|Screen capture from KWCH TV|
Forget the fact the chasers weren't bothering anyone. Forget they sometimes provide crucial information to the NWS that can save lives. Forget the fact that I was there and didn't see a single vehicle "blocking" the road (yes, we saw the sheriff drive by) either on US 160 or on the side road which was our second location in Barber County. Forget there was no "traffic jam." And, finally, forget that the money out-of-state chasers spend boosts the local economy. This is important, by golly, because Sheriff Rugg just doesn't like storm chasers. There are news stories here and here.
The photos I have seen and what I saw with my own eyes that evening do not back up the Sheriff's contention chasers were "blocking roads" and causing a "traffic jam." Below are two photos of the traffic on U.S. 160 with the tornado in progress. It is a lightly-traveled U.S. highway.
Below is a photo of the chasers at our second Barber County location.
If a chaser actually breaks the law (i.e., runs a stoplight, speeds, actually blocks a road) by all means write a ticket or whatever is appropriate. Otherwise stop the griping and welcome these visitors and their money to your county.
It is stories like this that give rural law enforcement a bad reputation. Sheriff Rugg, a traffic jam is what occurs when a high school football game is over. This wasn't a traffic jam. Your job is to enforce the law, not to gripe about storm chasers.
UPDATE: Within ten minutes of posting the above article, I received a comment from a Barber Co. resident stating that chasers do not provide information to the National Weather Service. Really?
The Dodge City NWS has warning responsibility for Barber county. Mike Umschied -- one of the heroes of the Greensburg tornado -- and on duty Wednesday evening posted this photo of his work area as the tornadoes were in progress.