What's it like chasing with Tempest Tours?
See our latest photos Watch "Chasing a Tornado Outbreak with Tempest Tours" 8 minutes
Tempest Tours is arguably the best storm chasing team in America. We are operated by a team of experienced and respected storm chasers who understand every facet of storm chasing. Our goal is to share our knowledge and appreciation for storms with others. We conduct tours in May and June, to coincide with peak tornado activity in Tornado Alley. Guests travel to our base cities where they join us. Tours are typically comprised of 6-13 guests. Guests ride in roomy, smoke-free vans, with a limit of 5-6 guests per van for comfort. Each tour is led by our Tour Director and a staff of experienced storm chasers. Upon arriving at our base city hotel, guests receive a pre-tour orientation which provides information on tour itinerary and guidelines.
We emphasize safety, education and responsible conduct. We track storms close enough to view tornadoes, but far enough to be safe. We do not "drive into" dangerous weather and do everything possible to avoid these hazards. In fact, it is common to see other motorists driving into large hail, etc. when we are safely out of the way.
During the tour, each guest will have an unobstructed window view in our clean, comfortable, smoke-free owned and carefully maintained vans. In order to maximize safety, logistics and maintain the quality of our product, we rarely operate more than two vehicles.
On the morning of each chase day, the Tour Director presents a forecast briefing to the group. The briefing outlines the day's target and departure time. If forecast parameters suggest an early departure, the Tour Director informs the group the night before. However, the group must be ready to depart for a chase target with very little notice. This is one of the many things that make storm chasing both challenging and exciting. The goal of each chase day is to forecast and intercept the most significant weather that we expect to develop on the Plains later in the day. We operate primarily in the Tornado Alley states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Along the way, our team educates guests about the many dimensions of storm chasing including the meteorology, logistics and even romance of our discipline. Guests will gain a greater appreciation for the atmosphere and the Great Plains.
We concentrate on forecasting supercell thunderstorms, our initial objective. Supercells are thunderstorms with long-lived rotating updrafts. When supercells develop as forecasted, the group will intercept and view them from a safe distance. Some chase days continue after dark when Mother Nature provides us with a spectacular lightning display. Guests are afforded many opportunities for photography.
At the end of each chase day, we head for a clean, comfortable motel where guests can recharge for the next day's chase. Lodging is paid for by Tempest Tours during the tour.
Tornado Alley is home to some of the best cooking on the planet! Whenever possible, we lead the group to eateries specializing in local cuisine such as chicken fried steak, fried okra, baked squash casserole, Tex-Mex, BBQ, steak and eggs, homemade pies, and cobbler. The best opportunity to sample local cuisine is at breakfast and lunch. Dinner-time is usually also "storm time." Guests who require an early evening dinner should take along a snack. Snacks are easily acquired during fueling stops. All meals are paid for by guests. Link to TESSA's Tornado Alley Restaurant Guide.
There are some days when no storms occur on the plains of Tornado Alley. Atmospheric physics require "recovery" days in between stormy periods. It is the "order follows chaos" principle of weather. We use these days to reposition for the next storm intercept. Along the way, we visit as many points of interest as time allows. Some of the sites on our maps include: the National Severe Storms Laboratory and Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado and other weather-related facilities, the Twister Museum in Wakita, OK, Cadillac Ranch and Big Texan in Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon in Texas, the world's largest ball of twine in Kansas, Chimney Rock National Monument in Nebraska and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. And, there are the miles of beautiful prairie landscapes, and skyscapes, that every day of the tour offers!
What is included on each tour?
Why should I choose Tempest Tours for my storm chasing adventure?
Which tour offers the greatest chance of seeing tornadoes and supercell thunderstorms?
How do we count the tornadoes we see?
To learn more about tornado climatology, and the best time to chase, click here.
To sign-up for a storm chasing expedition, proceed to our registration page.