Tornado-chasing tourism is becoming quite popular lately, the University of Missouri has recently found out.
Every year, between April and June about 1,200 tornadoes occur in the U.S. in an area called Tornado Alley, which covers Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma states. Texas reports the most tornadoes annually than any other state in the U.S. followed by Kansas and Oklahoma.
For the chance to witness a tornado in this area, tornado tourists pay between $3,000 and $5,000 for one- or two-week tours. Then, they are taken on vehicles and might travel as much as 500 miles a day to reach the tornado-location. Despite modern technology and most current forecasts, however, tourists are not guaranteed to see a tornado.
“There is no guarantee to see a tornado,” Todd Thorn of Storm Chasing Adventure Tours, said. “If you come just to see a tornado, then this storm chasing tour is not for you. The odds of seeing tornado are about 25 per cent… come on this tour to see the other parts of storm chasing like the storm clouds, the lightning, and the countryside, as we are driving all day.”
He explained that they cannot ‘pre-map’ the route of the tour because ‘it’s all up to the storm where we go and where we end up each night.’
A few years ago they even saw 22 tornadoes in one day.
As far as safety, no one has been hurt so far. It’s even safer to be with the crew in the storm rather than at home, he said, because they have computers showing their location and the direction of the storm – minute by minute.