I'm a private weather industry marketing executive specializing in the strategic approach to SaaS in established and emerging markets. 

Chase Caravans - Resolutions...

Shane Adams made an entry to his blog (located here) that I would like to carry over here in my blog. His entry touches on a chase subject I have been pondering for quite some time except mine has to do with the chase caravan....

More than ever this past year, I found myself in a chase caravan. I enjoy caravanning and think it is a fun way to make your way to a general target area but a horrible way to try to chase. Group chasing is a bad idea in my book – more on that in a minute.
Again, I believe caravans can be fun if handled well. I believe it is great for camaraderie, learning from others and for help if something goes wrong. Caravans should occur ON THE WAY to a target though; screw the idea of having 8 guys witness the same storm from the same angle, stop for gas and pee breaks more often, etc. etc.

I, like Shane, am in need of being in control of a situation. I have read many books and spent hundreds of hours pouring over model data. I am no meteorologist, but I am a decent forecaster and have been right on target 90% of the time for about the past five years. These are the most satisfying five years out of around 14 that I have been chasing. I can only wish I were at my target 90% of the time! There is just something about nailing a forecast and being there to see what happens. I digress…
I have a bad habit of succumbing to outside influences when it comes to targets. Outside influence during a chase is generally a bad thing as sometimes I will throw out my solution because I was "sold" on someone else’s... In other words, I doubted my ability just long enough to shoot north from my target rather than stay put; all based on someone else’s forecast or hunch. During a caravan to a target these influences can get quite intense because everyone, be it a 16 year old new forecaster/chaser to the veterans in the group, everyone believes his/her forecast results in the best solution. I will resolve to not be influenced in 2006. Not once will I say aloud – “THAT WAS MY TARGET” when I hear of someone catching a storm I didn’t.

I have expectations in a caravan that are not always met. Twice this year I was held up due to vehicle issues and twice I was left by the group. I would not expect another chase party to sit with me and/or abort their chase on my account but I would certainly at least perform a sympathy turn around if I were in the functioning vehicle and help my friends where I could, then hit the road again... Not keep driving as if nothing happened. I generally stop when I see chasers I don't know on the side of the road too. I guess I like helping others.

So, this brings me to my chase related New Year's resolutions - here they are:
-My forecast is THE forecast. Talking with others and sharing targets, reasoning, and otherwise is a healthy exercise but on the day of the event, I'm going to MY target and any adjustments along the way will be determined based on the latest RUC/Hourly Mesoscale and my interpretation of the data. If I want outside input, I will ask for it...
-I will continue to caravan until I break off to my target. If you choose to follow me, feel free. Don't try to influence my target decision though. Just break off and go about your merry way. If you are correct and I miss the storm, kudos to you.
-I will stop answering my cell phone when the call is from people in the caravan. This is annoying. If you are going to chase storms, get your ham license. I am on 146.55 and my call is WX5RFD… Give it a try.
-I will hit the next newbie chaser who carelessly walks in front of my lense.

I will write a disclaimer here to state that I do not blame anyone for my missing a storm or blowing a forecast. I am writing about a problem I am having – not trying to cut anyone else down or claim I am better than anyone else.
I am writing disclaimers more and more these days and I hate doing it but the chase community is one of the most socially fragile groups I know of. Measures must be taken to ensure no tears are shed… heh.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Chase Caravans - Resolutions...