FAQ for the U of M storm chasing course
What is storm chasing?
Storm chasing is an activity that goes back to at least the 1950s, and possibly further. It consists of determining (forecasting) where thunderstorms will occur and then getting to that location before they occur.
Driving is the transportation of choice, and can sometimes reach up to 1000 km in a day.
Who is eligible to chase?
This year, the course has been opened up to the general public. Primary consideration will be given to meteorology students at the U of M, then other students at the U of M, and finally to the general public.
Who teaches the course?
The answer to this sounds like a punchline to a bad joke. The course is taught by a University professor, a retired meteorologist, a meteorologist-in-charge, and a severe weather forecast specialist. What we all have in common is our love, awe, and respect for Mother Nature and all that she can do.
When are classes?
Classes are Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, beginning May 6.
Where are classes?
The classes are held at the Fort Garry campus in Wallace Building, room 217.
When is the field trip?
The field trip is held in the prime time of storm season across the prairies. It runs for a 6- or 7-day window which begins somewhere between Friday, June 21, 2013 and Monday, June 24, 2013--weather-dependent.
Where does the field trip go?
The bounds of where we will go are quite far, but the general outer limits are: to the north, the Yellowhead highway (16); to the south, Oklahoma; to the east, the Mississippi River; and to the west, the Rocky Mountains.
How much does the course cost?
The total cost is $820; this covers tuition, accommodation, vehicle rentals and fuel
The costs for food are not covered in the course fees.
What documentation do I need for the course?
As our potential domain does include the United States, proper documentation to cross the border is a must. Passports are required.
How do I sign up?
Email John Hanesiak with your interest in the course and arrangements will be made from there.
Why do you storm chase? Are you crazy or something?
No. We love to see the beautiful palette of the sky in all its incarnations. But we especially love when the sky changes so rapidly, as it does when severe thunderstorms are occurring. We observe, but always at a safe distance--safety comes first.
We do not glorify damage to any structures or injury; in fact, were it in our hands, tornadoes and other severe weather would never hit anything, confining themselves to fallow fields. However, that is not the case, so we seek to understand severe thunderstorms and thereby spread the message that they can be dangerous. We look to educate the public on what to do in case of a severe thunderstorm. And, of course, if we ever see any severe weather, we report it to the proper authorities so that they can continue their excellent job of warning the public as to the hazards from day to day.
Didn't answer your questions? Send us an email and we'll answer them.
Last update to this page: April 15, 2013