Storm Chasers are not Adrenaline Junkies

Storm Chasers Brian and Tam Barnes with Tornado

Storm chasers are many things, ranging from meteorologists to photographers. Others chase for the mere curiosity of validating their own forecasts. Some are tourists on storm chasing tours. But all often earn the title of “Adrenaline Junkie” in the media.

The term “Adrenaline Junkie” is a colloquialism describing someone who has an addiction to a natural high from adrenaline.  Studies have shown that adrenaline can be just as addictive as synthetic drugs, such as narcotics like cocaine. And addicts of adrenaline behave similarly to addicts of such synthetic drugs.

Adrenaline junkies participate in activities that stimulate the adrenaline glands. The glands are responsible for a broad sense of hormones that cause Acute Stress Response. This is also known as the “fight-or-flight response,” first identified in 1929 by Walter Cannon.


Importance of Ham Radio in Storm Chasing

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On Memorial Day in 2007, a violent tornado happened in southeastern Colorado. Our storm chasing tour group witnessed the tornado from birth to its death. But, something else interesting also happened. The local cellular tower was damaged in the resulting hail storm. I attempted to call the NWS office in Pueblo to inform them a tornado was in fact occurring, but couldn’t. Thankfully, I never actually rely on my cell phone as a reliable form of communication. I’m an amateur radio operator and always have a ham radio in my chase vehicle for situations just like this. While most NWS Warning Forecast Office locations also have a ham radio, I wasn’t entirely sure of local repeater frequencies. And, we were pretty far from Pueblo. So, even if there was a local repeater, I wasn’t sure if it’d be able to handle the distance. I did the next best thing, I called the police and I …Read more »