Storm chasing

Grey nomads love storm chasing

Weather fanatics, Jane O & Clyve H aren’t your average grey nomads … instead of following the sun, they follow the storms

Are you typical nomads?
No, Clyve and I are storm­chasing nomads. Most of our stormchasing in Australia is from September to December as we spend from January to July in the USA going to weather conferences and chas­ing the weather in Tornado Al­ley. We photograph and video storms in both countries.

What do you travel in?
In the spring of 2014 we decided that rather than doing short trips in our 4WD and staying in motels (too expen­sive!) it would be better to buy a motorhome and stay on the road for extended periods. We bought a 2002 Ford Transit 2-berth KEA.

Why does the van suit you?
If you see a storm from a distance that can always make a great photo! We just like to get up a bit more close and personal, and it helps to have a vehicle that is as manoeuvra­ble as the Ford Transit, which is one of the reasons that we chose it!

Why do you do it?
Clyve and I have both been ‘chasing’ all kinds of weather since we were old enough to drag ourselves up to see over the windowsill … Clyve on the coast in Wales as a child, and me in Sydney and Canberra. With us, weather is something that is in our blood, we’ve both had it as a hobby, a lifelong passion. Clyve has a desire to immerse himself in it to understand how the atmos­phere works, and I’m passion­ate about photographing all aspects of weather.

Is it dangerous?
Once last year we found ourselves a bit close to a rain wrapped tornado that we could hear but not see in Ohio in the USA … fortunately it was moving parallel to us a couple of hundred metres away, but it was a bit nerve wracking for a few minutes. We do have some (many) hail dents on the car in the USA, but we try and keep our Australian motorhome out of the hail core of any severe storms we encounter.

A good grey nomad hobby?
Stormchasing can be a fasci­nating pastime but it is one where you really do need to know what you are dealing with and understand the behaviour of storms. Clyve and I both read end­lessly, and always trying to learn more about the weather that we are dealing with. We are always improving our forecasting skills, and explor­ing the road networks to gain road knowledge in the areas we chase weather in. It’s not something you can really do safely without learning a great deal about storms and their behaviour, so ‘chasing’ as such probably isn’t a good hobby for other grey nomads without an in-depth knowl­edge.




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