Storm chasing attracting more visitors to the Panhandle - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Storm chasing attracting more visitors to the Panhandle

Storm Chasers at NewsChannel10's Storm track center with Chief Meteorologist, Doppler Dave Oliver. (Source: KFDA) Storm Chasers at NewsChannel10's Storm track center with Chief Meteorologist, Doppler Dave Oliver. (Source: KFDA)
Switzerland Storm Chasers, Mikael (Left) & Johan (Right) (Source: KFDA) Switzerland Storm Chasers, Mikael (Left) & Johan (Right) (Source: KFDA)
(Source: KFDA) (Source: KFDA)
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -

Storm chasing is attracting more visitors from around the world to the area as the hobby grows on media, storm bus tours and reality television shows.

Two of those visitors are now in Amarillo. Mikael and Johan are best friends from Switzerland, who are longtime storm watchers looking for something different.

"I love the sky and thunderstorms, it's dream for me to see a tornado in the USA for many years," said Johan.

"I always loved taking pictures of thunderstorms in Europe, and the only thing that is missing are tornadoes," said Mikael. "So, that's why we are here chasing tornadoes." 

The two have been planning for this trip since the beginning of the year and will be traveling throughout Texas and Oklahoma for about a month tracking tornadic storms. 

But a hobby like this, comes at a price.

"It's really expensive, we had to bring computers, GPS and tablets to get the live radar and to also guide us across the country," said Mikael. "We are here to take pictures and view tornadoes. Obviously this costs a lot. It is not a cheap journey."

Not only can storm chasing be expensive, it can also be dangerous especially when hundreds of storm chasers block roads and do not watch their surroundings.

"It used to be that the storms, themselves, were the biggest danger," said Chief Meteorologist, Doppler Dave Oliver. "Now, there are so many people out near these tornadic storms that they are running into each other, and we're having fatal accidents. It's becoming more frequent, so, now, really the biggest hazards are traffic, rain-slick highways and the other person."

First Alert Chief Meteorologist Doppler Dave Oliver suggests new chasers to travel with someone who is experienced and to always have a designated driver and navigator.

"Being on our own is kind of scary," said Mikael. "We are not experienced because it's our first time chasing a tornado. I know that this is something that we should be careful with. We need to watch all around and see how the weather changes and watch out for the traffic. Apparently, one of the most dangerous situations is just being on the road and checking the radars and crossing pathways. Even perhaps, the hail can be damaging to the vehicle and could kill us if we are not safe."

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