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Chase the fury: The Thrilling Pursuit of Natures Fiercest Phenomena

Nature's raw power and beauty have captivated human beings for centuries. From the mesmerizing sight of an distant thunderstorm to a heart-pounding intensity of a close lightning strike, our planet's atmospheric phenomena never cease to amaze us. For a unique group of adventurers and weather enthusiasts, the thrill of experiencing these natural wonders up close drives them to embark on an exhilarating journey known as storm chasing. In this article, we delve into the world of storm chasing, exploring the needed equipment, motivations, and the science behind the adrenaline-fueled pursuit that photographer Ville Puoskari has been documenting for years.

The Motivation Behind Storm Chasing:

For many storm chasers, the allure lies in the convergence of several factors: a deep fascination with meteorology, a love for adventure, and an innate desire to witness nature's most powerful displays. The adrenaline rush of being in the presence of a raging storm, the challenge of predicting its path, and the opportunity to document these phenomena through photography and videography are powerful motivators that drive storm chasers to brave the elements.

“For me, nothing beats the feeling of a down-burst shaking the car as lightning roars through the skies. That’s when you feel alive!” Puoskari says, he chases storms each summer in Finland driving for hundreds of kilometers in a day just to witness natures fury.

Night-time lightning barrage

The Science of Storm Chasing:

Storm chasing isn't just about the thrill of the chase; it also serves a vital scientific purpose. Data collected by storm chasers contribute to a better understanding of severe weather patterns, which in turn improves the accuracy of weather forecasts and early warning systems. Chasers often collaborate with meteorologists and researchers, providing real-time information that aids in the development of more effective disaster response strategies and getting valuable information as the storm develops.

A twisting super-cell thunderstorm crossing the lake Oulujärvi

The Tools of the Trade:

Modern storm chasing relies on a combination of advanced technology and traditional meteorological instruments. Storm-chasers different radars, GPS systems, satellite imagery, and computer models to track storms and predict their paths. In the field, they may deploy instruments such as anemometers to measure wind speed, barometers to track atmospheric pressure changes, and weather balloons to gather upper-air data. High-definition cameras and drones allow them to capture stunning visuals of these awe-inspiring events.

“A sturdy tripod is the most important tool, in high winds it becomes invaluable, mine has spikes on the legs to really anchor it to the ground. To get started one should use a wide-angle lens and a shutter release cable to capture lightning at night. During the day a lightning trigger is a great choice to get some amazing shots, especially during dusk or dawn.”

Positive lightning strike and a twisting cloud to cloud lightning


More experienced chasers such as Puoskari have also equipped their car to suit the job.

“Although my car looks from the outside just like a normal sedan I have installed a tablet dedicated for weather information on-the-go to the front seat. I also have a dash-cam to record core-punches, a portable refrigerator, sleeping mattress, spare tire and extensive first aid kit with me on every chase. I’d love to get an anemometer too in the near future!”

It's important to note that storm chasing is not without risks. Severe weather can be unpredictable and dangerous, posing threats such as lightning strikes, falling trees, hail, flash floods and extremely high winds from down-bursts and even tornadoes are possible hazards that storm-chasers need to be aware of and prepare for. Responsible storm chasers prioritize safety, undergoing extensive planning, training and staying informed about weather conditions at all times.

Severe mesoscale convective system in Eastern Finland

Conclusion:

Storm chasing is a captivating blend of adventure, science, and respect for the awe-inspiring power of nature. Enthusiasts and scientists alike are drawn to the adrenaline rush and the opportunity to contribute to our understanding of weather patterns. While the pursuit is not without risks, responsible storm chasers prioritize safety above all else. As technology continues to advance and our knowledge of atmospheric dynamics deepens, storm chasing will likely remain a thrilling and meaningful endeavor for those who seek to witness the raw beauty and power of the elements up close.

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