This page provides highlights from the chase seasons so far - currently there are 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 season highlights.

Below the chase highlights is a listing of vacation highlights ... what we do when we're waiting for severe weather, or those inevitable days when it's just sunny.

During each season, daily chase accounts are posted on Facebook at StormGroup Chasers.

The Gallery tabs, pages 1 to 19, have selected photos from the seasons from 2017 back to 2011.

Looking forward to the 2018 season!  Cheers, Peter


Experience an actual tour

2017 Chase Season Highlights

2017 was a challenging chasing season - we only had severe weather to chase on 24 out of 42 days spent on the Plains – despite that, we witnessed 9 tornado events, albeit 5 of them were rain-wrapped, so we had poor visibility despite being right next to the rotation/inflow.  We did track multiple tornadic supercells, with one right from initiation in Turkey, TX through to a destructive tornado near Elk City, OK over 5 drama-filled hours

Overall we travelled 20,103 miles in 2017 <reaching over 140,000 in total miles over 7 years for SGC>, visited 13 states, stayed overnight in 26 different cities, dined in some delicious American restaurants and diners, enjoyed some great tourist sights, and had another fabulous vacation/road trip on the Plains.

However, as Mother Nature would have it, the best tornado outbreak of the season was on June 12th in Wyoming, the day after the conclusion of the 2017 SGC season.

Here are highlights from our daily chasing accounts on our Facebook page – StormGroup Chasers.

April 30th - the day before the first official day of Tour 1, we went out early to catch a forecasted severe outbreak with a 10% tornado risk in Northeastern Texas.  After the last of the guests arrived for Tour 1, we got away from Oklahoma City after noon, arriving north of the target area as storms initiated in the southern end of the watch box.  Storms were soon tornado-warned as we headed east, then south to intercept the storms moving to the NNE. As tornado reports flooded in, we dropped south towards Emory, TX then NW to intercept a large rain-wrapped tornado ... very poor visibility, but within a mile of the rotation on radar, and intense inflow into the tornadic circulation and heavy rain just in front of us.  Intercepted another tornado-warned storm, then witnessed a brilliant lightning display on an intense line of storms training northwards over Texarkana, TX, our destination.

May 9th - target was a 10% tornado risk box in New Mexico near Clovis, NM, on a late afternoon dryline bulge and improving low level shear.  Heading south on SR209 near Melrose, NM we were placed under a tornado watch as a storm intensified southwest of us, then the storm was tornado-warned - a rain-wrapped tornado reported just to our NW.  Targeted a new storm near Sudan, TX - impressive inflow structures as the mesocyclone wrapped up with a prominent beaver tail, becoming tornado-warned with reported funnels just to our west ... drove west then north right under the hook echo - impressive lowerings, a reported tornado just to our NW, but obscured by heavy precipitation ... driving through Sudan, TX - street flooding, hail drifts and brilliant lightning on the adjacent storms.

May 10th - another 10% tornado risk target, this time in SW Oklahoma & NW Texas - targeted Paducah, TX, but as we drove east towards Floydada, TX a storm initiated on the dryline/cold front triple point, the updraft boiling up into the sky, and forming a gorgeous scuplted anvil - storm was tornado-warned, and the whole area placed under a tornado watch.  Area was soon "chaser convergence", large numbers of vehicles in convoy making it difficult to safely chase the storm and reposition ... drove through the eastern side of rain curtains wrapping around a distinct hook echo, an intense radar couplet with strong inflow winds battering the right hand side of the vehicle - as close as we like to get ... broke off chaser traffic, and dropped south towards Crowell, TX, then south on SR206 as a new storm developed in better conditions ... another distinct hook echo as we pulled up alongside the storm moving NE - turbulent cloud forms as the dryline overran us, radar couplet crossed the road just to our north, with visible rotation in the base, and rising scud into the updraft/ragged wall cloud - very dramatic. Setting sun started to light up the landscape and the storms to our north in golden colours.  Headed towards Davidson, OK to target another tornado-warned storm, driving through a rain & hail curtain to see under the base - rewarded with a brief cone tornado, with a confirmed ground circulation ... a great day with three major supercells, one rain-wrapped tornado, one cone tornado, dramatic storm structures and beautiful lighting effects for the photos.

May 16th - A classic chasing day where we chased the same supercell for over 5 hours, from its initiation as a small fluffy cloud just north of Turkey, TX to the storm finally weakening north of Weatherford, OK - over 150 miles "as the crow flies" ... targeted an area east of Plainview, TX to Childress, TX, with a 10% hatched tornado risk from Kansas down to our target area ... as we relaxed in a city park in Plainview, dryline was moving over us, lots of cumulus around testing the cap, and the SPC had now upgraded their risk to Moderate with a 15% hatched tornado risk … moved north to Turkey, TX towards an area of more congested cumulus ... an initial small cloud to our SW popped up, moved overhead, strengthening with each radar scan, anvil forming, and big rain drops falling ... headed NE to Tampico, TX to track the storm ... initially just a small blue dot on radar, within just a few scans the storm exploded upwards to a 41,000ft echo top ... we're the only chaser on this storm at this point ... stopped west of Parnell, TX to watch this now impressive storm, strong inflow winds moaning in the power lines overhead, dust blowing off the fields around us ... stopped on US387 just south of Memphis, TX, storm now getting really intense, rotation on the radar, wall clouds forming, dust really starting to obscure our view of the storm ... storm became tornado-warned ... as we watched, inflow winds really ramped up, and a strongly rotating dusty wall cloud crossed the road just north of Memphis, very impressive sight ... stopped west of Wellington, TX - inflow winds pounding the vehicle, getting concerned about inflow jet dangers ... could see lots of rotating rain curtains, inflow clouds screaming across our view into the circulation, but no visibility of a tornado ... filled up with gas in Sayre, OK - gas station shut due to tornado warning, but pumps on automatic ... big hail on the ground around the gas station .. ran east from Sayre, OK along SR152, crossed some minor tornado damage ... incredibly black mass to our north, more rotating rain curtains - in retrospect we were looking at the tornado cutting its 25 mile damage path towards Elk City, OK - but couldn't see it as it was apparently fully rain-wrapped for most of its life ... heading east, underneath of storm still very black, all sorts of rotation structures, but no visible tornado, intense radar couplets … storm then weakened, so dropped south to just east of Binger, OK to watch the lightning ... some gorgeous bolts, flashes and CGs under the storm, a safe distance away - then BOOM!! ... a CG struck just across the road from us.. almost "the one that got us" ... drove back up to the Interstate through the storm for some more night-time "excitement" - CG lightning bracketing our vehicle, blinding rain, finally out of it heading east on I40 to our hotel ... in at 11pm after an incredible day.

May 19th - A fabulous chasing day!! ... targeted a general area generally SW of Wichita, Falls where boundary layer moisture, upper level winds, and a slowly advancing cold front offered the possibility of late afternoon/evening storms ... into Lawton, OK about 2:15pm, storms had fired just SW of Wichita Falls, TX, and a tornado watch had been issued for the southern part of our target all the way south to San Angelo, TX ... as we drove through Eliasville, storm SE of Lawn, TX was tornado-warned ... as we drove south, we crossed the outflow boundary, temps rose into the low 80s F, visibility improved and we were under a huge anvil stretching across our whole field of view - a big 'ol Texas supercell ... as we drove into Brownwood, TX for gas & a pit stop, some spectacular mammatus were hanging overhead ... storm was now just severe-warned, but still showing some hook structures on radar, and distinct radar couplets on base velocity … stopped WNW of Brookesmith, TX - impressive meso structure, storm really winding up now, gorgeous sight advancing rapidly towards our position  ... dropped south for a safe margin to assess storm motion/behaviour, then drove back north towards the base/circulation ... very turbulent clouds above us, and a tornado reported in the countryside area just to our NW, not visible to us in the black mass to the NW ...  stopped in Lometa, TX for a pit stop & some gas station food, then north on US183 to just west of Scallorn, TX - soon became evident that storm was intensifying, and we couldn't safely make it up the highway ... about 10pm finally got the chance to "drive through the gap" - some heavy rain, but not too bad, but the lightning display was superb ... basically we had an awe inspiring display of every form of lightning for the whole 2 1/2 hr drive to our hotel in Mineral Wells, TX - anvil crawlers, CGs, long looping horizontal bolts, starbursts, spider lightning, flashes that almost produced daytime conditions ... a superb conclusion to a long chasing day.

May 25th - Gotta love these slight severe risk, 2% tornado risk days ... a fabulous chasing day, featuring one of the most beautifully sculpted supercells we saw this season ... targeted a potential severe risk area in NE Colorado, with Cope, CO as the nominal target ... about 8 miles north of Burlington, CO, about 3pm, stopped going north to watch as a new weak set of cells came off the Rockies just to our west, not impressive at first, but soon strengthened, the bases lowered, and we had our first lightning & thunder ... this became the supercell that we would chase for the next 5 hours ... watching from just south of Burlington, the storm really started to wind up, some impressive turbulence, two severe-warned storms to its north ... a severe thunderstorm watch had been issued over us, and a 2% tornado risk in a small area over us added to the prospects ... ran east on I70 past Kanorado, KS and pulled up into an elevated rest stop area - some really fabulous views back to the storm, huge sculpted circular structure now, ominous turbulent base, with an intense core of rain & hail ... headed east to Goodland, KS and as storm was now moving ESE, dropped south on SR27 ... stopped a couple of times just south of Goodland, for some more really dramatic views, incredible sculpture in the skies - storm to the north of the one in front of us was now tornado-warned with a rain-wrapped tornado reported ... our intention to re-target the storm near Gove, KS was thwarted by the storm's rapid motion to the SE, backbuilding to the SW, and rapid redevelopment to the south as cold outflow surged south - during this time our storm was tornado-warned, with some pretty distinct couplets on the base velocity scans ... continued east to Scott City, then north on US83, then east on SR4 ... outflow started to pummel our vehicle as we ran east on SR4, very threatening just to our north, with hugely turbulent arcus clouds, and walls of dust, and behind the dust, intense rain and 3" hail markers surging towards us ... outflow soon caught up, walls of dark dust being kicked up to our SW, then dust streaming over the vehicle as everyone retreated back inside ... fled south on US283 towards Ness City, KS as gusty cross winds <75-80mph> hammered our vehicle from the side ... as we drove north to Wakeeney, we were treated to a great lightning display, especially from the most intense cell now to our NE, lightning was like strobe effects at times, lots of great lightning looping across our field of view in front as well, with some brilliant CGs, coloured orange by the dust … a great chasing day filled with memorable sights.

May 26th - Targeted a slight risk area in NE Colorado, with a 2% tornado risk, later updated in a narrow corridor to a 5% tornado risk … about 2pm, some cumulus in the distance to the west, and some initial t-showers had developed NE of Denver, CO, and a severe thunderstorm watch had been issued to our west ... decided to get west immediately into our target zone … the t-showers north east of Denver had moved northeast to SW of Fort Morgan, and were showing signs of intensifying, so decided to target them as nothing going on in our target area - this was when SPC upgraded the tornado risk to 5% in a corridor ahead of these cells ... stopped on US36 just short of Anton, CO to watch the storm organise & further intensify ... formed a clear base, wall cloud & looked like it was trying to tornado - strong couplets on base velocity radar ... storm was tornado-warned based on radar rotation - some impressive structure & turbulence as outflow started to impact the storm ... rain & dust curtains started wrapping around the base, reducing visibility ... the storm started morphing into beautifully sculptured structures - the storm was spinning like a top in the sky, the only limiting factor for multiple tornadoes was the relatively cool temperatures of the inflow air... curtains of dark outflow dust being kicked up across the road in our rear view mirrors, large hail in the storm, and multiple TVS markers as rotation intensified ... the storm now had an intense rain/hail core reducing visibility of any possible tornado, so made a long run to the east to Idalia, CO, then south a little way on US385 ... the storm now took on a magnificent "spaceship" structure - huge curved cloud forms all the way from the base to the anvil, powerful updrafts curved upwards into the storm from the inflow band from the south, while long linear cloud forms streamed into the storm from the east - all the while overhead, curved structures rotated over our heads - stunning sight! ... as we watched from south of Idalia, the cloud shelf rotating around the storm moved over us, and a few CGs started to strike the landscape beyond us - time to get back in the vehicle and move south ... dropped south to Burlington, CO and I70 stopping again on the way to marvel at the storm, the storm looming over us as it made it way SE towards I70 ... sun setting now and frequent lightning becoming visible, with a few bright CGs ... ran east to Goodland, KS for gas & a pit stop ... getting gloomy now, frequent lightning, but obscured by all the shelf cloud generated by the outflow ... a superb curving structure above the shelf cloud, with this intense blue line curving around the structure between the shelf cloud & the anvil ... a great chasing day on one supercell for over five hours ... in at 12:30am but totally worth for a fantastic "mothership" supercell.

May 31st -

Drove 327 miles today from Garden City, KS to Goodland, KS on what turned out to be a very rewarding bit of targeting & chasing ... decided not to target the SPC slight risk area in eastern Kansas, but look for more isolated supercells in NE Colorado/NW Kansas ... the combination of parameters, models & the local forecaster suggested that this would be a useful target area ... the first signs of cumulus to the west as a boundary/convergence showed up on the Goodland, KS radar ... parked ourselves under a promising updraft at Saint Francis, KS, and watched for some time as it grew & strengthened a little, hearing some initial thunder <this would later become the severe-warned storm over 50,000ft echo top that we would have to punch through to get to our hotel in Goodland> ... decided to get NW towards the most intense storm west of Wray, CO, driving under a newly developing cell between Haigler & Wray ... ran into some rain & hail, and just as we drove out into the clear, this storm intensified rapidly, and was severe-warned with 2 3/4" hail - a "just in time" chasing move, as we would have been cutoff in Haigler ... drove into Wray, then a little south to a hill top - dramatic views of the supercells to our east & west, great flat bases, intense rain/hail cores, and some visible rotation on the forming wall cloud on the storm immediately to our east ... as we moved south, the original updraft over Saint Francis had really ramped up on radar, going severe-warned, with rotation on the base velocity scan, forming a huge dramatic wall cloud, with some very interesting low-hanging features ... another spotter closer to the storm filed a rotating wall cloud report ... this became our target of interest, given its tornadic potential ... we were back in Saint Francis, just north of a really intense supercell, which was blocking our path back to Goodland, back south on US27 ... lots of great views of the storm/wall cloud on the way back, no tornado but very frequent CG lightning under and around the wall cloud ... thus began the process of gingerly feeling our way  down US27 into the storm, the storm moving almost directly south towards Goodland, stopping several times as we ran into heavy rain & hail up to 1/2" in size, getting noisy at times ... ran across hail drifts beside the road, then moved further south - starting to lighten a bit to the SE, so we could see somewhat under the base, and lighter to the NW, but ahead of us was a wall cloud almost in contact with the ground, and an ominous black mass to our SW ... stopped about 6 miles short of Goodland as the rain & hail became heavier again, and strong cross-winds began to buffet our vehicle from the NE, rain curtains being swept by, the strong winds flowing into the black mass to our SW - as we waited for the storm to push further south, suddenly the visibility to our SE closed right off, the rain & hail got suddenly heavier & bigger - the storm was re-intensifying rapidly right over us, and it was time to beat a strategic retreat ... moved back north about 5 miles until the rain/hail lessened, then turned & waited again ... Super-Res Velocity scans on RadarScope showing some intense inflow & outflow winds just to our south, and a 3" hail marker appeared on the storm, with a much bigger & more intense VIL core ... soon a potentially damaging 2" hail on the ground report was filed from an NWS employee right where we had turned around ... the storm continued to move south, so we re-commenced our journey south as well, running into substantial hail drifts where we had been earlier, then hail covering parts of the roadway ... finally into Goodland, gusty winds & rain greeting us as we got out ... lots of flashes of lightning from the now departing storm ... a great chasing day.

June 7th - Looking at morning models & soundings, SE Colorado & NE Colorado looked likely targets, and the Boulder forecaster was bullish that storms today might be more severe ... SPC just had an unfocused marginal risk of severe storms in a corridor all the way from eastern New Mexico through eastern Colorado up into Wyoming ... however, Rick had done own homework on the data/information and settled on Akron, CO, which turned out to remarkably prescient ... parameters up in NE Colorado coming together, and the HRRR showed a complex of storms breaking out, and sweeping SE into NW Kansas - a couple of intense, discrete & isolated severe-warned storms had broken out just south of the Wyoming/Colorado border near Sterling, CO, moving southwards ... left Lamar, CO about 3:30pm MDT heading up US287 ... as we headed north one storm really intensified - over 50,000ft echo top, hail over 3", and several strong TVS markers on the radar ... arrived at Cope, CO about 5:45pm MDT, then positioned north about 15 miles north of Joes, CO to watch the storm slowly approach us from the northwest ... almost as soon as we got out, a brief tornado was sighted about 20 miles away, touchdown with a debris swirl confirmed using a telephoto lens ... filed a Spotter report and the storm was tornado-warned ... some great structure in the clouds streaming into the storm, with a feathery mesocyclone structure rotating over our heads, occasional CGs in the distance ... several distinct wall clouds formed and retreated, with lowerings, coupled with distinct rotation on the base velocity radar ... stopped about 10 miles short of Anton for some spectacular displays of cloud structure, as the storm remained tornado-warned based on a new funnel report, and radar indicated rotation ... storm morphed into various sculptured shapes, then outflow took over undercutting the storm and negating any further tornado chances ... gusts of cool air hit us in the face, so we retreated east towards Cope, stopping once again a few miles east to marvel at the structure and colours, now starting to be highlighted by the setting sun ... storm was now going full outflow, with white & black arcus shelf cloud racing towards us - pulled away just it reached us, and barely made ground going east as it raced along beside us ... turned south from Cope to put some distance between us & the storm, driving through another cell forming to the south - all this while lightning had been flashing on all sides of us ... stopped about 5 miles south of Cope for the most spectacular sunset views of the storm, as the setting sun shone softly through the rain curtains under the now gusted out storm - gorgeous!! ... several storms had congealed into a outflow-driven line between Arriba, CO to Goodland, KS, now racing southeast towards I70 ... raced east to Burlington as the line bore down on Burlington, with increasingly vivid lightning outside the windows ... as the main outflow boundary had crossed us on radar, decided to drive east to Goodland through the line of storms - brilliant flashes of lightning lit up our path, heavy rain with strong winds buffeted the side of our vehicle from the north, and occasional nearby CGs blinded our vision, and rumbled heavy thunder through the vehicle ... the complete "in storm experience" while driving at night every tour deserves.

June 9th - A great chasing day! - worth coming all the way north to nearly the Canadian border ... targeted a 5% tornado risk area in northern North Dakota - within that area the models & parameters suggested a target area between McCluskey, ND & Rugby, ND but the HRRR consistently showed storms breaking out just NW of Rugby, so selected this as our nominal first target ... really needed to get there quickly as HRRR timing on the late morning runs was initiation by 3pm, so we just charged north through the rest of South Dakota into North Dakota, with brief pit stops … into Rugby, ND about 3:15pm ... a fair amount of mid-level instability cloud was around now, and a few nearby small puffs of cumulus, and on the visible satellite a wave of cumulus was developing two counties to the west ... soon enough the SPC issued a mesoanalysis discussion calling for a complex of storms to form to our west about 5pm - time for a break ... then a storm which was isolated and in the warm sector fired up southwest of McClusky, and was severe-warned in short order, moving NE ... got held up by road work for 15 minutes … dropped a little south on SR3, right in the path of the storm which now had a pronounced hook echo, a rotating wall cloud, and some interesting dust whirls on the ground under the wall cloud - dramatic structure as it moved towards us, with a hail shaft falling as well from near the wall cloud ... all sorts of turbulence and rotations, thought it was going to drop a tornado any time ... as the hook echo/base moved right overhead, decided to drop south a little and watch it pass by - CG lightning in the vicinity was also making it hazardous to stand outside watching ... base getting obscured by rain/hail/dust as it went by, so decided to drop down to SR36 to go east to get ahead, and let the storm come to us again as it was now moving SE ...through to Woodworth, ND, watched again, still no tornado, decided it wasn't going to produce - as we still had over a 3 hr drive to our hotel in Grand Forks, ND, decided to reposition east of the line of storms now forming to our south, and start on our path to the hotel - many severe storms in our way at that point ... as we drove towards Jamestown, ND trying to outrun a hail core just to our southwest, the storm suddenly accelerated to 36kts, almost catching us as we just skirted east - heavy rain, strong winds and some 1/2" hail, with one solid thunk on the roof as we escaped past Jamestown ... sun going down now, lots of brilliant CGs starting to strike around us ... ran east to exit 296, got up on the overpass to watch the sun set below the cloud bases to our west, bathing the clouds in a beautiful golden light - all the time lightning flashing all around in the clouds, with some CGs .... as a new severe-warned storm approached from the SW, went further east, when Kathie & Marcus spotted a curious cloud form under the base to the NW, in conjunction with reports of rotating wall clouds & tornadoes ... got off at exit 302, back on an overpass to look at this "tornado-like" feature - could see rotation on the parent wall cloud, but the scud formation below didn't seem to be twisting, but hard to tell from our vantage point ... lightning getting really frequent in the clouds around us now ... lots of lightning flashing to our right as we drive north to Grand Forks, ND, illuminating all sorts of sculptured cloud forms ... in to the lights of Grand Forks after a long, but successful chasing day, for some well-deserved sleep.


2017 Sightseeing Highlights

Here's some sightseeing highlights from those inevitable times when it's just sunny, we're waiting for something to happen, or celebrating a great day:

  • Antone's Nightclub, Home of the Blues - Austin, TX
  • Badlands National Park - SD
  • Baker Hotel - Mineral Wells, TX
  • Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum - San Antonio, TX
  • Big Texan Restaurant - Amarillo, TX
  • Blarney Stone - Shamrock, TX
  • Buddy Holly Center - Lubbock, TX
  • Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, TX
  • Cane River Creole National Historical Park - LA
  • Capulin Volcano - NM
  • Cinco de Mayo Celebration - Lockhart, TX
  • Conoco Tower Art Deco Gas Station - Shamrock, TX
  • Coteau des Prairies - SD
  • Cypress Swamp - Jackson, MS
  • Devil's Rope Museum - McLean, TX
  • Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art - Victoria, TX
  • Folsom Museum - Folsom, NM
  • Fort Richardson Historic Site - Jacksboro, TX
  • Friends Bar - 6th Street, Austin, TX
  • Garden of Eden - Eden, TX
  • Giant Van Gogh - Goodland, KS
  • Historic 6th Avenue/Route 66 District - Amarillo, TX
  • Historic Homes Tour - Victoria, TX
  • Indian Nations National Scenic & Wildlife Area - OK
  • Keystone Gallery - KS
  • Mississippi Delta Region - Home of the Blues
  • Monument Rocks - KS
  • Mt Rushmore Monument - SD
  • NASA Johnson Space Centre - Houston, TX
  • National Battleship Texas State Historic Park - La Porte, TX
  • Oakland Plantation - LA
  • Palo Duro Canyon - TX
  • Rocky Mountain National Park - CO
  • Route 66 - from Oklahoma City, OK
  • Sisemore RV Museum - Amarillo, TX
  • USS Cairo - Vicksburg, MS
  • Vicksburg National Military Park - Vicksburg, MS
  • Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge - OK
  • Windsor Mansion Ruins - near Port Gibson, MS
  • Wright Park Zoo - Dodge City, KS