Attracted by meteorology as a child and enthusiastic about the weather, he soon developed a great passion. This was the case for almost everyone in the team. The people behind Unwetterbeobachtung CH/EU put a lot of heart, knowledge and passion into their voluntary and honorary activities. Every single member brings his own experience and interests in meteorology and weather. The mostly self-learned and well-founded, synoptic and meteorological knowledge of each individual person contributes to the high quality and quantity of our activities and forecasts.
Nevertheless, we too are only human and mistakes happen where work is done. Even with a hit rate of about 90% we also miss the mark from time to time and this is quite normal for more complex and uncertain weather models.
What we do
We have made it our business to pass on the broad knowledge in accordance with our experience to the population and our partners. We are usually on site in the event of a major storm and can therefore issue an explicit warning minutes or hours in advance, if necessary. Mainly we "hunt" the thunderstorms to make videos and photos of them, because the force of nature and the enormous - not harmless - flash fireworks fascinate us again and again. However, we have long recognized that research in this area is not yet complete and some points are still unexplored. With our observations and documentations of the most different thunderstorms and weather phenomena we contribute to the statistics and research of this very area. The experience we gain on site combined with our knowledge and personal assessment is passed on to various weather service providers. Thus, among other things, warnings of storms can be improved or strengthened in many areas.
As the population is repeatedly misinformed or sometimes not sufficiently informed and wrong behaviour or information is spread through Hollywood movies on TV and in the cinema, we also start in this area. We answer a wide variety of questions on the subject of weather and are happy to provide advice and assistance. Likewise, affected persons may contact us if we can contribute to the clarification, improvement, documentation or help (e.g. clean-up work, organisation of aids, etc.). For storm research and statistics it is always an advantage to document the consequences of the respective storm in detail. For this purpose it is unfortunately also necessary to talk directly to the affected people, as they were usually closest to the disaster.
In many cases, our explanation of the respective weather events already helps a lot in dealing with a trauma (e.g. lightning striking the house and falling down the ceiling, etc.) or also to clarify possible events in relation to it (e.g. exploding fuse boxes, moving the house in case of lightning strike, etc.). For this reason we have created a Severe Weather TaskForce where everyone can contact us to request our support and help in various matters. We also accept weather reports via the TaskForce at any time.
How we proceed with our own forecasts, storm warnings and alerts
As the Unwetterbeobachtung CH/EU we observe - as the name already mentions - the most different storms and weather phenomena. Apart from documenting and observing them, we also want to warn people about them - if possible. If we post a storm warning or a note on our Facebook page we have already taken many steps before to be as reliable and accurate as possible. We study the different weather models days before an event, compare the latest runs with the previous ones and get a general picture of the situation. In addition we let our experiences, which we made during an observation/chasing on site, flow into the evaluation. This is very helpful for the forecast, especially when the weather situation is complicated and uncertain. Due to our experience and the well-founded knowledge we have an average hit rate of just over 90%.
We do all this voluntarily and with pure passion. We earn nothing and sacrifice a lot of free time for it. Wherever work is done, mistakes are made, as they are with us. For these reasons a hundred percent accuracy can never be guaranteed and one should always pay attention to the national weather services. Since the storm observation CH/EU primarily observes, analyzes and documents one should accept our warnings as a supplement. It is not always possible to take the time to issue a warning or documentation about every storm. However, when we write a forecast or warning we do so with the best conscience and knowledge.
Nowadays, weather can be predicted well by research and various model simulations. But technology is prone to error and nature is still unpredictable. Many points such as geo- and topography cannot (yet) be considered in the model calculations, which can lead to some forecasts being incorrect or inaccurate. Here, our observations and statistics complement the required additional information.
How do we deal with the risks, is our work dangerous?
Again and again we are asked whether it is not dangerous to be in and around such storms. Nowadays the weather is well predictable, but it can always change. For example, it is possible to see when there might be a thunderstorm in which area, but nobody can judge how severe it will be. Therefore we need to be on the spot to be able to judge the hail size and to pass this on to the different places. As people who are directly on the spot there are also certain risks. While most people seek shelter within their own four walls during thunderstorms, hailstorms and storms, we go straight to the centre of the action. Because only in this way it is also possible to collect the respective data, pictures and videos as well as experiences.
We are aware that such storms can be very dangerous. Among other things, you never know beforehand how big the hail will be, how strong the squalls will be and when and where the next lightning will strike. The danger of being struck by lightning is relatively low if you follow certain rules and behaviour, but it increases immediately in the middle of a storm. Lightning can strike 40 km before the arrival of a thunderstorm. Our many years of experience and knowledge enable us to reassess the danger at any time and to act accordingly. Therefore it also happens that we break off a "Chasing" and retreat because safety always comes first.
Despite all precautionary measures, there is always a residual risk. With the necessary respect, this must always be kept in mind and one must know what to do in an emergency situation (for example, sudden, large hail and no possibility of protection in sight). For laymen, we recommend that you urgently refrain from such trips into the storm and seek shelter accordingly. If you still want to experience such events at close quarters, please contact us and take a ride with us. Because let's be honest: Despite the risks and dangerousness of such storms, they are nevertheless very fascinating.
Cohesion and teamwork are very important to us
In order for us to achieve our set goals in each case, it is important to work together with a wide variety of agencies. This includes the close cooperation with different weather services in order to be able to report our observations directly on site. We also work with several fire brigades, civil defence services, military and civil protection forces. Each of them has their own special field of expertise, which ultimately creates a useful and detailed analysis to help and support people as accurately and as effectively as possible.
Not only the teamwork is a must but also the cohesion between the individual Stormchasern. A Stormchaser is just such a person like us, who is interested in the weather since childhood, knows the risks and is always close to the action. How a Stormchaser proceeds exactly, what makes us happy or unhappy and what happens in the background, we write on our blog THE CHASER. Stormchasers are not only in America but also in this country and all over the world. As a neutral and central positioned organisation in Europe we want to network the Stormchasers and exchange weather and data together.