Does a loud crack of thunder send chills down your spine? What do you do when you see a flash of lightning? Hopefully, you head indoors where it’s safe!

Would you believe that there are people that actually head toward a storm when they see one? And we’re not talking about just any kind of storm. We’re talking about some of the most dangerous storms there are: tornadoes and hurricanes!

These people are called storm chasers. Why do they chase storms? Is it just for the thrill of the chase? Or is there another reason for what they do?

While we’re sure that chasing a storm can definitely be a thrilling adventure, storm chasers do what they do to learn more about the most dangerous types of storms. Getting close to a storm — even in its direct path — can allow storm chasers to observe storms up-close and record data that they can’t get any other way.

Storm chasers are usually scientists who study weather and seek to learn more about these storms, so they can understand how they work. Tornadoes and hurricanes can be so deadly because, especially in the case of tornadoes, they often occur with very little warning.

The more storm chasers understand about storms, the more they can work on developing ways to predict when storms will appear and how they will behave. This information will hopefully one day allow weather forecasters to provide people with earlier, more accurate warnings, so that people can evacuate areas where bad storms are expected.

Storm chasing isn’t always as exciting as it sounds. It can involve hours and hours of driving, just looking and waiting for storms to develop. Many different circumstances have to occur to allow storm chasers to find a developing storm and get into its path.

Once in the path of the storm, storm chasers place scientific equipment that they hope will be picked up by the tornado. Then they retreat as quickly as possible to a safe place. If the storm picks up the equipment, the scientists can use the data it records to understand better what happens inside these dangerous storms.

Some storm chasers have even developed special vehicles that they believe can withstand the strength of a tornado. For example, the Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 (TIV2) weighs about 8 tons and has other special features that would make it hard — but not impossible! — for a tornado to lift it off the ground.

From time to time, storm chasers are not always able to get to a safe place quickly enough. Some storm chasers have been injured and even killed in this risky line of work. That’s why only professional weather experts should ever attempt to chase storms. It’s not a situation amateurs should ever try!

119 Join the Discussion

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  1. Wow that’s very dangerous that people would even do that! My teacher is in love with storms. I would never do a thing like that EVER! I feel bad for the people who got injured during it. This wonder sort of reminds me of hurricane Sandy.

    I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about weighing someone or Thanksgiving foods.

    • We think it takes a lot of courage and knowledge to chase storms safely, Wondergirl101! We think it’s important to remember that it’s very cool to learn about storms and storm chasers, but we don’t have to chase them ourselves! We want all our Wonder Friends to stay nice and safe!

      Thanks for sharing your comment and also your guess for tomorrow’s AWESOME Wonder of the Day®! :)

  2. We think it would be scary and awesome to chase a storm. We watched the Wonders about tornadoes and hurricanes.
    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about an elephant sitting on someone, a goat on someone, or a hippo on someone.

    • Thanks for Wondering about tornadoes and hurricanes, Wonder Friends in Ms. Bayko’s Class! We are proud of you for visiting other Wonders– even if they’re scary at times!

      We think your guesses are SUPER– we can’t wait to Wonder with you again tomorrow! Can you believe Thanksgiving is nearly here?? :)

    • We think that’s great, Travis! It’s important to keep safety in mind, too! Those storm chasers are adventurous and very smart– they always look for warning signs during a storm! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

  3. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We enjoyed learning about storm chasers today. We think they’re so cool. We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about overeating on turkey or how gravity weighs you down.

    Thank you for the wonders,
    Mrs. Tillman’s 4th graders.

    • HOORAY, our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Tillman’s 4th grade class are here today! Thanks so much for WONDERing with us as we learned about the dangerous but interesting world of storm chasers! We can’t wait for Thanksgiving… we really like your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®! :)

  4. I once saw a Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2. The guy said that it was really heavy. It looked very weird. Great wonder! Thanks!
    =Bryleigh= :) :( :D :P ;)

    • WOW, that’s pretty cool, Bryleigh! We bet the Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 was quite a sight to see! It’s cool to know that such a compact vehicle can help storm chasers get around with ease! Thanks for sharing your AWESOME comment with us! :)

    • We learned that storm chasers can be an adventurous bunch, Aniyah, but safety is definitely important! We hope that you learned something new from today’s Wonder… we’re so glad you’re here! :)

  5. I really liked the wonder of the day because it is nice to learn new things about storms and storm chasing. It was a little scary and sent chills down my spine. When I am older, I want to drive a dominator.

    Grade 4 Resurrection School

    • Hello to all our Wonder Friends in Grade 4 at Resurrection School! We’re so excited that you’re WONDERing about storm chasers with us today! :) WONDERing about storms and the people who study them can be a bit scary at times, but we’re proud of you! Thanks for sharing your comment with us! Have a terrific Tuesday! :)

    • It certainly is risky to be a storm chaser, but some people really love to study the weather up close and personal, Directoner101! :)

    • Well thank you so much, Aaron! We’re so happy that you enjoy WONDERing with us! We love meeting great Wonder Friends like you! :)

  6. We had fun learning about storms and how they get into a storm. We particularly enjoyed seeing the high-tech, souped-up, extremely heavy car. :)

    • We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed today’s Wonder! Thanks for sharing your AWESOME comment with us, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Corson’s 4th grade class!! It’s cool to learn something new about storms and the equipment used to study those storms! It takes a lot of knowledge and practice to be a storm chaser! Have a terrific Tuesday– we’ll see you soon! :)

    • Great question from Mrs. Dorough’s class today! We’re so happy that you’re WONDERing about storms with us today! Storm chasers use different equipment, depending on their objective. The Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 (TIV2) is one example of a very high-tech gadget! But some storm chasers will just have a cell phone, video camera, laptop computer and a radio with them! :)

  7. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Today’s wonder was great! The video was amazing. One of our classmates has actually met a storm chaser.
    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about weights, scales, losing weight at the gym, or even gravity.

    Thank you for the wonders,
    Mrs. Witkowski’s 4th graders

    • WOW, how cool that one of our Wonder Friends has met a storm chaser in person! Thanks for sharing that with us!

      We are glad that all our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Witkowski’s 4th grade class are thinking about the different elements and information used to study a storm! We sure are glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today– you have some SUPER guesses for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®!

      We’re having so much fun that we can barely wait until tomorrow! Enjoy the rest of your terrific Tuesday! :)

  8. We thought today’s Wonder was interesting. Kaitlyn was very interested in cars that survive going through a tornado. Connor thought it was cool to learn about the TIV2 cars, too. Vito thinks it’s interesting that people are risky enough to chase tornadoes. Madie wonders if there are ships like the TIV2 that can survive hurricanes.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about food, barbells, weights, cows, boulders, elevators, gravity, or anchors.

    Mrs. Ski wonders if any of her AM wonder friends will check it out at home and comment. :) Happy Thanksgiving Wonder Friends!

    • Check it out, our Wonder Friends from Mrs. Ski’s AM Class are here!! :)

      Today’s Wonder about storm chasers was very interesting, and we’re glad you thought so, too! Kaitlyn, Connor, Vito and Madie shared such AWESOME comments that we’re sending you virtual high fives! We Wonder if you can find out more information about hurricane chasers… we would love to hear about your research!

      We hope you’ll join us tomorrow, even if you’re not in class! We can’t wait to find out if your SUPER guesses are correct! Have a WONDERful day! :)

    • We’re glad today’s Wonder was right up your alley, Tyler! We hope you’ll do some more WONDERing about storm chasers and research all the different ways these chasers stay safe. We are excited that today’s Wonder was a big thumbs up in your book, but we want you to stay nice and safe, too! Happy WONDERing! :)

  9. Wow that was pretty cool! I liked that storm chasers don’t just chase they also saved lives. I would be scared to chase a storm. But I can see how cool it would be to do that type of stuff. Keep on working on what you do best is chasing storm’s.

    • You’re right, Azhir! Storm chasers really do make a difference; we learned in today’s Wonder video that storm chasers even fill in the meteorologists who are reporting the weather conditions! Because of them we know when to stay away from windows and glass (for a tornado) or when to evacuate an area (for a hurricane)! We LOVE storm chasers! Thanks for sharing your comment today! :)

  10. It is really amazing how the storm chaser can go after a storm. Also when he was little he was afraid of thunder storms and now he isn’t.

    • We think that the storm chaser from today’s Wonder video is a very brave individual, Korayma! He studied weather for a very long time and loves his job– like Wonder Friend Azhir said, he helps save lives! We’re glad he is no longer afraid of storms, too!

      Thanks for sharing your comment with us today! :)

    • We are so excited that you enjoyed today’s Wonder, Jason! We can’t take credit for today’s Wonder video, but we think that storm chasers are very brave! Thanks to them, we know when the storm is coming and we can take cover! :)

    • We agree with you, Korayma! We appreciate all the hard work that storm chasers put it, but many of our Wonder Friends don’t think it’s the career path for us! We think it’s SUPER cool to Wonder about all they do! :)

    • It would take a very brave person to drive into those storms– we agree with you, Kamaria! Thanks for sharing your SUPER comment with us! We’re so glad you’re here! :)

    • We are very appreciative of all the storm chasers! We agree with you, Blakeleigh, it would be a very scary job! We’re proud of you for WONDERing with us today! :)

    • Great point, Khalil! We think that storm chasers are brave and adventurous! Chasing storms is their passion! We’re so glad you shared your opinion about today’s Wonder with us today! :)

    • A team of storm chasers is better than one, Julian! Usually a team of people chase the storm together– that way they can communicate with and direct the driver while they are calculating the information from the weather! We’re glad you are WONDERing with us today! :)

  11. It sounds like the equipment that gets picked up during tornadoes often gets destroyed. If so, how do the scientists get information about the tornadoes?

    • Great question from our Wonder Friends in Mrs. K’s Reading Class! WOHOO!

      The storm chasers do lose equipment from time to time. However, communication equipment is almost always the most important. Many storm chasers are armed with a video camera, cell phone and radio to accurately track their storms! :)

    • Well thank you so much, Curious Girl! :)

      Can you imagine being a storm chaser! Some of our Wonder Friends think it would be the coolest thing on Earth, while others, like you, would much rather stay indoors! The great thing is that we are all WONDERing about storm chasers together! :)

    • Storm chasing is a brave and sometimes dangerous career– you’re right, Katelyn! We are glad you enjoyed WONDERing about the vehicles that storm chasers travel in… it’s quite a heavy way to get around! :)

    • We agree with you, Santino! We think it’s amazing, and often scary, what storm chasers do on a daily basis! We think it’s AWESOME to Wonder about the crazy storms they encounter! :)

    • Great point, Andre! Today’s Wonder made us think about the weather, storms and how much we appreciate all that the storm chasers do to keep us safe! :)

  12. That was really cool and scary at the same time. But it is cool how you said you save people in the storm because people need help in the storm.

    • You make a great point, Wonder Friend Kayla H! Way to go! We’re very appreciative of all those storm chasers who keep us safe from storms that are heading our way! :)

    • Your safety is DEFINITELY important, great point, Andre! We’re happy that although you may not want to be a storm chaser in the future, we’re excited that you’re WONDERing about them today! Nice work! :)

    • It’s a pretty incredible machine, isn’t it Henry? We’re so happy that you’ve joined the fun at Wonderopolis today! :)

    • It takes a lot of courage to be a storm chaser! Even though it wouldn’t be your favorite way to spend the day, we’re glad you’re WONDERing with us today, Ajhnae! :)

    • We Wonder what your favorite part of today’s stormy Wonder was, Kayla R!? We’re so glad you joined the fun at Wonderopolis today! :)

    • Great question, Stefanie S! It’s important to stay far away from tornadoes, unless you’re a professional storm chaser, of course! Tornadoes are very good at grabbing anything in its path and spinning it around. The movement is usually so powerful that towns have been destroyed in its path! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

  13. I think today’s wonder had a little chill to it. I think that today’s wonder really brought out the WONDERful meaning of the storms we have. I enjoyed seeing the video and hearing all those great things about how people feel and what they do after they are in a storm.

    I think that tomorow’s wonder will be about jets with gas left to fly, a day at school or at work, or maybe even a huge weight. I hope I get this one right!!!!!!!

    • What a great description from our Wonder Friend, Macey! We think you did a SUPER AWESOME job of WONDERing today! Storm chasers are very cool to Wonder about, especially when they provide tips for staying safe during storms!

      Thanks for sharing all your super guesses with us; tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day® is going to be GREAT– just like you! :)

  14. I liked that video because it inspires you in stuff that you have never tried before. And what would happen if a tornado sucks you up?

    • That’s a great point, Lindsey! Storm chasers are great at following storms… and their dreams! We think you and Wonder Friend Stefanie are thinking the same thing about tornadoes sucking you up! It’s very unlikely, because you have to be extremely close to a tornado in order to be sucked up by it. However, it would be very difficult to recover after a tornado– they can destroy towns with their power! Make sure you stay in a safe place, away from glass and windows, when a tornado is nearby! :)

  15. The video was super interesting for me because I have never actually experienced a tornado before and seen people chase hurricanes and tornadoes!
    Sincerely Danielle :)
    :)
    :)

    • We’re happy that you were able to see a tornado chaser in action, Danielle! We think it’s super interesting to Wonder about different professions that have to do with weather! We sure hope that you don’t have to encounter a hurricane or tornado anytime soon! :)

    • We’re so glad to hear it, gobgymnst! Thanks for sharing your feelings about today’s stormy Wonder! We’re so glad you’re here! :)

    • Hey there, Mushkale– welcome back! We are glad you enjoyed WONDERing about storm chasers with us! Thanks for sharing your suggestion to Wonder about the brain. We’re going to start our WONDERing now! :)

  16. I was just looking through my class blog and saw that this site was on it. I clicked it and made me go on this page. This has great information with great questions. I am a student that may be coming on here, commenting and just looking. I also listened to the video, just for a few seconds and thought of commenting for the first time. I thought that this is a very interesting question and thought that maybe that storm chasers are very brave to follow storms, since some people in the world are scared. I use to be scared of thunderstorms, but finally got over it. I think that this is also very well done and hope to see more questions during the week with some awesome answers and videos to it.

    Here are some questions I hope you can answer. 1. What kind of storms would a storm chaser not chase? Or would they do it for the fun of it? 2. Have you ever met a storm chaser? Or was this the person you met to interview? 3. What kind of experiance do you need to be a storm cahser? 4. Would one of you would be interested to be a storm chaser? Those are a few of my questions! It’s been fantastic writing this post, and can’t wait to see more!

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Simon! We’re so glad that you found us here at Wonderopolis– welcome! :) At Wonderopolis, there is a new Wonder each day– how GREAT!

      We think your questions about storm chasers are STELLAR! We can’t take credit for the Wonder video, but we learned so much from the storm chaser interviewed! Some of our other Wonder Friends mentioned they have met storm chasers in person– how cool is that? We think there are different types of storm chasers; for example, some only chase tornadoes, some chase only hurricanes, and some chase any kind of storm!

      We hope you have a WONDERful Wednesday! :)

  17. Now that’s what I call crazy. When I saw the video somebody will freak out if one of my siblings they would break their neck.

    • Yikes, we want to make sure all our Wonder Friends are staying safe, even when WONDERing! We think that storm chasers are very adventurous, and they often face dangerous situations, Ashley S! We’re glad you’re learning about what they do, too! :)

    • Excellent question, Chilly the Penguin! We bet that getting hurt on the job happens from time to time. Similar to other dangerous environments, like firefighters and police officers encounter, storm chasers battle the elements while they work. It’s important to remember that storm chasers take extra precaution to stay safe while chasing a storm! :)

    • Some people just LOVE storms, Kara! We think it might be scary to chase storms, but others find it thrilling! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

  18. Whoa that is scary but it looks like as you watch videos over and over again it looks like FUN! I want to be a storm chaser when I grow up!

  19. My friend ZZ thinks that storm chasers are silly because they might get sucked into the storm. I was wondering what do you think?

    • Great question, Serene! We believe that storm chasers are very brave, and take special measures to stay safe while they track storms. Because of storm chasers, we can safely evacuate or remain safely in our homes before it’s too late! :)

    • Hi there, Adam! We’re so glad to hear that you are WONDERing about tornadoes and storms with us! It would be quite an adventure to be a storm chaser, we’re glad we WONDERed about the weather vehicles that help track storms! :)

  20. Wow that was really cool someday I want to do that and by the chance can you get hurt while storm chasing? Oh translate in German.

    • Hey there, Madison, we’re glad this Wonder got you thinking! :) Storm chasers have to take extra precaution when it comes to safety, so they use radios and trackers to help them determine where and when a storm will take place. It’s a dangerous job, but we appreciate all they do to keep us safe! Thanks for WONDERing with us!

      Unfortunately, we can’t translate this Wonder, or any Wonders, into German. We Wonder if you’re learning to speak German at school? :)

    • We think you can do anything you put your mind to, Benman47! We’re happy to hear our Wonder video inspired you to think about storm chasing! Keep up the WONDERing! :)

  21. Wow that is amazing how long did it take to make the bullet proof car and why do they risk there lives out there it’s dangerous I would love to do a job like that to warn people about the storms but I don’t want to risk my life out there it is not safe at all. But I would love for you to send me as much horses and ponies facts as you can because I love horses and this is the place and website to find out all the stuff there is on Wonderopolis.org it is an interesting to learn about storm chasers so it really helped because I am learning about storms in school. Oh I almost forgot do you have a wonder about earthquakes if you do FANTASTIC.

    • WOW, what an awesome connection to our Wonder, Madison! It’s so cool that you and your dad can Wonder about storm chasers together– you can even share what you learned in this Wonder with your dad! HOW NEAT! :)

    • Hi Michael! Someone can definitely survive a tornado! Many homes in tornado prone areas have the safety precautions to protect themselves in a tornado! Keep WONDERing! :)

  22. Why do people chase storms? I think its very life risking. Especially if your dealing with monster size hail, EF5 tornadoes, or a category 5 hurricane.

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Why do some people chase storms?
  • What do storm chasers do if they catch a storm?
  • Do storm chasers ever get hurt?

Wonder Gallery

StormVimeo Video

Try It Out

Do us a favor and don’t get any bright ideas about chasing storms on your own! Storm chasing is a dangerous hobby that only professionals should engage in.

If you see a storm coming, do you know what to do? The safest place to be in a storm is inside. If at all possible, head indoors and find a safe place away from windows, such as a basement or cellar, to wait out the storm.

If you happen to be outside, make sure you get out of the water if you’re in a lake, river, ocean or swimming pool. Water conducts electricity, which can be very dangerous during a lightning storm!

If you’re stuck outside and can’t find shelter of any kind, stay away from tall objects. Large trees, telephone poles and metal towers can attract lightning. Try to find an adult and seek shelter inside as quickly as possible.

It’s no fun getting stuck outside in a storm, so one thing you can do to make an outdoor adventure safer is to check the weather forecast in advance. If bad weather is a possibility, make sure you make plans for what to do in case of a storm.

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In National Geographic Xpeditions’ Sister Storms: Children of the Tropical Seas lesson, children learn about different kinds of tropical storms throughout the world.

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