June 2023 Edition

Another chasing season in the books, Gregg!

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Twisters or near-misses: F5! makes lifelong memories

ABOVE: In our Week 1 tour last month, we sat in between two small cells in Dalhart, TX and decided to head to the northern cell west of Stratford. We watched this storm spin for several hours as it moved slowly east under weaker upper level flow. The hail core was a bright turquoise and amazing! We got beautiful structure and had a great chase, but not enough upper level flow for the tornado. BELOW: After a series of close calls, we encountered three tornadoes in a single day of our Week 2 Tour! This twister just west of the New Mexico-Texas border was cause for raucous cheering from F5! crew and clients!

A few years ago, I surprised my wife with an anniversary trip to the Bay Area, where we booked passage on a whale-watching cruise. I hit it off with the guy who ran the operation, and we were soon discussing the business of chasing your passion.

Turns out he was in a slump; despite a fairly predictable window of humpback whales passing through the Bay Area during their spring and fall migrations, his tours hadn't spotted one of the oceanic behemoths in more than a week. At $80 a ticket, he estimated that he had taken in a quarter million dollars without a single whale to show for it. And while clients were apprised when they bought their tickets that there were no guarantees, he felt a tremendous amount of guilt when the humpbacks didn't materialize for his passengers.

My wife, who has forgotten more about marketing than I'll ever know, taught me a life lesson that day: Focus on what you can control. In his zeal to conjure a humpback for his clients, the whale boat operator ignored the bounty all around him: the rare perspective of passing under the Golden Gate Bridge; a pod of bottlenose dolphins frolicking just off the starboard side; and the up-close look at the mysterious Farallon Islands, which are mere bumps on the horizon from any vantage point on land. Any of these events -- but certainly the lot of them -- might have made his customers feel they got their money's worth for booking passage.

But so focused was his narrative over the boat's PA system that the passengers couldn't help but be disappointed by the dearth of whale sightings.

We didn't spot any fully formed twisters in the first week of our recently concluded 2023 chasing season; in Week 2, we spotted three in one day in New Mexico. At F5!, we believe that every storm-chasing adventure is a unique experience, even if we don't encounter a tornado.

Our expert guides and meteorologists ensure that you have a great time, spotting breathtaking cloud formations and learning about weather patterns and forecasting. From the thrill of the chase to the peaceful sunset views, F5! Tornado Safaris are designed to make unforgettable memories and instill the camaraderie of the road within one and all. Judging by our repeat clients over the years, I'd say we've achieved some measure of success in that department.

Don't miss out on the adventure of a lifetime in 2024: Book your tour today!

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Hey Gregg: I'm thinking about signing up in 2024. How far do you travel each week in search of tornadoes?

-- Brian Higgins (San Francisco, CA)

Hi Brian. I've been leading Oklahoma City-based chases since 1999, and no two years -- in fact, no two consecutive weeks -- have remotely resembled any other. The weather determines the route, and the weather changes on a dime.

But the distances we traveled in this year's May chases were fairly typical:

In Week 1, we covered 2,233 miles across six states (Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Texas and Arkansas); In Week 2, we only traveled to three states (Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico) but actually put more miles (2,457) on the odometer. All in all, we covered 4,690 in nine active chase days, or 521 miles per day when we were on the move.

-- Gregg Potter (Palm Desert, CA)

Have a question? Ask Gregg!