After a year of no violent tornadoes in 2018, ‘Chasercon’ looks to the future

Readers will surely recall our recent story about 2018 will be the first year with no violent tornadoes in the United States.

Now, meteorologist Mike Smith writes to tell us about “Chasercon” February 8 to 10th.

Attention: Storm Chasers and Anyone Interested in Weather or Storms!

For the first time, Chasercon — the world’s largest meeting of storm chasers and meteorologists who focus on storms — will be in Wichita this February 8 to 10th. On Sunday, 10th, there will be a seminar on “how to forecast severe storms” which will be useful beyond storm chasers. It will be valuable for emergency managers and anyone wanting to get a jump on tornadoes and extreme thunderstorms.

Here is a partial list of presenters:

  • Dr. Greg Forbes (The Weather Channel)
  • Tim Marshall, world expert on engineering buildings to minimize storm damage as well as an expert storm chaser
  • Roger Edwards, forecaster, National Storm Prediction Center
  • Dr. Jason Persoff, the storm chasing physician (really!) and photographer
  • Jon Davies and his excellent storm forecasting class
I will be delivering the keynote speech Saturday evening (9th) as well as moderating a panel of storm chasers/law enforcement/emergency management on how to make chasing safer as well as more useful to society. Reed Timmer of AccuWeather, formerly of the Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers will be a participant.

There will also be tours of AccuWeather’s Extreme Weather Center in Wichita during the event.

Wichita Eagle photo

The event is being held at the Hyatt Regency Wichita (special room rates, here) which is a wonderful hotel with great food and great service (it is where I held my retirement party).

Bring your family! Wichita has many family attractions in or near the downtown area. For example,

Wichita has a new, modern airport and is served by most major airlines.
Photo of Eisenhower National Airport by Wichita Business Journal
If you are interested in weather or storms: come, learn, and have a great family experience. 
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Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 4, 2019 9:35 am


Tim Marshall, world expert on engineering buildings to minimize storm damage as well as an expert storm chaser

I’d really be interested in an account on his presentation. I’m sure it’s possible to make significant improvements on current building practices at an affordable cost, particularly when you consider how much we spend recovering from various natural disasters.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 4, 2019 9:47 am

Somewhere there’s a video from Simpson Strong Tie where they built 2 “houses” and then fired up some really scary fans to simulate hurricane force winds. Net result: construction methods matter.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
January 4, 2019 11:22 am

They did the same in California , while re-thinking and designing better construction methods to withstand major earthquakes.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 4, 2019 3:20 pm


we need to prepare for the weather of the past

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Steven Mosher
January 4, 2019 5:18 pm

Yes, yes we do, because there is absolutely no evidence that the weather of the future will be in any manner, way, shape or form different from the weather of the past.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
January 5, 2019 5:02 pm

Is there any other kind ?

Peter Morris
January 4, 2019 9:49 am

Aw man I’d like to meet Reed Timmer.

Ronald Ginzler
Reply to  Peter Morris
January 4, 2019 7:20 pm

Reed’s a screamer who hams it up for the media. A much mellower storm chaser is Pecos Hank.

Reply to  Ronald Ginzler
January 5, 2019 6:20 am

Reed is very mellow in person. Some years back we met Reed at an evening storm chaser event at William Rainey Harper College. We had arrived early and stumbled across the Dominator parked in the parking lot. My 11 year old had his faced plastered against the driver’s side door trying to get a good look at the interior when Reed and his girlfriend come sauntering down the sidewalk after dinner on the way back to the lecture hall. So Reed pulls out his key fob and fires up the Dominator using his remote start, and we all good a laugh when James jumps back and says “I didn’t touch anything!” Reed spent about twenty minutes with James sitting in the driver’s seat showing him all the controls and letting him adjust the hydraulics, lights, radios, etc. I remember thinking to myself that Reed might have missed his calling; that with his calm demeanor and ability to explain things clearly and concisely with obvious enthusiasm, that he would have made an excellent science teacher. But that description pretty much describes all of the storm chasers I have met in person, just good-natured folk from the Midwest.

January 4, 2019 9:57 am

Yes, by all means meet Reed and sit in on Tim’s presentation.

Chasercon is open to the public. The Hyatt is a fantastic hotel. Come and join us!

Tom Abbott
January 4, 2019 10:01 am

I wonder how the tornado tourist businesses are doing now?

Storm chasers are an invaluable asset when tornado season comes around. They keep the tornadic systems in sight and give us critical updates on what is happening on the ground. God Bless them all.

January 4, 2019 10:05 am

I will be attending my local Skywarn storm spotter training session presented by the National Weather Service on February 9th.
People often become complacent regarding severe weather during periods where there is little activity. Bell County, TX has been pretty quiet in recent years. Flash floods from heavy rain is about the only thing this area has experienced in the past few years.

Reply to  Myron
January 4, 2019 3:42 pm

Us amateur radio operators in our area usually attend Skywarn training in April.

January 4, 2019 10:30 am


What about the BIG storms?

Storm chasers were there for Michael, and captured valuable data and coverage right into the eye of that storm.
The site has exremely good contributors and graphic videos of what a “storm” looks like from ground zero .

Those folks reporting on Michael and Florence should have presentation, huh?

Gums sends…

HD Hoese
Reply to  Gums
January 4, 2019 10:57 am

Same thing for Harvey. I’m watching materials go up better, but some look the same. Rebuilding too high, rebuilding too low. Vortices and worse must have been around, as in one (of most surviving) live oak in my front yard torn off up high but below tree line, counter clockwise maybe. Others scattered around.

Older buildings seem to have often survived better, has some construction degraded? Four story boilerplate looking motels, for example. Still out of business.

Reply to  Gums
January 4, 2019 3:28 pm

Salute HD!

As much as I feel badly about all the folks that had their home and such destroyed by a tornado, there is a significant difference between a F4 tornado and a Cat 4 hurricane if you are withing 10 or 20 miles of ground zero.

After most tornados you can find a convenience store two miles away that has gas, ice, snacks, etc. I doubt if cell phone coverage is lost. Then go back with me to the aftermath of Katrina and Opal and this latest storm – Michael, which hit about 50 miles east of me.

Our Weather service and the bloggers on the site I mentioned kept all of us very well informed. We even got to see live video and such from the storm chasers at ground zero because hurricanes are not like tornados WRT warning and track ans such.

I am very familiar with the “vortex” aspect of hurricanes, having had a 60 foot pine come thur the roof and then seeing a dozen such over my parents’ home after Katrina. just a quarter mile away looked like minor wind damage. But those vortexes are there, and they are mini-tornados with all their attributes.

Gums sends…

Richard Patton
January 4, 2019 2:32 pm

Is any of it going to be streamed and/or posted online? I cannot afford to attend, besides my wife thinks I have my head in the clouds too much already! 😄

January 4, 2019 3:36 pm

This looks fun, and it’s a half hour from my house. Too bad I can’t justify the price for my wife and I to attend.

January 5, 2019 6:28 am

Here is hoping that the Streisand Gore effect will bring them copious ‘global warming’ during their visit to Wichita in February.

Alan D. McIntire
January 9, 2019 4:23 am

We’ve got to fight against global warming, else our children just aren’t going to know what tornadoes are.

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