Tornado Chaser

Gather information about tornadoes by getting an up close look.

What does a Tornado Chaser do?

First off, you should know this isn’t a job that will make you rich. Most Tornado Chasers work part-time at best-no one really does it full-time because you just can’t make enough money from it to pay the bills. That being said, it’s a really cool job. And if you really want to spend your time driving around, looking for dangerous storms, and somehow get paid for it, there are options out there.

The basics of a Tornado Chaser’s job are this: You travel around in a car, truck, or van, following storms and hoping to get close enough to observe and photograph them. The way you find a storm is the way you find pretty much everything these days: the internet. Tornado Chasers start each day checking up on weather systems, and then driving to where tornadoes are. However, even if you find a potential tornado, there’s no guarantee it will actually appear or that you can get close enough before it disappears.

As you can imagine, you spend a lot of time driving in this job–sometimes, thousands of miles a week. And since tornados don’t exactly stay still, you use things like GPS or small weather computers to find them. You combine this technology with the knowledge you have to visually find tornado-forming clouds. You also use basic roads maps to know where you’re going.

So how do you make money? You can lead tornado-chasing tours, or sell the photographs or videos you take. Research is another option, though if you’re after the adventure, you might not find it here as you spend most of your time in a lab.