Every year, people around the world climb windows, provide themselves with essentials, and flee storms from their own homes. But for storm hunters, turbulent weather is an invitation to approach the danger. Some endure precarious conditions in hurricanes, tornadoes, and other storms to make measurements that may later prove useful to meteorologists. Others simply feel attracted by the beauty of the storms and capture the violent expressions of nature in a kind of extreme landscape photography.
There is no shortage of possibilities for storm hunters. Every year, there are an average of 1253 tornadoes in the US ̵
To better understand what motivates these individuals to look for catastrophic events, Mental Floss talked to three extreme weather specialists. Here's what they have to say about houses in the air, armored trucks and why you do not normally see any of them wearing a helmet.
. 1 For storm hunters, a hurricane can feel like an acidic journey.
With only 13 hurricanes hit the continental US since 2010, hunting for hurricanes requires a passport and willingness to spend days connecting flights to international destinations. As a result, hurricane hunters are a small subset of the demographic Storm Chaser. Why are you doing that? For Josh Morgerman, a Southern California-based hurricane hunter and star of the upcoming Hurricane Man of Science Channel, who was exposed to hurricanes on Long Island in his teens, a connection was made between a heavy storm and excitement. "My whole life chases this feeling over and over again," he tells Mental Floss. While his prime concern is to hurry, Morgerman also takes measurements in terms of temperature, wind speed, and humidity that can assist meteorologists in predicting future storms.
Unlike tornadoes, which have a very clear visual identity when they turn in a cone shape Overland, hurricanes look like a fierce concentration of weather conditions. This combination of heavy rain, wind and flying debris is hard to explain unless you've experienced it first-hand. While the area known as the wall of the eye is raging with heavy weather, the eye or center inside is peaceful. Morgerman says a jarring contrast is a bit of an acid journey. "In a serious hurricane [the eyewall] is pretty incredible," he says. "Some sound like a train or howling wolves. Hurricane Michael, the building I was in was trembling. The windows broke. You can not see anything in such storms. Everything only gets white. They only see flying debris. It is an incredible spectacle. "In the eye, however," it gets quiet. The sky is blue … It has something very acid tetragonal.
2. The film Twister influenced many storm hunters.
In the 1996 Twister Bill Paxton plays a Tornado Hunter defying a series of severe weather events for many prosecutors the movie was a milestone that made many people go out into the field themselves, "that's why I came up with it," says tornado hunter Greg Johnson, who is now collecting footage to sell to news agencies. " There was a lot of things the movie did right. "
There was one exception." One thing that was not done right is the human tribute associated with these storms The film showed destruction and death – in real scenarios it's far worse than anything they show in the movie. "A pursuer's first priority is to stop and help anyone in need igt.
3. Storm hunters do not spend much time in the storms.
The life of a storm hunter should be exciting for a few minutes or hours. Most pursuers spent most of their careers heading for a storm, either by feeding on it or, in Morgman's case, flying. He could be in a hurricane for hours; A tornado could set up for a few minutes. Johnson also says he spends a lot of time traveling. "If you watch videos of unbelievable tornado events on YouTube, you realize you only see 1 percent of the time," Johnson tells Mental Floss. "You do not see countless hours at truck stops sleeping on the hood of a truck that does nothing."
. 4 The real threat to storm hunters is not the weather. It is the traffic.
Storms can cause strong winds and floods, but it is not always nature that becomes physically threatening, especially as persecutors spend so much time traveling. (In fact, there was only one fatal incident as a direct result of a tornado when hunter Tim Samaras, his son Paul and his colleague Carl Young were trapped in their vehicle, and during the El's 200 mph wind, Reno tornadoes were caught in the year 2013. All three died.)
According to Montana-based storm hunters and meteorologists from the National Meteorological Service Cory Mottice, experienced persecutors know they fear traffic more than the weather. "In a densely populated area you have to worry about traffic jams," he says. "A storm could come down through Oklahoma and you might be out of danger at first. But as the storm approaches, people worry and panic. They pass under overpasses and get stuck with a tornado on the road.
Johnson agrees, adding that storm casualties in traffic accidents can often take a back seat. "What keeps me awake at night is driving, not the tornado," he says. "The tornado usually moves on a fixed path from point A to point B. It is very well behaved. The fastest way is a straight line. It is very visual. You can see where it is and you can avoid it. Driving is a completely different story. If you cover enough kilometers, you will see a serious accident. "
. 5 Storm Chasers drive armored vehicles.
Following a tornado requires more than mere courage and a willingness to approach a massive weather event. Prosecutors need their version of a Batmobile. According to Johnson, professionals usually opt for an armored truck to protect them from the destructive power of the storm. "We do not just drive around in a pickup truck," he says. "I have a roll cage to keep it from being crushed. It is designed for off-road use. It is heavier than a normal truck. The roll cage made of steel increases the weight. There is an outer coating to avoid breakdowns in the vehicle.
Although the roll cage is heavy, the goal is not to make the vehicle heavier, making it harder for a tornado to pick up. "If you get into a tornado at the end of the day that can throw the vehicle, a weight difference of 500 or 800 pounds is irrelevant." Tornadoes can pick up combiners. "These things happen, I prefer the truck to be lighter and more gas-friendly. "
. 6 Storm Chasers have seen flying houses.
Storm Chasers do not want to enter directly into a tornado or other bad weather event. They just want to be close enough to get readings or take pictures. Johnson tries to take photos within 200 or 300 meters, which is still close enough to see how strong the wind speed can be. "I saw a house flying through the air," he says. "I saw a truck flying across the street 50 meters in front of me."
7. Storm chase devices are impressive.
Most chasers use Doppler radar, laptops, cameras, and other devices to analyze data and take pictures. If you've been wondering how to do it without endangering yourself, the answer is simple. For still pictures, Mottice places the camera outside on a tripod while he stays in the truck. That keeps him out of danger – but his equipment is a different story. "I have my camera and equipment on a tripod, I'm in the car and taking remote shots, the hail can hit the camera, wind is a problem." Some pursuers bring replacement equipment if their equipment breaks down.
] 8. Storm Chasers know they should wear helmets (which they usually do not do).
As flying debris cut through the air, it is obvious that storm hunters should equip themselves with helmets. I'm embarrassed to say I'm not wearing a helmet, "says Morgerman." The fans have been pushing me for years to wear one, the entire [television] crew is wearing helmets, I do not want anything to interfere with the experience. "
. 9 Storm Chasers can have physical effects.
An experienced hunter can design routes to protect you from tornadoes. In hurricanes, they search for buildings that withstand the strength of the storm. "This planning does not mean, however, that they always run away unscathed. Heavy winds of the hysterical eye wall can have lasting effects." The intense gustiness can lead to rapid pressure changes that can really hurt your ears, "he says.
10 Storm fighters know that thunderstorms can be incredibly destructive.
Most people assume that hurricanes and tornadoes are the height of danger when it comes to storm hunts, but according to Mottice, a severe thunderstorm can reach or surpass these destructive forces "Some people think a fierce 80-mph storm is not a big deal, the tornado is the big deal," he says, "but winds do more damage than some tornadoes Speed of 120 miles per hour, they can do a lot of damage. "
Mottice is also at S Carefully pile with hail. Once he said, "I did not know there was a storm coming up behind the one we were chasing after, we were caught in the core of this one, it threw a golfball-sized hail on us, and the vehicles on the roads had broken disks."   Storm fighters fear they might be a bad example for amateurs.
The storm-hitting community discusses a lot about what distinguishes a professional from an amateur, and in general, professional storm hunters get paid for their work, whether it be an amateur But there's no license required to hunt a storm, and anyone can chase down extreme weather – Morgerman, who has probably experienced more hurricanes than anyone else – he says the Science Channel claims it's his TV series confirms – believes that amateurs who follow chases in the social media, could have the wrong idea. I remember that I was a 15-year weather nerd who wanted to make this experience. I am worried that I will set a bad example. I'm worried that some kids will see what I'm doing and try to do it, but without the experience and knowledge that I have. "