Storm Chasing Across North AmericaGo Back
THe ultimate Storm Chasing
Storm chasing provides opportunities to see the atmosphere at its most awesome and majestic. After your ﬁrst exciting view of a tornado or severe thunderstorm, all other vacations will simply pale in comparison!
Your tour guides are professional meteorologists with many years of storm chasing experience and forecasting expertise, and the know-how to get you safely to the best storms – with the track record to prove it!
Nobody works harder to consistently get you to the right place time and again.
Explore Storm Chasing Across North America with Mantis eXtreme
We are offering 10 ﬁxed-schedule tours during the spring and early summer of 2014, in addition to (as conditions warrant) on-call and local storm chasing expeditions .
We offer tours of varying length, which allows us to maintain a balance between accommodating those customers with limited vacation time and ﬁnding as many storms as possible. Although each of our tours is dedicated to teaching you about the marvels of the atmosphere, the Rolling Prairies Lecture Tour is recommended for those who want a more in-depth understanding of severe storm forecasting and intercept strategy.
Finally, our 6-day tours are offered from late-May to mid-July, a time when severe storm frequency is at an annual peak over the high plains, northern plains, Midwest and Canada
Close Encounters Tour
Do you like the idea of getting CLOSE to intense supercells, very large hail, high winds and tornadoes, while being safe? If you answer YES to this question, then the Close Encounters Tour is for you! Our main goal on this tour is to get you close enough to a tornado to feel the winds, smell the tornado, see debris flying around, but stay in a safe position while ALWAYS having an escape route! We have done this for several years and have had tremendous success in getting guests up close and personal with nature’s most violent weather! We also will take you inside a core to experience large hail and high winds (but out of the tornadic region of the storm for obvious reasons). There’s a delicate balance between doing this in as much of a controlled situation as you can vs being reckless and driving blindly into a supercell or tornado. We have a great track record of doing this safely and letting you experience what most people will never experience in their lifetime!
The Tornado Outbreak Tour (Tour 1)
April & May 2014
Early season chasing has some advantages and disadvantages. For instance, early season often provides amazing tornado outbreak events. This tour has probably had one of the best success rates of any tour in terms of tornado intercepts. Storm motion tends to be fast, but with decent road networks, we usually have no problem staying up with them. Tornadoes tend to be quite violent and long lived. Disadvantages are time of year. Daylight is still a bit shorter that later spring, but long enough for good viewing. Storm motion can also be a disadvantage. Occasionally cold fronts can penetrate the gulf of Mexico and shut the chasing down for a few days, but when there are storms, they are usually quite severe.
The Caprock Magic Tour (Tour 2)
This tour gets its name from the region we usually chase most in during the early May period. The Caprock is an area in west Texas where elevation dramatically changes. A large plateau known as the Caprock increases elevation a thousand feet or more. Therefore when upslope southeasterly winds blow, moisture is lifted up the Caprock which helps generate storms. These storms can be quite photogenic and violent, and often do produce tornadoes. Keep in mind this is not the only area we will chase, we will go anywhere, but in early May Texas is often king! Other areas we can chase in include Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, New Mexico and Arkansas. Early May can produce quite violent tornado outbreaks as well.
High Plains Magic Tour (Tour 5)
Early June is a special time in the high plains region. Areas from eastern Colorado through western Kansas, northward through eastern Wyoming, western Nebraska and the western Dakotas produce many extremely photogenic supercells and tornadoes. Good moisture pushed upslope against higher terrain create lift to generate some of the prettiest supercell thunderstorms in the world. With great visibility and beautiful terrain, it is a chaser’s and photographer’s dream!
High CAPE Tour (Tour 6)
CAPE is an acronym for Convective Available Potential Energy, and by mid June it abounds in the central and northern plains regions. Deep moisture has established itself northward, and with the northward retreating jet stream, areas from Colorado and Nebraska northward into the southern Canadian Prairies are primed for severe weather. Good instability and shear result in violent storms and tornadoes. If you enjoy the northern tier of the US and southern Canada, this is the tour for you! Some amazing storms and tornadoes occur each year in these regions! Throw in the gorgeous countryside and you have a winner!
Sculpted Supercell Tour
If you get excited about the idea of beautiful sculpted “mothership” appearing supercells in the northern plains, this tour is for you! Very deep moisture and usually great instability, coupled with a lifting and weakening jet stream, often result in amazing storm structure. With a jet that is typically weaker than early season, storm motion is very slow, with lots of time to watch a storm form and intensify. Tornadoes are still quite likely in mid June, with some very slow moving and photogenic. Also by this time of the year, we are far enough north and west that you can sometimes have a storm almost to yourself! This tour in 2010 set the all time record for number of tornadoes we witnessed on a 6 day tour with 42!
Rolling Prairies Lecture Tour
Silver Lining Tours co-owner Roger Hill is proud to lead a newly introduced expedition, the “Rolling Prairies Lecture Tour”. Held in the latter part of June, this tour takes advantage of the active severe weather regime that is in place during this time across a vast region of the northern U.S. and southern Canada. Fuelled by tropical moisture that has typically flooded inland from the Gulf of Mexico by late June, the tornado season is entering its prime from the Dakotas and southern Canada eastward into the upper-Midwest. On this adventure you are likely to encounter fewer storm chasers, enabling you to enjoy in relative privacy the serenity of the open prairie land and the severe thunderstorms that frequent this region.
This tour is 7 days in length, providing enough time to traverse this storm-rich region of the North American Plains while learning from one of the most intuitive and well-versed storm chasers in the world, our very own Roger Hill. Roger has a strong talent for distilling the essential physical principles from the complex science of meteorology and presenting them in a logical, easy-to-understand format, giving you practical knowledge that you can apply on your own. Learn storm chasing and forecasting skills from Roger while chasing down the monstrous storms of the northern prairies as spring becomes summer. If you want to chase the wide open northern prairies and learn from one of the most dynamic storm chasers in the world, put this tour at the top of your list.
The Great North Tornado Hunt
Did you know that the North American tornado season often extends through early summer, with a wide swath of territory including the U.S. northern Plains, Canadian Prairies and upper Midwest experiencing a significant amount of severe thunderstorm activity? As the mid latitude jet stream weakens and retreats during latter June into July in the typical year, moderate to occasionally strong westerly winds aloft are sustained across Canada and the northern tier of the USA. Beneath this, warm and humid air often makes forays deep into the U.S. northern Plains and Canada, with low-level moisture (the “fuel” for thunderstorms) often augmented over areas rich with crops and abundant in spring rains/snows. The southerly winds bearing the low-level moisture, superposed by the mid and upper-level westerlies associated with the retreating and weakening jet stream, yields a highly sheared and buoyant atmosphere – one supportive of supercell thunderstorms – on many days. In fact, some of the most spectacular tornadoes the North American prairies have to offer can occur in early-mid summer.
The Photography Tour is scheduled during mid June when storms are plentiful, slow moving and photogenic. Tornadoes often occur, and can be quite stunning to capture in your camera lens. The chase territory is usually the northern plains and the high plains, where vistas are gorgeous and there are also many parks and landmarks along the way. Less chasers, less populated areas and little light pollution provide for the perfect natural image. If you want the best possible opportunity to capture that severe weather photo of a life time, consider Silver Lining Tours. Our many years of successful storm chasing experience will no doubt result in the highlight of your photography portfolio!
Silver Lining Tours approach to these tours is simple. Led by Roger and Caryn Hill, they will draw upon their years of experience and make sure their photography clients are in the best possible position for the ultimate shot. We know the importance of tripod mounted photography and will position their clients to allow them the time needed to set up and capture spectacular images. Our goal is to make sure you have a chance at shooting the ENTIRE storm structure as well as up close and personal tornado photos. Setting up for lengthy photo opportunities is a luxury sometimes not possible in regular storm chasing tours but is key to a successful severe weather photo shoot. Silver Lining Tours can get you there!
Tours 1 through 4 will originate and end at Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers International Airport (OKC). Tours 5 through the Rolling Prairies Lecture Tour will begin and end at Denver International Airport. Our Great North Tornado Hunt Tour (yes, they get spectacular storms and tornadoes up there) is based in beautiful Rapid City, South Dakota.
We ask that our participants arrive at the airport the day BEFORE the tour begins (we suggest an afternoon arrival) and plan to leave after 10 a.m. the day AFTER the last day of your tour. This will give us more ﬂexibility with regards to how far from the base city we can chase during the last day of your tour.