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

The Next Generation...

The ever so easily blogged about content over on Storm Track has laid yet another egg which I must crack open here and beat to death.

The younger storm chaser generation is an interesting one to observe. I was young in the hobby once long ago and I dealt with many of the things the kids today are. Where will I get the money to chase? What vehicle will I chase in? How far should I commit to go on a chase?
Some of the answers to these questions, 12 years later, perplex me greatly. Let's start with:
Where will I get the money to chase?
I believe it is healthy to have a hobby such as this at a young age. Reason is, it exercises young minds outside of the classroom and teaches adult activities such as getting a job, creating a budget and saving.
What vehicle will I chase in?
A common topic at ST with young chasers is the "first vehicle" thread. This is where some 16 year-old throws out an idea of what cars he might buy for chasing. Often, in the person's attempt to both be cool at school and be able to chase, there are some interesting choices offered. Here are a few:
WHAT???? Are you kidding me? These are impractical vehicles for younger people to drive while chasing. When I was a young chaser, money was my primary concern. There is no way you would catch me on the plains with a vehicle that has a $900 windshield or that couldn't be repaired by just about any mechanic in Kansas.
Now that I have pissed off any of the young chasers who browse my blog, now I'm gonna piss off your parents...
Parents - please explain to me why you would encourage and finance either personally or otherwise, a vehicle such as a Mercedes for your teenager knowing full well that said teenager will take it to the plains multiple times throughout the spring and thrash the hell out of it?
Need I write more?
How far should I commit to go on a chase?
This is a question that bugs me a lot. Maybe I was brought up in a more conservative household than some (but I doubt it as my parents were really cool) but who the hell lets their teenager drive 800 miles at all hours in order to play in something as potentially deadly as a severe thunderstorm? I'm not talking about lightning and wind or perhaps a tornado, I'm talking about other drivers not knowing how to drive in the conditions. I'm talking about the chasing teenager’s driving skills which are not yet 100%. I'm talking about the overall responsibility that IS, not being stranded in the middle of nowhere at 16 years old.
I am not yet a parent but I can tell you right now, if my son were to want to chase storms at 16, he will be riding with someone I know (or me, of course) if it is a long distance chase. There will be no staying the night in other states or driving at all hours to get somewhere. My kiddo can start small like I did and get involved locally, then expand.

I can't imagine I would feel like a responsible parent if I allowed my child to engage in a week-long chase in a Mercedes with 100,000 miles on it and with exactly enough money to maybe make it through the trip.

This is truly a new generation of chasing - - and parenting.

P.S. For those of you who are thinking about a Mustang for a chase vehicle: Mustangs are death traps in the rain and snow. Any rear-wheel vehicle is but for some reason Mustangs are exceptionally bad.

Forecast for 12/13/05 - RAIN!