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Monday, August 21, 2017

HOW TO BECOME A STORM CHASER

How To Become A Storm Chaser

How can I become a storm chaser? That is one of the most frequent questions that we get asked while out on a Storm Chasing Tour, or just out chasing storms in general. And while there are literally thousands of Storm Chasers out on the roads during the storm chasing season at any given time, many if not most started storm chasing or tornado chasing much in the same way. Generally it starts with an intense interest in weather or tornadoes, or even maybe a close call or interaction with severe weather at some point in their lives. Much the the same way owner, Lanny Dean had when he was 7 years old. Some folks then turn that fear into fascination, and then the fascination grows into a deep interest. In turn, the interest turns into knowledge and wanting to learn as much about severe weather, tornadoes and storm chasing. Some go on to college to get a degree or some tun to their local spotter networks and become trained storm spotters through the National Weather Service.These folks however, are not storm chasers, they are Storm Spotters for their local areas via their local NWS offices.      


HOW DO YOU GET STARTED IN STORM CHASING?

I saw my first tornado when I was 7 while on vacation with my family. The fear as described above turned into fascination and it just started then. When I really started storm chasing there weren't many people chasing at that time. This was in 1990 and storm chasing had not gone to the mainstream yet. The movie Twister was not even a concept and it would be another 6 years before it would come out. I had done it as a hobby and anytime a storm would be within 25 miles I would go chase it! I then started going on chases much further away. Each chase I went on was different as each tornado was as well. And eventually I wanted to share what I was seeing and experiencing -  the feelings, the sights, and the sounds of storm chasing. I wanted to share it with the world because to me, there was no better feeling in the world than storm chasing. So I started Extreme Chase Tours in 1999 per time. As they say, the rest is history. 


HOW DO I BECOME A STORM CHASER?

Unfortunately there are no real ways of becoming a storm chaser. There are no schools that offer storm chasing as we know it, and there are no real instruction manuals per se. There are a number of books on the market that may teach you the basic book knowledge of storm structure or what severe weather and storms may look like. One such book is called The Storm Chasing Handbook written by meteorologist and veteran storm chaser, Tim Vasquez. It has a ton of information and graphic context in it and it would be a good place to start for the novice. The direct link to The Storm Chasers Handbook from Amazon can be found here: 
https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Chasing-Handbook-Tim-Vasquez/dp/0970684037     


BUT AREN'T THERE SOME KINDS OFSTORM CHASING CLASSES AVAILABLE?

There is no course work you can go and take to become a storm chaser. Most of it is learned by going out and chasing. The local National Weather Service in your area will provide Storm Spotter training sessions usually in the early spring before tornado and severe weather season starts.  These training sessions are usually just a basic presentation of storm spotting and structure and are in no means a way of explaining or learning to chase tornadoes or storm chasing. While these are wonderful events to attend, especially for the novice, there is no storm chasing instructional manual or knowledge given. These events are meant for Storm Spotting.   


SO HOW CAN I START STORM CHASING OR BECOME A STORM CHASER?

We obviously recommend going with a storm chasing and tornado tour company. One that has many years of storm chasing tours experience and has veteran guides who are willing to educate and teach you about storm structure, how to read radar, verbiage and the science behind it all. Your best bet is to go with a smaller storm chasing tour company as they can spend more one on one time with you. This means they are more personal and will be willing to answer any questions you might have and to help guide you to severe weather and tornadoes - all while explaining what is happening so you can understand.  Depending on your interest and desire to learn, we recommend going with a tour company for at east two years. This time frame will allow you to learn and will give you a very good idea if storm chasing is right for you, and if it is, you may want to go to school for meteorology or atmospheric sciences.


ARE THERE JOBS AS A STORM CHASER? 
The short answer is no. There are no formal jobs as a storm chaser. You might be able to join a field campaign study if you decide to go to college for meteorology, or with many years of hard work chasing, you might be able to chase for a local media outlet but the pay is nominal at best.


SO MY BEST BET IS TO GO WITH A STORM CHASING TOUR COMPANY OR WITH SOMEONE WHO IS EXPERIENCED?

YES! Storm chasing can be dangerous or even deadly to those who are untrained. Period. Never go chasing on your own, start with a tour company as outlined above and then transition from there if you would like. Don’t go chasing unless you have knowledge of storm structure and interaction. Currently there are about 12 legitimate storm chasing tours and tornado tours vacation companies in the industry right now. So choose wisely and make sure you do your homework about the tour company you decide to go with. How many years have they been chasing or how long have they been in business? What is their safety record? Do they take precautions to keep you safe at all times? Have hey seen tornadoes? Do they have REAL tornado pictures and videos on their website? Are they reputable? Insured? These are just a few questions to start with to help you get on your way to becoming a Storm Chaser.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Where To Find Cheap Vacation Packages?

Where To Find Cheap Vacation Packages? 


Well that is certainly a fair question, especially with gas prices on the rise again and less people traveling or going on road trips for their yearly vacations.
So as a Tour owner myself, I thought I would write my next blog post about cheap vacations and where to find them. But there is a short list that you should probably go over before you make any decision as to the word "cheap".

  1. Where do you want to go to vacation?
  2. What kind of vacation are you looking at? Surfing, Going to Grandma's house? Going to Vegas? Going to the mountains for the family getaway?
  3. And finally, what does "cheap" mean to you? As in how much are you willing to spend on this vacation?
Those three questions are wonderful starting points - they will help you outline the where, when, why, and how much. And most importantly, they will help you decide what "cheap" really means to you and what you can afford.

If you are at all interested in weather, tornadoes and everything Mother Nature has to offer, have you ever thought of taking a Storm Chasing Vacation? No, I'm not talking about the type of storm chasing vacation that has 2-3 vans crammed full of people and they herd you around like cattle. I am referring to a smaller type. The kind that allows no more than 4 people per vehicle and one where everyone will have a window seat. The kind of storm chasing tour vacation that does allow minors age 12 and up to go (as long as they are accompanied by a parent or adult).

Yes, that's the kind I am talking about in the picture above - a true family vacation with a personal touch!

As a small business owner of Extreme Chase Tours we offer these smaller type tours that are the most personal and, as you are looking for, Cheap. In fact, we are the cheapest Storm Chasing Tours company in the industry. Period. Not trying to toot our own horn or anything, but do your homework and you will see for yourself.

So if you are looking at where to book vacation packages, that are cheap, feel free to check out going on a Storm Chasing Vacation. You will no doubt make some wonderful lifelong memories but you will go home with some awesome crazy picture and videos like the one below:

         

And that's just the start! So when thinking and planning for 2018s vacation, Check us out and let us know if you are interested. All information and pricing is listed on the website as well as our tour dates. But you must reserve your seats as early as possible because we do book full very early every for the following year. How about giving a Storm Chasing Tour Vacation a try - it's an adventure of a lifetime!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A NEW KIND OF VACATION? Storm Chasing Tours Vacations?

Forget the cruise style vacations. Forget the long driving into the mountains type vacation. Hell, forget even for a moment about going to Grandma and Grandpa's house for vacation.

We are talking about going on a Storm Chasing Tours Vacation.....the kind of vacation where you drive all across "Tornado Alley" and search foe the elusive tornado. Sound exciting? Read on.....

Storm Chasing Tour guest, Lori, taking a "Tornado Selfie" in front of an f EF-4 Tornado
 
Happy Storm Chasing Tour guests with Extreme Chase Tours
Storm Chasing Tours are almost a religious experience in a way - once you are in front of a 50,000ft supercell that is producing a tornado, it kind of puts thing into perspective in the great big world we live in. And that's just one part of it. Of course there any many different people who chose to go storm chasing every year and some even make a habit out of going on a Storm chasing Vacation. For them, this is their vacation - and the icing on the cake of their vacation is the tornado and supercell/severe weather. While there are many different storm chasing tour companies out there to chose from, there is only one company that is truly personal. The kind of personal that checks your hotel room every evening after the chase before you check in. The kind of personal that teaches you about severe weather, radar, storm structure, how to read radar while you are looking at the storm structure and answers any questions you might have. I'm talking about our company - Extreme Chase Tours LLC www.extremechasetours.com

Biased? Of course I am biased, but that's because the personal attention given and mentioned above is factual. As a small business owner (a small tour owner who believes in quality versus quantity like all the big tour companies) I believe in the a personal one on one approach with education and aiding in the warning process while we are chasing. It is how I started chasing and after 26 years and 516 tornadoes later - it is how I continue to chase and operate my business.

If you are looking for a vacation adventure of a lifetime, one that is filled with excitement, fun and education then I would encourage you to take a look at going on a storm chasing vacation instead of the normal cruise or trip out west in 2018.

I started the business in 1999 and went full time seasonal in 2007 due to the high demand. Storm Chasing is and has been in the mainstream for years, pretty much since the movie Twister came out.
But storm chasing isn't like Twister.....sometimes there is much more REAL excitement, and other times, there is not. But the two things that makes going on a storm tour vacation different is the lifelong friends you will make and the memories that last a lifetime!

If this sounds like a vacation you might be interested in feel free to watch the video below to get a taste of what our storm chasing tours are like....and then hurry and reserve your seat today!
www.extremechasetours.com
www.stormchasingvacations.com



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Storm Chasing Tours and Storm Chasing Vacations?

That's right, www.extremechasetours.com and www.stormchasingvacations.com are now one Storm Chasing and Tornado Chasing Tours company! Owned and operated by 26 year storm chasing veteran, Lanny Dean. For those that might be interested but don't know about Lanny or Extreme Chase Tours this blog post will hopefully shed some light on the companies and on Lanny.

Lanny Dean is a native Okie and lives just west of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is the CEO, owner and operator of Extreme Chase Tours and Storm Chasing Vacations. He is also the lead Tour guide. Lanny is a 26 year storm chasing veteran and one of the best storm chasing tour guides in the business. You may have seen Lanny on the hit show "Tornado Hunters" that aired on TruTV. He has appeared on many various local and national networks including: The Weather Channel, Storm Stories, CNN, ABC, Good Morning America, TLC, The Discovery Channel, MSNBC, NBC, RealTV, Inside Edition, Fox News and many other media outlets as well as many local markets throughout the United States and around the world. Lanny is also a former member of The Outlaw Chasers and he has witnessed and filmed 516 tornadoes & 12 major hurricanes to date. Lanny was awarded "Storm Chaser Of The Year" in 2005 and 2007 for his coverage of the Greensburg, KS EF-5 tornado. He is the only current storm chasing tour owner/operator to hold that award. Lanny holds a B.S. in Electronic Telecommunications Engineering with some undergrad work in Atmospheric science. He spent many years working in the media receiving many awards for his photojournalism, photography and reporting, including an Emmy nomination for his weather reporting. Lanny has been working on a scientific project recording acoustic data in and around supercells and tornadoes and recently had an opportunity to work with the late Mr. Tim Samaras. He also worked for KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa as their Severe Weather Reporter and Photographer, prior to KJRH, Lanny worked at KAKE-TV Channel 10 in Wichita, KS as their Severe Weather Reporter and Photographer. While working in the media Lanny also won several SPJ (Society Of Professional Journalist) awards as well as being recognized by the Oklahoma Association Of Broadcasters and The Kansas Association Of Broadcasters for his weather reporting and photography. In 2012 and 2013 Lanny and Extreme Chase Tours won Best Of Small Business Tulsa award in travel and tourism. Lanny is trained in meteorology, is a true Severe Storm Expert and is one of the best weather forecasters chasing today.



Storm Chasing Tours & Vacations

In 1999 Owner and 26 year tornado chasing tours veteran and tour operator, Lanny Dean, had a dream - he wanted to share his knowledge, love and passion of severe weather and tornadoes with the general public by offering private affordable storm chasing tours and weather adventure tours in tornado alley. Later that year the concept of giving true personal Storm & Tornado Chasing Tours was realized and he opened up the doors to Extreme Chase Tours. Since that time our concept hasn't changed. For the last 18 years Extreme Chase Tours has made it our mission statement and goal to give quality storm chasing tours and tornado tours versus quantity. A concept that we refuse to waiver from! We refuse to load up and cram two or three 15 seat passenger vans full with our clients like many other tour companies do - leaving little to no interaction with the Storm Tour Guide or driver. To us, this is counterproductive to all group tours as many of the folks in the rear of the van cannot communicate or even hear or see what is happening. We truly believe in quality VS quantity!  We were the first storm chasing tour company to offer a smaller quality tours, with personal one on one interaction and education with ALL of our storm chasing guests. In 2005 and 2007 owner, Lanny Dean, was the first storm chaser ever to receive the prestigious "Storm Chaser of the Year" award given by IPEXCEL. Extreme Chase Tours was the first to offer personal severe weather photography tours, and we were the first storm chasing tour company to win The Best Of Tulsa Small Business Award in Tours category in 2012 and 2013!  Many folks talk about being first - we WERE the first to offer these services. Our tornado chasing tours are designed with our guests and clients in mind, from the first interaction with us, to your departure day - we strive and work for our guests! Come see why Extreme Chase Tours has a 77% guest return rate and why we were voted storm chasers of the year! Get ready for the storm chasing tour adventure of a lifetime!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Storm Chasing Tours with Extreme Chase Tours A real Vacation Of A LifeTime

As the end of the 2017 Storm Chasing Tours season comes to a close, we start looking at the 2018 season. Below are just a few of the highlights and tornadoes we witnessed this tour season. If you are interested in going on an extreme vacation with a personal touch, then check out our website @ www.extremechasetours.com and reserve your seat today!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Storm Chasing Single Day Tours


What are they and how do they work?

Also known as "On Call" Storm Chasing Day Tours or Single Storm Chasing Day Tours.

If you do not have a full week to 8 days to spare to go on our regular tornado chasing tours, but still want all of the the excitement of a real personal Storm Chasing Tour, we have go you covered!  Extreme Chase Tours offers storm chasing single day tours also known as "On Call" storm tours any time conditions become favorable for severe weather and possible tornadoes. These one day tours are only available outside of our regular tour schedule - usually during the early March into April timeframe, and later in the year in August. Please visit our website for more information @
www.extremechasetours.com/day-tours.html


All Tours as well as Day tours work on a first come first served basis. We will collect your information on a sign up sheet/email on the website and then email/call all interested possible guests on the list until we are full. We will try to give up to 48 - 84 hour notice for when a chase day appears to have high-end severe and tornado threat. The meet and greet location will depend on the location of the possible severe weather and tornados. You will be are responsible for travel to the "meet and greet location. You will also be responsible for lodging, food and beverages and any incidentals that you may want to purchase before and after the severe weather event. Please do not be late to the meet and greet location, remember, other folks have paid and are waiting to go. Should you run late, WE WILL NOT WAIT ON ANYONE - this could jeopardize the whole day for everyone!  You can visit our website to find more out about all of our 2018 tour schedules @ www.extremechasetours.com  



How to be placed on the waiting list/signup sheet? Just fill out the form on our website at: www.extremechasetours.com/day-tours.html  at the bottom of the page or send us an email and request to be placed on the single chasing day tour list.  Please include your phone and all contact information number so that we can contact you directly if need be on short notice. You will then be placed on the on call list, and when conditions are right, we will call or email you directly. It's just that simple! We are always here for you either via email or directly by phone. Fill free to contact us directly if needed @ 918-859-0248  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

It's that time of the year again - where folks are looking for a vacation to go on. Have you ever thought about going on a Tornado & Storm Chasing Tour Vacation? With a real chance to witness a tornado and severe weather with a 26 year storm chasing veteran? If not, you should! It will be the most exhilarating time of your life. Watch one of our Storm Chasing Tours trailers below and then check out our website @ www.extremechasetours.com for more information about our 2018 Storm Tour dates and schedule.



Ready to go on a real adventure vacation? Feel free to contact us directly @918-859-0248 for more info

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Lightning photography near Tulsa



Nice little cell produced some good photography opportunities early this morning west of Tulsa. I didn't have my camera settings correct exactly (in my haste to get set up) but it worked. This lightning pic with structure was probably the best of the pictures that I took. Hoping for more weather like this in the future!





Thursday, August 4, 2016

"The Lanny Dean Experience" Storm Chasing Tours USA

Some folks have wondered and questioned, "what's it like chasing with Lanny Dean and Extreme Chase Tours?" As a Storm Chasing Tour owner, I get that very question on  a regular basis. The answer is always very hard to explain....I usually tell them that they just need to be there to really understand what it's like. Not the best answer in the world but one of my past Tour guests and owner of Storm Chasing USA has written a blog that sums up the feeling I have when I am showing my chase tour guests what the weather is doing and basically what it's like when we are on a storm chasing and tornado tour. His link is below but I also thought I would show his picture as well as the blog post he wrote as well below.


http://blog.stormchasingusa.com/2016/05/12/the-lanny-dean-experience/ 










The Lanny Dean experience

I have chased with many different tour guides now and they all have had different personalities and guiding styles. We have the calm and informative style of Charles Edwards and Brian Morganti or the friendly and dedicated style of Gene Robertson and Allan Dietrich. They were all excellent tour guides but I really loved chasing with Lanny Dean.
People sometimes ask me what I find so interesting about storms. I am always a bit surprised by the question, like “How can you not be fascinated by tornadoes?!”. I guess everyone would find a full contrast, destructive tornado fascinating but we all know storm chasing is not like that every day. What makes every day special is the build up, the growing excitement, the let-downs and surprises, and the clues the storms gives you it might produce something spectacular.
That is why you can look at dark coloured, condensed water in the sky for hours – with an adrenalin rush. Often, you have no idea what you are looking at, what might happen or if you have any reasons to be excited – and that is what Lanny Dean brings to the storms. He has seen some 300-400 tornadoes I think but is still over excited about inflow, possible funnel clouds and wall clouds and he really brought that passion (and knowledge) to us guests.
Below is a video I just put up on Youtube that was filmed on our only real chase day of the unlucky tour of May 2014. We saw an anti-cyclonic land spout tornado that day (not in the video) but nothing else really, it still was a spectacular day thanks to the excitement and passion brought by Lanny.




If you think you might be interested in going on a personal and private Storm Chasing Tour/Tornado Tour, check out the website and shoot me an email for more info. Thanks for taking time to read!
-Lanny

Monday, August 1, 2016

2017 Storm Chasing Tours

Storm Chasing Tour guests from this season, Lori, taking a "Tornado selfie" during the beginning stages of the  Bennington, KS/ Chapman, KS EF-4 Tornado. This tornado was on the ground for over 90 minutes and our chase tour chased it most of it's life cycle. If you are interested in possibly taking a "Tornado selfie" like this during our 2017 Storm Chasing Tours, head on over to our website and check our 2017 tour dates out. Oh and as far as the weather -  it's HOT.   


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