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Advent competition: Sturmjäger On the trail of storms

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Advent competition: Sturmjäger On the trail of storms

It is best to stay indoors during a thunderstorm. But the storm chasers are only in top form in this weather. They drive hundreds of kilometers to chase and observe storms and thunderstorms. But this hobby is anything but harmless.

What do storm chasers do?
 
Storm chasers are people who are fascinated by thunderstorms and storms of all kinds, and they hunt (from the English storm chaser).

So when a storm is forecast in the weather report, the storm chasers get in the car and drive to the place in question to watch, film or photograph the storm.

 
Some of them even have their own weather stations so that they can make precise predictions of the next storms themselves. But you have to hurry to catch the thunderstorm in time, because otherwise you drove the sometimes long distance completely for free.


Photo: Something is brewing - perfect prospects for the storm chaser!





Franklin, the pioneer

Benjamin Franklin is considered the first storm chaser. The universal researcher is revered in the USA as the "father of the revolution", who drafted and signed the declaration of independence. In 1752 the universal researcher examined thunderstorms and lightning with a self-made kite. In doing so, he invented the lightning rod. Although his interest was more in science, he also needed storms for his experiments and is thus probably the pioneer of storm chasers.

Photo: Franklin's experiment with a kite in a thunderstorm.

The term storm chasing became known in the United States in the 1950s and 60s. People like David Hoadley began to hunt down US weather phenomena. In addition to storms, tornadoes are particularly popular storm types in the USA. Since then, the storm chasers' community has grown from year to year and the hobby spread throughout Europe.

 
What is the fascination?

The storm chasers document their observed storms with video or photo cameras. The fascination of the force of nature thunderstorms goes so far with the storm chasers that they sometimes put their lives on the line. The mixture of a thirst for adventure and enthusiasm for the natural spectacle is the most important motivation for a storm chaser.

Figure: Accurate storm prediction is important for every storm chaser.

But the scientific aspect cannot be denied either. The recordings of storm chasers have already brought a lot of knowledge about the formation of thunderstorms or hurricanes. Nevertheless, many hunters are simply interested in impressive images.
 
Risky hobby

However, storm chasing is fraught with risks. The greatest danger is definitely the lightning strike. Some storm chasers have already been struck by lightning on their tours. In addition, it is risky to drive a car in such weather conditions, as the condition of the road and visibility become significantly worse. It's easy to have an accident like that.

Photo: Lightning, the voltage of which can be as high as 10 million volts, is a major risk.




Despite the risks, the storm chasers are enjoying further popularity. More and more people are gripped by the fascination of the force of nature and also set out to chase thunderstorms and storms. In Germany, too, there are now several forums for storm chasers, as well as a well-organized forecast network that announces the next storms.


And now our question: Who is the first storm chaser anyway? Please send the answer quickly with the subject "Weather Contest" to [email protected]


Another note: Please also write your postal address in case you win. Don't worry - the addresses will not be saved or used for other purposes.

The lucky winner can look forward to volume 7 "WAS IST WAS Wetter. Sun, wind and cloudbursts". The five fastest submissions will be decided by lot!

Solution: Benjamin Franklin

Maria Sch won. from Greding.

Your prize will be sent in the next few days!

09/28/2010 // Text: Jan Wrede; Images: Lightning: Navy (pd), Severe weather: Greg Lundeen (pd), Franklin: Le Roy C. Cooley (pd), Radar: Ulrich Rosenmeier (pd)

Note: All images and links have been removed from the archive