Unique Approach

StormGroup Chasers is not a commercial business - no profits are made. As a small group of like-minded people sharing expenses, it's a much more personalised, participative and educational experience than many of the large group tours operating on the Plains.

Each tour is a full 7 days days on the road using one chase vehicle, allowing greater flexibility of movement and making the best use of our chase day.  The small group approach allows greater communication and flexibility, including healthier food options - daily supermarket shopping stored in a fridge in the van, to enable scenic picnic stops for lunch.

Regular daily departures by 9:00am (after breakfast at interesting local diners), and no late night driving marathons (except where jointly agreed upon to meet a promising “next day target”) also make for a more enjoyable chase experience.

Our Chasing Guidelines

  • deliver the best overall experience - a great holiday that includes superb storm chasing
  • focus on the group's needs, rather than the leader's personal storm chasing objectives
  • maintain a “beginner’s mind” to keeping an understanding of the group's perspective
  • continue to fully appreciate the “wonder of it all” – don’t get jaded
  • involve the group in the forecasting process - with final decisions by the tour leader
  • educate using background resources/materials and live involvement in the chase
  • communication, communication, communication
  • chase every tornadic event, "go" for all severe opportunities - failing that, chase all available storms
  • safety as the baseline - while we want the “whole experience”, always carefully manage the risks
  • enable photography, e.g. sunsets, unique lighting, dramatic scenes, storm effects, local sights
  • book hotel locations for overnight severe weather activity
  • experience the Midwest “history and landmarks” - but avoid “tourist traps”
  • find unique & interesting restaurants/diners for that "local" experience
  • enable healthy food options, balanced against the need sometimes just to "grab & go"

Tour Leadership

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 parents tell the story of me standing in my crib and watching a major lightning display one night in London - childhood imprinting for severe weather!

I've personally witnessed over 90 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. In 2016 we were right underneath a supercell as the tornado sirens went off south of Dodge City - we witnessed 12 separate tornadoes that afternoon from one incredible cyclic tornadic supercell.

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.

Randy Hall returns for his 5th year, again in the co-driver’s seat, this year for Tour 2. As the child of a WWII China-Burma-India Theatre pilot and radioman, Randy learned to fly at his dad’s knee and was awed by the beauty and power of the cumulus towers that surrounded them. Randy married his childhood sweetheart and fellow chaser, Jo Ann, and translated his love of flying into a career in aerospace. "Every trip with Peter yields exciting chases, awe-inspiring weather, and life-long friendships with my fellow chasers".

Rick Young has been chasing with me for 10 years, and will co-drive with me on Tour 3 & 4. 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 event; and many, many more. "Peter's small group approach gives everyone an opportunity to be involved, communicate, ask questions and learn".

Steve Graham has been storm chasing 4 times, 3 of those with SGC, and will co-drive with me on Tour 5. Retired after a successful career in the Pharmaceutical industry, Steve brings a passion for severe weather developed as a child growing up in the Midwest.  He also has an interest in photography, especially landscape photography, is an avid cyclist, enjoys hiking and fitness, and loves to travel.  Steve enjoys the camaraderie of the group and sharing the excitement of seeing severe weather first-hand.  “Storm chasing is about much more than finding elusive tornadoes, it is about appreciating the formation and development of enormous, powerful and beautiful storm systems.”

Lena Tom began chasing in 2015 with SGC, joining us for 4 seasons since then, and is now returning as a driver for Tours 6 & 7. Lena is also a child of the Midwest and grew up with a fascination with storms and "Tornado Alley." She now resides in Chicago, runs a small business, and explores her life-long passion for painting. Yes, including painting tornadoes. She views chasing not only as an opportunity to see amazing storms and tornadoes, but also a great American road trip.

Tech Specs

StormGroup Chasers tours will use the largest spacious Chevy Suburban or similar vehicle, with two drivers & four passengers, each with their own window seat.

There is a full technology platform - widescreen display laptop visible from all seats, so you always know "what's going on"; real-time weather & radar software; full access to all severe weather forecast models and analytics; supported by on-road real-time reliable Internet access using mobile hotspots, antenna and amplifier; position tracking via GPS/Street Atlas; public reporting to Spotter Network; and a Weather Radio as a safety-warning backup. Due to the challenges of managing competing data streams/bandwidth, WiFi is not available in the vehicle, so guests should arrange for their own Internet access while on the chase.

#4 for 7 Days - 2022

On the Road:
Monday, May 30 through
Sunday, Jun 5
Arrive in OK City on May 29th, depart OK City on June 6th

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