Be part of a group of like-minded people joining together to pursue and capture the "whole severe storm experience" - tornadoes, supercells, lightning and severe weather of all kinds.
StormGroup Chasers has had an impressive track record in the past six years, with over 50 tornadoes witnessed, including some major EF5 tornadoes. We have been on most of the major outbreaks - including Joplin, La Crosse, Kingfisher, Ault, Moore, Carney/Shawnee, Hutchinson and El Reno.
But it's not just about the tornadoes - in 2016 we chased numerous severe-warned storms on 31 of the 42 days on the road, and saw 12 tornadoes, including the Dodge City ourbreak on May 24th. On June 14th, we witnessed over 5 hours the full life cycle of a massive supercell, from the initial updraft through to a 56,000ft storm with a tornado ... along with some other amazing storms that season, we brought home some great photogaphy, and visited some unique and interesting places.
Using only one vehicle, with 4 guests on each tour, this is a very nimble and flexible approach to storm chasing - no one is packed into large vans, and there are no large groups to herd through meals and rest stops. We eat in unique local restaurants where possible, usually have picnic lunches with healthy food in parks/scenic areas - and lots of time to target all severe weather, while still maintaining a "human" personal approach to each guest's needs on the long driving days.
Check out the testimonials page, along with the chase summaries under Find out more about previous years tours to see what a fabulous vacation is on offer.
Then come join us in 2017 - or maybe convince someone else that they should have this unique experience - don't miss the opportunity to chase with a safe and proven team.
Whether you know a lot about chasing severe storms or are just beginning to explore Mother Nature's fury, StormGroup Chasers will offer you a unique collaborative experience where the key words are communication, learning, photography and fun.
With access to all of the weather software and forecasting sites and models, you’ll be able to take part in the daily decision-making about chase targets, while learning about what drives severe storms, based on over ten years of chasing, severe storm forecasting and a life-time interest in the weather.
Each tour is seven days on the road using one chase vehicle, allowing flexibility of movement to make the best use of our chase days. With two drivers and four passengers, everyone has a window seat. While there is never any guarantee of tornadoes, StormGroup Chasers will chase all available storms for the best "severe storm experience".
Safety is paramount, but being able to photograph the experience is also a primary objective. From the power and beauty of a tornado or supercell, to a striking cloud formation, or a beautiful sunset, or a scene encountered on route, each day will take into account our shared love of photography.
Your tour will be led by myself, Peter Wharton, as tour organiser and lead forecaster. I started storm chasing in 2002 after a lifelong interest in severe weather. My earliest memory is standing in my crib and watching a major lightning display one night in London - childhood imprinting for severe weather!
I've personally witnessed over 80 tornadoes in my years of chasing. An especially photogenic experience was the classic Campo, Colorado EF2 tornado on May 31st, 2010 - this was a "chaser's dream tornado" - one that chasers wait years to see, and then talk about forever! In 2011, we were within a few miles of the destructive Joplin, Missouri tornado - a sobering experience, reminding us of the devastating impact of severe weather on local communities. In 2012, we witnessed 7 tornadoes one magic afternoon/evening at La Crosse, Kansas - that evening's chase ended with a huge cone tornado just a mile away, popping out of the gloom only when backlit by intense CG lighting. The 2013 tours included huge wedge tornadoes at Carney & El Reno, OK and Bennington, KS - unfortunately with tragic outcomes at El Reno, giving a pointed reminder of the need to be ever vigilant about safe chasing practices.
Despite all these dramatic events, the experience of closing in on a massive rotating "spaceship" supercell never ceases to amaze me - I really enjoy the challenge of targeting severe weather, rolling along on a superb road trip with great people, and doing my utmost to deliver the best possible chasing experience.
Malcolm Stewart, from Sydney, Australia, returns for a fifth season on the Great Plains. Malcolm will be my co-driver on Tours 1. Now retired after a long career as an airline pilot, his professional interaction with the atmosphere and weather has transitioned to a keen interest in the prediction and tracking of supercell thunderstorms in the Mid-West. "The dramatic Carney, OK wedge tornado in 2013, and the classic Canadian, TX cone tornado in 2015 have been just some of the highlights of my experience chasing with StormGroup Chasers."
Jan Bechtum returns after a year off for his wedding & honeymoon with Linda. He'll be my co-driver on Tours 2 & 3. Jan is an IT consultant from the Netherlands, as well as a an accompished musician and composer ... he was the first lead guitarist in a group called Picture, a Dutch heavy metal band ... after forming and playing in several groups over the years, Jan has recently rejoined Picture, currently on international tour. All of his life he has been fascinated with severe weather, especially thunderstorms. The opportunity came to tour Tornado Alley some 12 years ago ... after that first year he was hooked for life. "This will be my 9th year on the Plains, and 5th year with Peter ... chasing storms is an amazing adventure for me, and it is fantastic to be able to do this with a group of people from all over the world sharing the same interest".
Brad Matter returns for a 7th season, and will be my co-driver on Tours 4 & 5. Brad calls Canada home after driving for UPS in California for 35 years. Having chased for 3 years with other tours, he was driving in 2012 when we encountered 7 tornadoes after sundown near La Crosse, Kansas, and in 2013 was driving on our chase of the huge El Reno tornado, and in 2015 was there for some amazing mothership supercells in NE Kansas. Brad has a great love of the outdoors, a passion for severe storms and a well developed sense of humour - including his keen appreciation of English humour.
Rick Young has been chasing with me for 8 years, and will be my co-driver for Tour 6. Rick comes from a high-tech background and resides in Canada, spending winters in Florida. His background supports his fascination and passion for severe weather. He was with me for the "perfect tornado" in Campo. CO; a massive stationary wedge tornado near Bennington, KS; the tragic El Reno eruption; and many, many more. "Peter's small group approach gives everyone an opportunity to be involved, communicate, ask questions and learn".
Consider joining us for a personalised and flexible approach to experiencing the annual drama on the Plains - a unique collaborative chasing opportunity.
For further information, please use the Contact Us form.
P.S. Many thanks to Trudy Rudolph for her work on the initial design concepts for StormGroup Chasers, and the team at Brown Paper Bag for their design and execution of the web site.