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                   Thursday, April 23, 2009 - 7:05PM

Storm chaser injury statistics: the real risks

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Chasing
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I thought it would be interesting to see what the real dangers to storm chasers really are by doing a survey and compiling actual data. I've posted the question to a few chaser forums, and will be updating this page as information comes in. I suspect that this data will show that despite the hype and public perception, storm phenomena themselves are relatively insignificant threats to chasers. Let's see if that suspicion is right! Stay tuned to this page, I'll be updating it in the coming days with new data.

A few notes about criteria:

  • For the purposes of this data set, 'injury or incident' refers to one where either:
    • some type of medical attention was administered, ranging from simple roadside first aid to an ER visit, doctor appointment or hospitalization.
    • the resulting injury or condition impacted the chaser's ability to continue traveling (IE, food poisoning, severe pain, immobilization, etc).
    In other words, for the purposes of this survey, something akin to bumping one's head on the doorframe or getting stung by a bee would not count, unless it caused an injury or condition that either needed medical attention or caused the chase to be suspended or postponed.
     
  • The injury or ailment must be from an external causative factor encountered while on the chase. IE, unrelated to a pre-existing chronic illness or exposure to an infectious agent before the chase began (coming down with the flu, etc).
If you're a chaser who has been injured (funny, that sounds like the start of a TV lawyer commercial), the information would be appreciated! I won't publish or record names or any private details - I'd just like to hear about any injuries you've sustained while chasing that meet the above criteria. The data will simply be added to the tables below. You can send me an email at dan@stormhighway.com.

Table #1: Hazard Rankings

All-Time Storm Chaser Injury/Incidents
RankIncident/InjuryTotal
1Food Poisoning6
2Allergic Reaction2
3Wind-closed car door1
3Direct hail strike1
3Cuts from window glass (broken by hail/wind)1
3Sprained Ankle1

Chasers reporting no injuries or incidents*5

* This stat does not take into account the chaser's years of experience or number of days chased per year.

Table #2: Listing of All Incidents

Food poisoning incidents are not listed in this table.

Storm Chaser Injury/Incident List
Injury/Ailment Incident Notes
Broken arm Hail strike
Sprained ankle Stepped in a roadside hole
Cut on leg Strong winds closed car door on leg
Eye irritation Contaminated contact lens/allergic reaction
Eye irritation Allergic reaction
Cut on arm Broken window glass from hail/wind

The following comments were posted before this site switched to a new comment system on August 27, 2016:

None here myself. Food Poisioning yeah that could very well be the winner due to the high amount of fast food eaten by chasers during the course of the season
- Posted by Michael W. Moss from New Whiteland, IN
Biggest injuries in storm chasing are psychological. Hanging around a parking lot all day waiting for something that never happens (bust) hurts. I drove all the way to North Dokato for a major bust once and the mental irritation lasted a couple of days.
- Posted by Steven

25 Years of Storm Chasing
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