thanks go out to those who have made the information cited in this review available to the public. Affiliations or journal names listed next to authors' names do not necessarily imply that the web page cited was prepared in connection with duties for, or with the approval of, those organizations.

Copyright notice: this list is dedicated to the public. Use it, cite it, copy it, repost it, do whatever you want with it. You can't steal it, since it is already yours. The pages that I cite have their own copyright policies, so please check with those authors first before using their materials.

Contents

Storm Basics Forecasting Case Studies, Tropical Weather, and Other Information Sources

Thunderstorms and Tornadoes: A Brief Introduction

Why Files: Tornadoes (National Science Foundation/University of Wisconsin) The Makings of a Tornado (ABC News) *
Winds of Destruction (The Weather Channel) * USA Today Tornado Information Index
USA Today Thunderstorms Thunderstorms
Thunderstorm Categories
Supercells Tornadoes (Robert Davies-Jones/Scientific American) VORTEX: Unraveling the Secrets (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) * The Tornado Project Online Tornadoes: Some Hard Realities (Charles Doswell/National Severe Storms Laboratory)
What is a Tornado? (Charles Doswell/National Severe Storms Laboratory) Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (United Kingdom)
Australian Severe Weather Elegy for Woodward (Richard Bedard/Weatherwise) * Mesoscale Convective Systems: Squall Lines and Bow Echoes *

An Introduction to Storm Chasing

Chase With Safety, Courtesy, and Responsibility (Charles Doswell/National Severe Storms Laboratory)
Storm Chase Ethics (Alan Moller/National Weather Service) Dangers of Thunderstorms (University of Illinois)
The Human Effects of Lightning Strikes and Recommendations for Storm Chasers (William Hark) Storm Track Magazine's Storm Chasing Guide (Tim Vasquez/StormTrack Online!)
Storm Track Magazine's Storm Chasing FAQ (Tim Vasquez/StormTrack Online!) * Why Chase Tornadoes (David Hoadley/StormTrack Online!)
Chase Thoughts For 1997 (David Hoadley/StormTrack Online!) Frequently Asked Questions About Storm Chasing (Charles Doswell/National Severe Storms Laboratory) Tornado Warning! (Wayne Curtis/Discovery Online) August 28, 1990 Chase (Gilbert Sebenste)
May 25, 1996 Chase (Gilbert Sebenste)
May 26, 1996 Chase (Gilbert Sebenste) Meteorologists say `Twister' is exciting, but distorts reality (Eric Adler/Kansas City Star) Getting Started in Tornado and Thunderstorm Spotting (Keith Brewster) Cloud Nine Tours
Silver Lining Tours
Storm Chasing Adventure Tours
Tornado Alley Safari On Cloud Nine (Richard Bedard/Weatherwise) Women and Chasing * Capturing the Storm You've made your forecast, driven hundreds of miles, found your storm--and there it is--a magnificent tornado. Now what are you going to do? If you're like most storm chasers, you'll be pointing some kind of camera at it. These tips will help.

The Anatomy of a Thunderstorm:
What You Will See When You Chase

Cumulonimbus Clouds (University of Illinois) Storm Spotter's Guide (National Severe Storms Laboratory) Basic Spotter's Field Guide * (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in) NOAA Severe Storm Spotter's Guide (National Severe Storms Laboratory/University of Illinois) Identity of Storm Features * Weather Glossary for Storm Spotters (Michael Brannick/National Weather Service) Microbursts A Handbook for Visual Identification * (Fernando Caracena/Ronald Holle/Chuck Doswell of FSL and NSSL)

Finding the Storms I:
NWS Forecast Products

Hint: One of the missions of the National Weather Service is to forecast severe storms--and they are, on the whole, very good at it. Every storm chaser I know pays close attention to NWS forecasts, though none relies exclusively on those forecasts. The pages listed in this section discuss various NWS text-based products of interest to storm chasers and some tools for interpreting them. Weather data, numerical models, forecasting methods and tropical cyclone products are discussed below.

SPC Products Page (graphic, text, and plain English versions; College of duPage)
SPC Forecasts (graphics and text; Storm Prediction Center)
SPC Weather Data (plain English and graphics; Ohio State University)

Severe Weather Watches and Warnings (graphic, AccuWeather) NWS Forecast Office * Convective SIGMETS * Frequently Used Contractions in National Weather Service Products (Brian Smith/National Weather Service) Weather Station Identifiers Message Headers (NWS Office of System Operations) * Basic Introduction to EMWIN *

A Little Bit of Theory

There are two reasons to study meteorological theory. The first is that you will improve as a forecaster and storm chaser as your knowledge of atmospheric processes improves. The second is that, if you are reading this, you are the kind of person who looks up in the sky and wonders what causes it all. The materials cataloged in section will not give you all of the answers, but they will give you a good start.

Air Masses and Fronts (University of Illinois)
Clouds and Precipitation (University of Illinois)
Forces and Winds (University of Illinois
Hydrologic Cycle (University of Illinios) *
Midlatitude Cyclones (University of Illinois)
or
The Seasons (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Common Meteorological Variables (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Vertical Structure of the Atmosphere, Part I (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Vertical Structure of the Atmosphere Part 2 (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Heat Tansfer (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Overview of Radiation (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Earth's Energy Budget, Part I (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Earth's Energy Budget, Part 2 (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Cloud Development (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Precipitation (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Air Masses (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Weather Fronts (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
Atmospheric Forces (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *
High and Low Pressure Systems (Oklahoma Climatological Survey) *

A Basic Weather Discussion on Surface Pressure Systems, Fronts, Jet Streams, and Precipitation * (NWS/Louisville)
A Discussion on Moisture, Dewpoint, Relative as. Absolute Humidity, Precipitable Water, and Precipitation * (NWS/Louisville)

Forces in the Atmosphere (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
Air Pressure, Height and Temperature (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
Winds and Pressure (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
Radiation and the Diurnal Cycle (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
Clouds and Moisture (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
Wind and Mixing (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
Sea Breezes, Land Brezes, and Coastal Fronts (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)

Static Stability *
Thermodynamics Diagrams (Laboratory) *

The Forecaster's Toolbox

Weather Forecasting (University of Illinois) Units of Measurement

Coordinated Universal Time (University of Illinois)

Units of Temperature (University of Illinois) Weather Calculator * (NWS/El Paso) Surface Observations and Charts

Surface observations are collected both by observers (usually at airports) and automated weather stations (ASOS).

Reading WX Maps: Surface Observations (University of Illinois)

Surface Data Details (Unisys Weather)
Weather Symbols (graphic, Unisys Weather)
or
Surface Maps (University of Illinois)
Decoding Surface Observations (University of Illinois)
Surface Contours (University of Illinois) How to Read a METAR Report (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
or
METAR Help (Paul Sirvatka/College of duPage)
or
Surface Weather Observations and Reports (National Weather Service, very detailed) Upper Air Observations and Charts

Upper Air Sounding Details (Unisys Weather)

Upper Air Details (Unisys Weather)
or
Constant Pressure Maps (University of Illinois)
Upper Air Station Reports (University of Illinois)
Upper Air Contours (University of Illinois)
Other Forecast Variables (University of Illinois) Use and Interpretation of Upper Air Charts (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
Precipitation and the Sounding Diagram (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
Soundings, Clouds and Convection (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
What Are Tropopause Maps and Why Should We Care About Them? (Gary Lackmann/McGill University) How to Read Hodographs (Paul Sirvatka, College of duPage) *
Vertical Wind Shear, Hodographs, and Tornadoes (Paul Sirvatka, College of duPage) * Analysis

Contouring (NASA/University of Wisconsin)

Numerical Forecast Models

Principles of Numerical Weather Prediction (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
Sources of Model Error (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
NWS Forecast Models (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)

Model Details (Unisys Weather)
MOS Forecast Details (Unisys Weather) Numerical Forecast Models Performance Characteristics/Biases * (NWS/Louisville) FOUS Help: Numerical Output (Paul Sirvatka/College of duPage)
or
Handy Dandy FOUS Decoder (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
or
Guide to Reading NGM FOUS Messages (SUNY Albany)
or
Decoding RAFS/NGM Model FOUS Data (SUNY Albany) *

FOUS Help: Model Output Statistics (Paul Sirvatka/College of duPage)
or
Handy Dandy MOUS Decoder (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
or
Interpretation of the NGM Based MOS Forecast Message (SUNY Albany) *
or
NGM MOS Help Page (Ohio State University) *

Satellite Images

Satellite Meteorology (University of Illinois)
Satellite Tutorial (College of duPage) *

Image-In * (Florida State University/Explores) Interpreting Satellite Images (University of Illinois)
or
Satellite Image Details (Unisys Weather)
or
Satellite Image Tutorial (WeatherTAP) * Satellite Imagery (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
Satellite Examples (Paul Sirvatka/College of duPage) Interpreting IR Imagery (University of Wisconsin) * GOES Imager Tutorial (CIRA/Colorado State University) *
Advanced GOES Imagery Tutorial (CIRA/Colorado State University) *
Basics of Satellite Remote Sensing (NESDIS) * Weather Radar

Radar Meteorology (University of Illinois)
WeatherTAP Radar Tutorial *

Frequently Asked Questions About Weather Radar (MIT) Radar Data Details (University of Illinois) Use and Interpretation of Radar (John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University)
WSR - Weather Surveillance Radar (Paul Sirvatka, College of duPage)
The Lemon Technique * (Paul Sirvatka, College of duPage) Overview of the WSR-88D Doppler Radar System * (NWS/Louisville) Radar Meteorology Glossary (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Radar and Mesoscale Meteorology (Michael Biggerstaff/Texas A&M University)

Sources of Weather Data

Tip: check the times and dates on any weather data you use.

Weather Servers

There is considerable overlap here, so pick the servers you like the best. The Storm Machine will give you almost anything you need and is highly customizable--but it gets busy on a chase day. It is a good idea to have multiple sources for anything you might want to use on a chase.

Weather Data Hot Lists

Where to Get Data When You're on the Road Sources of Specialized Data

Finding the Storms II:
Preparing Your Own Forecast

You will get more out of this section if you've read the materials linked in the Theory and Forecaster's Toolbox sections above.

When to Chase (Robert Prentice/StormTrack Online!)

A Look at Hodographs, Helicity and Supercells (Jon Davies/StormTrack Online!) * Supercells and Combinations of Helicity and Instability (Jon Davies/StormTrack Online!) Forecasting Supercell Type (Rich Thompson, Roger Edwards/StormTrack Online!) The Cap: It's Boom or Bust (Tim Marshall/StormTrack Online!) Dryline Storms (Tim Marshall/StormTrack Online!) Rules For Finding Fronts (Paul Sirvatka/College of duPage)
Shortwave Example (Paul Sirvatka/College of duPage) ARPSView Guide Parameter Table (Oklahoma University)
Stability Indices * (Paul Sirvatka/College of duPage)
Convective Season Parameters and Indices * (NWS/Louisville) CAPE, Helicity, and Convective Inhibition
Lifted Index, K Index, Total Totals
Mixing Ratio, Winds
Moisture Convergence, Upper Level Divergence
Vertical Motion, Vorticity
Q-Vector Divergence, Temperature, Q-Vectors
Equivalent Potential Temperature Forecasting Severe Weather Events Making a Convective Outlook (Michael Biggerstaff/Texas A&M) The Structure and Dynamics of Supercell Thunderstorms * (NWS/Louisville)
The Structure and Evolution of Squall Line and Bow Echo Convective Systems * (NWS/Louisville)
Significant Winter Meteorological Processes in the Atmosphere (Part I) * (NWS/Louisville)
Significant Winter Meteorological Processes in the Atmosphere (Part II) * (NWS/Louisville)
Entrance Regions of Jet Streaks (A Closer Look) * (NWS/Louisville)

Severe Storm Case Studies

Case studies are wonderful tools for learning to apply the knowledge you have gained. The two listed below are especially suitable for beginning storm chasers.

The Central Illinois Severe Weather Outbreak of April 19, 1996 (University of Illinois)

Tornado! The Oakfield, Wisconsin Case Study (University of Wisconsin/CIMSS) Severe Storm Case Studies

Hurricanes and Other Tropical Storms

Hurricanes (University of Illinois)
Hurricanes (John Neilson-Gammon, Texas A&M University) * Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Tropical Cyclones Tropical Cyclone Forecaster's Reference Guide * Global Guide to Tropical Cyclone Forecasting (Bureau of Meteorology, Australia) *
WMO/CAS Report on Tropical Cyclones (Topic 4: Cyclone Prediction) * Summary of the TPC/NHC Tropical Cyclone Track and Intensity Guidance Models * Hurricane Hunters Extended Range Forecast of Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity and US Landfall Strike Probability for 1999 *

Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season (Florida State University) *
National Hurricane Center Tropical Atlantic Forecasts (NOAA Air Resources Laboratory)*
NRL Monterey Tropical Cyclone Page *
Tropical Cyclones (University of Wisconsin) *
Tropical Oceans - Tropical Cyclones (University of Hawaii)
Tropical Cyclone Graphics (National Hurricane Center)
Tropical Cyclone Products (National Hurricane Center)
Hurricane/Tropical Data (Unisys Weather) *
CSU's Tropical Products (Colorado State University) *
Tropical Weather Page (University of Michigan)

Hurricane Weather Data (Al Pietrycha/NSSL)
CASI Tropical Season 1999 *
Atlantic Tropical Weather Center Hurricane Warning (Jim Leonard)
Millennium Weather Home Page Hurricane Andrew (University of Illinois)

Other Sources of Information

Storm Chaser Homepage (Gilbert Sebenste/Northern Illinois University) STORMTRACK Online! WX-CHASE The Tornado Project Central Atlantic Storm Investigators *

Information about Careers in Weather

Challenges of Our Changing Atmosphere