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Holiday Gifts: Storm Chasing

Is your significant other a "thrill seeker"? Is it hard to get them to come away from the window during a storm? Are they the last ones down to the basement when there is a possibility of a tornado? Do they watch the weather channel's storm stories over and over again? Have you watched the movie Twister until you know the entire script by heart? Then you have a prime candidate for the gift of a storm chasing adventure. Storm chasing although definitely not inexpensive, is without a doubt a once in a lifetime thrill. The trip can run well over $2,000.00 - which usually includes lodging but not food or transportation to and from the base motel. Some companies will offer you discounts for things like booking more than one trip, room sharing or filling the last couple spots on a trip. Tempest Tours and Silver Lining Tours are just two of dozens of companies that offer storm-chasing trips.

These companies use storm chasers with years of experience. They offer trips of one to two weeks. Before the actual chasing starts there is classroom type instruction so you will know what to expect and what is expected of you. There are usually at least half a dozen guests in each trip. Besides being instructed on the art of storm chasing you will find you also learn a great deal about meteorology and the discipline necessary to be a successful storm chaser.

Although the staff does try to figure the times you will need to head out the night before you do have to be able to be ready to go on a moments notice. You will normally leave in the morning and your leaders will recalculate your target throughout the day as new weather information becomes available. Most companies operate within Tornado Alley (Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming Colorado, New Mexico and the Dakotas). During the time between storms the instructors will take you sight seeing through miles of gorgeous scenery. Some days the chase will continue after dark when you will be awed at the sight of fantastic lightning displays. Even though some companies provide you with a video of your trip you really want to make sure you have your own camera equipment with you. You will spend 10 exciting days living the life of a storm chaser. Although no one can guarantee that you will see a tornado, due to the fact that trips are scheduled during the peak storm season you can be pretty sure you will at least see some incredible storms. If by chance the person on your list is an avid storm fan but not quite daredevil enough to want to actually get in a car and chase them, there are numerous videos, books and virtual storm chasing CD's out there to keep them happy for many holidays to come. Storm chasing is a holiday gift that will be re-lived and remembered for many years to come.


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