Welcome to our August 2023 edition, Gregg!

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$50 Monthly

Merchandise Draw

In the middle of every month, F5! Tornado Safaris will be conducting a digital draw to give away $50 in merch from our online store. The catch? You have to be on our monthly email newsletter list. If you're a monthly winner, you'll be contacted on the day of the drawing by F5! founder Gregg Potter (check your email) to arrange your personal shopping tour of the F5! digital store.

Because our July winner didn't claim her merch, we're conducting TWO drawings this month! Our August winners are . . .




Hey Gregg: I get the sense that this has been one of the screwiest years ever for tornadoes. Am I right?

-- Dennis Higgins (Columbus, OH)

Well Dennis, you have a point. After monitoring hail and tornadoes for nearly 30 years, I can attest that this has indeed been one of the most active and strange twister seasons to date. Here are some facts about the 2023 tornado season that support your observation:


  • January had the third-most tornadoes since 1950.
  • Iowa had its first January tornado in 56 years.
  • New Jersey had five tornadoes in February (including an F2) for the first time in 73 years.
  • March 31 saw the fourth-most confirmed tornadoes in a single day with 122 twisters.
  • April brought Delaware’s widest tornado on record -- and only its second confirmed EF3 (see photo below).
  • May, historically one of the busiest and deadliest tornado months, produced zero EF3 (or larger) tornadoes for only the second time in 70 years.
  • The United States set a record with 410 tornadoes in the first three months of 2023.


So, yes, Dennis: these are indeed strange days. Moreover, tornadoes are just one facet of the unorthodox meteorology in 2023, affecting hurricanes and other tropical storms, snowfall and rain. It hasn't been all bad; California emerged from a historic drought. But with climate change front and center, the winds of change appear to be upon us.

And more than a third of the year has yet to unfold!

Questions? Ask Gregg!

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Let's face it: There's a lot of down time between our adrenaline-pumped chases each May. Half the fun is revisiting old road haunts and discovering new locations to eat, drink and be merrily entertained. Because F5! goes where the wind blows, we've cataloged hundreds of towns, restaurants, bars and hospitality venues over approximately one million square miles of the Great Plains in the past 24 years. Each month, we'll revisit some of our favorites.

Roswell, NM

UFO Capital of the World

Last F5! visit: 2023

If ever a place was built upon a flight of fancy, surely it is Roswell, N.M., perhaps the most frequently visited of the hundreds of venues that comprise the F5! travelogue over the past 24 years.

As chasers, we are predisposed to be fascinated by objects whirling through the skies, which may explain why the winds of fortune have deposited us in the UFO capital of the planet every two or three years -- including a visit this May. Whatever your stance on extraterrestrials, Roswell is best appreciated by giving yourself over to the kitsch for a few hours.

In the event that you've been being probed by aliens aboard their spacecraft for past 76 years (time flies in outer space), the seeds to the modern-day Roswell scene were planted in the Summer of 1947, when locals discovered metallic and plastic debris scattered about the area at a time when sightings of "unidentified flying objects" were being reported.

At the outsel of the cold war with Russia, the U.S. military launched "Project Mogul," bombarding the skies with spy balloons launched from a half-dozen military installations dotting southern New Mexico -- hoping that a few would circle enough of the globe to pick up signs of atomic testing by Russia. Several crashed before their journey really got underway. But rather than come clean, the military -- intent on keeping its top-secret campaign clandestine -- was happy to let the locals run rampant with speculation of UFO missions gone awry.

Though it took three decades for anything to become of it, renewed interest in "The Roswell Incident" in the late 1970s spawned a cottage industry that turned a nondescript desert town into an international destination, lining the pockets of local entrepreneurs.

Like Las Vegas to the north, modern-day Roswell is a testament to a theme gone wild. But it serves as a whimsical reprieve from the long road and the intensity of tornado chasing. Our favorite spot? The International UFO Museum and Research Center (below), where F5! chaser Mike McDermott of Chicago made a new friend in May . . . and a display featuring an alien autopsy is all the rage!