Have you ever come across those staggering videos of tornadoes and hailstorms recorded from within a stone’s throw?
You might be wondering who in their right minds would care to pull out their camera in such a hazardous situation. Well, maybe you would too if you were to get paid thousands of dollars for it! Yes, this, to our utmost surprise is a real profession called STORM CHASING!
By now, it is quite obvious what storm chasing involves. It basically means bird-dogging storms or other similar natural phenomenon (hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.)
This practice originated in the 1950s with David Hoadley, who started out as a way to gain insight into the weather systems that caused such havoc throughout the city.More about how this can be pursued as a career is discussed below.
Become A Storm Chaser: Steps That You Need To Follow
Chasing storms is anything but a child’s play. Therefore, once you have made up your mind about it, the first thing to do is apprenticeship i.e. exploring under the supervision of an experienced chaser.
This can be done via companies that may charge a few thousand dollars in exchange for this training. It helps in weighing out the risk factors. And if you’re lucky, you might as well get to witness a perilously picturesque sight.
Specialization in any area requires some degree of theoretical knowledge; the same is the case with this out of the box profession.
A part-time job in this field would require a short basic course from the national weather services (e.g., SkyWarn; USA).
This usually focuses on the fundamentals of storm watching such as foretelling storm activity, assessing statistics, self-preservation, and handling of devices like the radio.
While meteorologists track storms as fieldwork for their research projects. A degree in meteorology can take a complete four-year bachelor’s degree in science followed by a post graduate degree in meteorology.
Becoming A Storm Spotter
Once you’ve grasped the basics, it’s time for you to begin as a spotter. Spotters are usually people who remain in once place and keep track of the weather there and report simultaneously. This can also be done under a volunteering program of the National Weather Services.
One of the most essential steps is buying all the necessary equipment which are listed as follows.
- 1Video Camera: particularly a high definition one that can record the onslaught of the disaster when you encounter one.
- 2Digital Camera: It might not always be possible to record videos when one is amidst a storm, digital cameras can come in handy in those times. Also, photos consume less storage space than videos.
- 3Radio: This usually means 2 types. One that is known for detecting the weather and the other for communications.
- 4Laptop and Notebooks: for obvious reasons!
- 5Food: Last but definitely not the least, since storm chasing may culminate into days of an ordeal, it’s important to keep the food supplies in check at all times.
Start Earning Money as A Storm Chaser!
Getting to the nucleus of the conversation which many of you might have been looking forward to eagerly!
How can one earn money through this Herculean task and how much?
1. From Tv Stations
According to various sources, TV stations usually pay storm chasers an average of $500 per footage. Once you’ve gained momentum in the field, you can earn even more!
Reed Timer, an American meteorologist and an “extreme” storm chaser, as he likes to describe himself starring in Discover Channel, has successfully garnered a net worth of $250,000. That said, other freelancers earn relatively less.
2. Taking People Along with You
Another way of earning money is by taking along citizens in their expedition, where they have to pay as much as $3,500 per person.
3. Being Employed by Organizations
Working under organizations can bring in more fortune. An average chaser can make around $74,000 a year!
4. Other Ways of Earning Money
The amount you earn primarily depends on the variety of work you do. Storm chasing involves quiet a wide spectrum of assignments.
For instance, you can get involved in locating and following storms, writing articles, capturing breathtaking photos and videos, selling them to various media agencies, analyzing data, and writing reports.
Since it is your life you are putting at stake, it better earns you big money! Hence, the more threatening the situation, the larger will be the payout. For example, an expedition in Kansas, notorious for wretched storms, is supposed to earn you about $16,000.
In this profession you might also have to invest a large sum of money on each of your travels. In a year, an average freelance storm chaser is expected to have an expenditure of about $14,000 considering the equipment, transportation, vehicle cost, accommodation, food, and cell phone and data plan.
Usually, these freelancer chasers earn up to $10,000 in return which turns out to be of no profit.
However, full time employment under a television station can provide much more promising amounts. Therefore, it is better to consider a part time job if freelancing is what you’re going for.
A Word of Caution!
As adrenaline pumping as it may sound these journeys can be equally monotonous at times. Because let’s face the truth, storms are not easy to come across. It could lead to hours of driving, sometimes as long as 12-15 hours and you still might not come across a tornado.
How disappointing would that be!
However, it is often said, that once you catch sight of the majestic and mighty tornado, you might be enticed to make these exhilarating adventures over and over again.
Scientific Purpose for Storm Trooping
Although storm chasing is predominantly fueled by the characteristic thrill of it, this also serves a major utilitarian purpose.
Many of these expeditions are great help for scientific researches and extreme weather studies.
It also provides real time information in the form of live stream videos. The up-close view of the storms captured by these storm chasers provides an additional set of information that might help save lives in the near future.
Storm chasers could also be described as unacknowledged heroes, driven by their thirst for the thrill.
One might assume their hunt is for personal amusement, but they have been seen to run around to the authorities with their collected information and even carry out public-spirited activities like helping with the cleaning during or after the storm.
Now you know, no aspiration ever goes unnoticed even if it is something as bizarre as storm chasing!
So, what are you waiting for?
Pack your bags and get started right now!