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Tuesday, August 25th 2009

10:11 PM

WSCA President defends storm chasers and spotters!

  • Mood: Mad As Hell!
  • Music: Country...as usual!
Today I was listening to B95 Radio here in Eau Claire when an ad came across the radio. As usual I try to tune such ads out while I am driving but this one caught my attention. It was for Bjorkstrand Metal Roofing, LLC (www.wimetalroofing.com)

It started out all innocent...the sound of a tornado approaching and a storm siren going off......then a stereotype spewed forth that seriously had me so mad I was shaking! The narrator says "Here they come......the storm chasers.....to offer you high prices to fix your roof after a storm....only to do a half-asphalt job and disappear with your money!" or something to that effect! Frankly, I was livid! How dare they portray storm chasers in such a way?? I know there are ppl out there who do this sort of thing...prey on desperate homeowners still in shock from a storm and the damage left behind. But, that is no excuse to place a stereotype that ALL storm chasers are like that.

A legitimate storm chaser is a registered spotter with his local community and the NWS. PERIOD. A legitimate storm chaser is a volunteer in his or her community who risks their lives to document, photograph, videotape and research storm development and it's aftermath.

This irresponsible portrayal of "storm chasers" has done remarkable damage to our reputation and the reputation of such organizations as SKYWARN, Amateur Radio Weather Net, National Weather Service, NOAA, NASCAS and countless chase teams across the state that are a part of the WSCA. Not to mention those across this nation who do this type of research work for universities and research centers.

I contacted Bjorkstrand and left a message. I also realized that damage control was in order so I posted a media request to all of the major news stations in the area to get them to do a story on this. I have asked that the ad be pulled and that Bjorkstrand offer a public apology w/ an explanation on what the term Storm Chaser is really for.

I will not stand idly by and let someone smear the good name we, as legitimate researchers, have worked so hard to set forth for decades. Join me in voicing your opinion on this subject. Thank you.

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Wednesday, June 17th 2009

11:38 AM

A few notes from the WSCA President

Hello and welcome to the WSCA website. I would like to thank all of you for your support and dedication. Without you none of this would have been possible. Keep up the good work.

The website has grown substantially since December '08. Membership has increased to over 50 members statewide. Site traffic has increased at an average rate of 300% per month. The total bandwidth for April was 38MB and increased to nearly 181MB in May! That is an amazing feat! Keep spreading the word about us!

Now, a few points have been brought to my attention that I would like to clear up.

#1 - The membership count for the WSCA may at times be inaccurate. If a group decides to join the WSCA, only the president of that group is needed to join the WSCA membership. The individual members of that particular group are not required to sign up but may do so if they like. This means that our true membership count can be in the hundreds or thousands depending on the particular group sizes.

#2 - Although the name of the organization is the Wisconsin Storm Chasers Association, it does not imply that we are amateurs. The NWS does not endorse amateur storm chasers. The practice is highly frowned upon due to safety issues. Most of our members are Certified Skywarn Spotters with plenty of experience in the field. However we welcome everybody to join.

The certification classes are free and take just a few hours of your time. Once certified, Spotters are required to re-certify every 2 years. All trained spotters are issued either a Spotter ID# and/or an unlisted phone# to call the NWS to report an event. Those with Spotter ID's are usually very familiar with EMS Dispatch and are given more credibility when reporting an event. There are typically 3 ways for a warning to be issued other than Radar Indicated. Media Video footage from Skycams, Law Enforcement Confirmation and Trained Skywarn Spotter. Any other reports from citizens must be followed up by LEO/EMS or spotters and can take valuable time and resources to confirm.

The WSCA will not endorse or condone Amateur Storm Chasing. Those who wish to get real experience should request a ride-along with a Skywarn Spotter if space is available until you get certified.

#3 - As the only website administrator for the WSCA, I may not be able to update the site in a timely fashion because I may be deployed in the field. If you see my Spotter ID# (EC-A15) as deployed on the hunt for a storm or on a Sponsorship/Media/Membership Tour this site will not be updated up to the minute. Please use the Weather Tools section for accurate up to the minute information in my absence. I am working to correct this issue and should have it resolved very shortly.

Thanks again for reading. Happy Hunting!

WI Storm Chaser
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Saturday, April 11th 2009

4:16 PM

Educate Yourself and Others About Severe Weather!

  • Mood: Frustrated, Angry and Determined to make a change!
  • Music: Randy Travis - Heroes & Friends
On April 10th, 2009 an EF-4 tornado struck the city of Murfreesboro, TN.  I was astounded and angered by a question/comment a major TV news anchor made during a report on the storm and loss of life.

"Was there any warning before the storm hit??" I don't mean to be so blunt but damn......WTF!??? Apparently he doesn't get the Weather Channel on his iPhone!

My point is that spotters, NWS, NOAA, EMS and many others are out there watching the skies to try to give advanced warning. Back in the early days there was no warning. No sirens. Just a whoosh that sounded like a freight train and WHAM! It was done. Nowadays we have thousands if not millions of ways to stay informed! iPhones, Text Messaging, IM's, SMS, Streaming Audio and Video, Cable, Satellite, Radio.....etc!

All of this stuff is out there and saturating our senses every second of every day! Yet, I still see the media ask this very stupid question. Was there any Warning?? Damn right there was warning! The NWS issues hazardous weather outlooks 3 DAYS in advance! Watches are posted 10-12 hrs in advance of a storm. Warnings are posted within 20-40 minutes of an approaching storm. The storm will be in a neighboring county and moving at 50mph! Most normal adults can calculate distance and time! Do the MATH! Don't hesitate to act or hope EMS can save you! IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU! Thousands of people around the world have been killed because they were waiting for somebody else to take action.

As a citizen of the US or any other country...it is YOUR responsibility to seek shelter and protect LIFE. Property can be repaired and replaced. Lives can't!

So....what do you do?? Very simple! Get informed! You don't need to be a weather expert. You just need to be an informed and educated citizen! Look at this website, read the outlooks, watch the radar, look UP at the SKY! If the clouds are dark within your line of sight.....find out WHY! Get on your computer, call a friend, turn on the TV.....DO SOMETHING! If you need help with understanding something...ASK QUESTIONS!

The Marine Corps has General Orders that every Marine knows by heart. The most important order is that YOU are responsible for everything within your sight and will be held accountable for all that you see!

This applies to ALL citizens during storm season. YOU are responsible for your friends, family, neighbors, and fellow citizens. Check the radar.....inform all of those in the path of the storm! You could save many lives.

A man in Murfreesboro, TN is now recuperating from a broken back. Due to the fact that he nor his family were informed by fellow citizens....he lost his wife and 9 week old daughter trying to get them to safety while on his lunch break from work.

Why didn't anybody try to protect them as he was trying to do??

Because nobody took action. This tragedy was preventable by each and every one of us. We each take responsibility for these 2 people dying. The chain of communication broke down.

The research that myself and countless others have gathered is in vain if it isn't used to protect the people.

If you can answer the question "Was there any warning??" and you answer "NO"....you need to get informed and educated. By failing to do so...you are a danger to yourself and others.

Chase Wisely and Safely!

WI Storm Chaser

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