Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wrapping Up the Chaser Story

Photo taken April 14 south of Mullinville before the controversy erupted.
Note both vehicles are on the shoulder of a lightly-travelled road. 
I had a conversation Friday with one Kansas emergency manager (EM) who not only has no problems with chasers but felt they provided critical information during the evening Wichita-areas tornado. So, the chaser issue is not universal.

I placed calls to some of the EMs that have been especially critical. After agreeing to be interviewed for this blog, they did not call me back. I strongly suspect that, with the passage of a little time, they realize that some of their initial comments may have been excessive.

Further lending evidence to that theory is a photo from Verne Carlson (posted with permission) of the "rolling roadblock" in Dickinson Co. that prompted the initial news story that went national. It appears the second car is law enforcement.
This confirms my contention that the amount of traffic we are talking about is less than a high school football game. Provided that everyone obeys the law, I fail to see a problem. If someone does run a red light (for example), ticket them! Law enforcement has plenty of tools to handle poor driving without "regulating chasing."

Finally, I talked about "weather tourism" and its obvious economic benefits. If you doubt that, take a look at this video:


It is a time-lapse of the GPS-equipped chasers (which is maybe half) coming into Kansas and far northern Oklahoma on April 14. There is no doubt that Kansas gained hundreds of "weather tourists" that day, some of whom spent the night in Kansas hotels (something I have now confirmed). The video over-estimates the impact because the symbols are far larger than the actual automobiles*.

If I were (especially rural) chambers of commerce, hotels, etc., I'd do whatever I could to grab as much of this business as possible.




* The more I watch the time-lapse of the chasers, the more I hear in my mind the song, "Powerhouse." If you don't know which song I mean, listen to the music in this Visa commercial. You'll recognize it immediately.

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