View Full Version : Storm chasing - any tips?

14-11-2009, 6:36am
I really want to have a go at this. I plan (one I get to a good location) to set up my tripod and camera in the van and shoot out of the side/back doors - the side is a slider and the rear one a lifter. Does this sound like a reasonable strategy?

I now have a decent laptop, with wireless, so how do I connect when out on the road, to get updates. Do I need to buy one of those usb things with wireless time on it?

Getting into position is going to be the hardest thing for me, with the mountains right behind us it takes 1 1/2 hours to get to the west of them (Kyogle) or I can go north or south and then cross. North is looking best at the moment. Obviously I am going to have to rely on predictions and take a chance and go in the morning and hope a storm develops.

Any other tips and tricks?

14-11-2009, 9:52am
Hey Odille, you sound pretty serious about this!

Grab yourself a USB broadband internet stick, you can get prepaid or plan. It will only work in phone service areas though. You will also need a power inverter for your car so you can run your laptop. This is the easiest way to check in on the radars and weather warning while out and about.

I like to drive around on days without storms and suss out good spots too, that will be handy if the chance arrives. I actually used one of these spots yesterday and was wrapped with the results!

Bring some food, plenty of water/drinks as it can get hot in the lead up to the main event and you may drive a long way also. Make sure you have a full tank of fuel, maybe even carry a jerry can just in case, I do. The last thing you want to be doing is having to stop for fuel with a SE QLD supercell bearing down on you:)

The van sounds like a good idea, but you will find if it is not raining you will be out of the vehicle and sometimes if it is raining it will be horizontal so not sure how that will go. Sounds good in theory. The flip up at the back may not be as good as it will obscure the view of the sky.

Actually I would say you are in a great position Odille. Half way between the the Casino/Lismore area where they see some rippers and half way between the Boonah/Beaudesert run. By time they show a good idea of where they are going to track you should have plenty of a chance to make a decision and get in position.

As for today there is a average chance of seeing something happen in the afternoon, I think more than likely out around the Ranges near Boonah/Aratula today. I will be heading out about lunch time maybe a little earlier to see what is happening. Fingers crossed something like yesterdays this side of the range.

Remember, all storms are dangerous and lightning CAN strike up to 25km from the actual storm itself so stay safe, and don't take any silly risks. The roads can also be dangerous with flash flooding, debris and other stoopid drivers. Be careful, hope to see you out there:th3:

15-11-2009, 7:57am
Thanks Phil. I am well aware of the dangers, I had almost 4 years as Disaster Awareness Officer at Emergency management Australia when it was still in Dept of Defence in canberra. I worked on all their publications including updating those quick guides (lightning, Severe Storms, Heatwaves etc) and the brochures and pamphlets, along with the booklets and the Emergency Management manuals for Emergency Mgt personnel.

It was a fascinating time and really fostered my love of storm watching, which was already there due to growing up in the country and seeing them just roll on through.

Now we've got the van I reckon I am ideally placed, and after next week I'll be having every Monday off and working a 4 day weekend so I can chase til quite late, have a snooze in teh van if needed, and recover on Mondays! :D

15-11-2009, 9:13am
This coming week looks quite good at the moment. Loads of instability around for Mon-Wed, Thursday and Friday a chance too:) Gonna be a big week I think. Good luck with it:th3:

15-11-2009, 12:22pm
I'd love to witness and photograph a ripper of a storm.

Chasing a tornado in the US would also be a fantastic experience.

All I can say, for lack of ability to do either at the moment, is good luck, be safe, and capture some great images.

I love storms, too, and love watching the sky when one is forming.

15-11-2009, 12:24pm
Good luck Odille! Feels like its building up out here at the moment.. hopefully as Phil said we'll get some more rain in the next coupld of afternoons..
Xenedis, Phil is the one you want to talk to about storms, and tornados, he's not long come back from chasing tornados in the states :)

15-11-2009, 1:09pm
Xenedis, Phil is the one you want to talk to about storms, and tornados, he's not long come back from chasing tornados in the states :)

Unfortunately he's just a little way out of my neighbourhood. :-)

24-11-2009, 11:42am
I plan on getting out and trying to get some pic's of the big storms we get out here in Moree when my ankle gets better. Worst thing for me is, i work in an industry that usually gets busy when the storms hit, so i might have to start taking the camera to work again

Any tips on lenses to use, i currently have a 70-400mm Tonkia or and the 18-200 Tamron that came with the camera

24-11-2009, 5:26pm
Moree, you get some great storms out there! Our big ones are generally all born out your way, I am hoping to get down that way over the Xmas period to do some chasing. I have seen a few at Narrabri that were amazing a few years ago.

As for lenses, the 18-200 is probably the go, wide enough to get a good shot of the clouds, which is most often the most photogenic part of the storm. The 200mm end will be good to get some distant lightning. Just have to pick an area where it is flashing around and wait.

24-11-2009, 10:16pm
If you can try and go with someone who has knowledge of storms and how they move, nothing worse than getting caught on the wrong side of a storm. Try and find out as much about the area you will be chasing in too, roads, flood ways etc... you get caught somewhere, you will need to find your way out quick. If you can visit Weatherzone forums or even the Australian Severe Weather Association websites. Sometimes you can find someone who is willing to let you tag along...

Good luck, stay safe. watch out for fallen trees!