Storm Chaser Interview: Jim Tang 


Name: Jim Tang 

Storm chasing name: N/A 

What influenced you to start storm chasing? 

Tang: I’ve always been interested in the weather, especially severe weather, and tornadoes.

How many storm chases have you been on and what’s your favourite to date?

Tang: I’ve lost track of the number of chases I have been on, but the Palmer, Iowa chase last month is definitely up there as one of my favourites.

During a chase, what excites you the most?

Tang: Forecasting. The atmosphere is a puzzle, and I’m trying to solve it. Getting a good photo is a product of anticipating, and solving, the puzzle of where to be and when. 

What is the most dangerous thing you’ve had to deal with whilst chasing?

Tang: Driving. Traffic, especially that of other chasers. 

Photo credit: Jim Tang


When do you start planning for a chase?

Tang: Anywhere from 1-7 days in advance, depending on the time of year and lead times in the weather models. 

What steps do you take to plan out where your severe weather (tornado) target will be?

Tang: Check the weather models, of course. Try to understand the large-scale picture. I will generally have a few areas in mind and hone in which is best through the day by looking at observations, satellite, and yes, the HRRR runs.

What do you take when you go chasing?

Tang: Mostly just my camera and my phone! You don’t need much to case, everything you need really is between your eyes.

What equipment do you use to chase?

Tang: Again just my phone and camera really! A few mounts, a dash cam, that’s about it. I try to keep things simple. I chase alone for the most part so a cluttered setup would distract me.

Photo credit: Jim Tang

If someone wants to start chasing, what should they learn or do and what should they expect?
Tang: Chasing is 90% patience, 10% thrill. Part of the patience is studying the atmosphere and knowing it takes a lot of experience and busts to even start getting to know its secrets. 

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