Storm chasers benefit the Heartland

Storm chasing, some consider it an art. Some consider it dangerous. Regardless, if done right, it can be a very safe and rewarding experience for everyone involved.

â??I feel it is safe. If you do it the correct way, stay out ahead of the storm, stay slightly to the southern part of the storm where it's going to be moving slightly away from you never directly at you, it can be very safe,â?? said Aaron Pippin, a local storm chaser.

Some of the chaser videos posted over the weekend didnâ??t follow Aaronâ??s methodology and they put themselves in harms way as a result. These chasers are usually freelance photographers that get paid for their videos. However, Aaron isnâ??t in it for the money. Heâ??s does it for education and to help out Heartland residents get appropriate warnings that weather equipment doesnâ??t always pick up on.

â??We're between radar sites from St. Louis, Kansas City, Des Moines and Davenport. The National Weather Service loves spotter reports and they heavily rely on them especially in this area. So, if you can relay that information to the National Weather Service, whether you're seeing hail, tornado, wall cloud or damaging winds. They have a hard time seeing this area so that's one reason I like to relay those reports. If it could save one life in my life time then I feel like it's a job well done,â?? he said.

Spotters are the backbone of the warning system in place here in the Heartland. While they canâ??t stop valuables from being damaged, they can help preserve the most precious thing, life.