Society » Real life stories
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Some Americans flee from major hurricanes, others chase after tornadoes

There are some insane individuals, who try to use any possible chance to chase a tornado in a car

There is a distinct way of enjoying oneself in the United States. It comprises the elements of risk and scientific research. This is tornado chasing. Chasers go to Oklahoma or Eastern Texas every summer to follow the destructive whirlwinds driving in their cars. When the distance between a tornado and a car becomes minimal, chasers get out onto the road and try to take pictures of tornado. Others usually call such individuals insane or suicides. The chasers do not protest.  tornado

Tornadoes are quite common for the central part of the USA. They are giant whirlwinds where the air is thrown back to circumference. As a result low-pressure area is formed in the center. At first its column is almost transparent, but as it gets filled with sand and stones, tornado turns into vicious brown whirlpool with a huge cloud of dust above. Whirlwinds can travel at the speed of 6o even more kilometers per hour. It is impossible to stop them, that is why they have not been studied well enough.

Dave Hoadley, Roger Jensen and Neil Bard were the first tornado chasers back in 1950s. Afterwards their hobby turned into a sort of sport. Nowadays there are more than one hundred of such “athletes.”

A famous chaser, Carson Eads, prefers hunting for tornadoes in Western Texas. He chases whirlwinds driving his Ford Explorer. It takes him several months to get ready for the open season. He buys all the equipment at his own expense. Sometimes the man manages to offset the expenses partly after a successful hunting season.

The most difficult aspect about the tornado chasing is to figure out the place where tornados appear. Many count on their meteorological knowledge or skills to have a presentiment of weather changes. Carson Eads says that he is one of those who can boast of having this gift. The tornado hunter says that the sky is the best forecaster for him. “I have learnt to sense the formation of whirlwinds during many years of my experience. I just take a look at the clouds and the next instant I know in which direction the whirlwind will go,” the man said.

Tornadoes often appear during storms and lightnings. If a storm occurs at night, a tornado chaser will have a chance to take the most extreme adventure and hunt for a whirlwind in the darkness. When a car races through the storm at night, flashes of lightning obviously pose the largest danger to a “hunter.” A shower of egg-sized hail is also extremely dangerous. One false move can ruin the car and kill the adventurous driver. 

There can be occasions, when tornado chasers encounter strange, inexplicable phenomena. Scientists still do not know why local residents find plucked hens after a violent twister time and again. Chaser Jim Stevens was walking about his tornado-battered farm, when he found a metal jug with a dead rooster inside. The bird could have never made inside the jug because of the very narrow neck.

Tornado hunter Tom Snatch once saw a live horse standing on a cliff 15 meters above the ground: the horse found itself there due to the lifting power of tornado, which luckily did not kill the animal.

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