April, May, and June are typically referred to as Severe Weather Season. As the winter chill begins to thaw and warmer spring air moves in from the south, severe thunderstorms are not uncommon across tornado alley, the Southern United States, and the Brazos Valley.
It takes a certain amount of dedication and patience in order to catch a perfect storm. It is those two traits that keep Bob Pack and Colin Jenkins, with the Chaos Storm Team, chasing weather not only here in the Brazos Valley but across much of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
When storms erupt, they hop in the truck and go. According to Jenkins, "you can spend eight to ten hours driving, and not see a thing. When you get to 4 or 5 on afternoon set-ups and start to build cloud tops, its two to three hours of pure adrenaline."
The two met a few years back while they were involved in HAM radio competitions -- from there a passion for chasing storms grew their interest in getting on the road, when seconds could matter, during severe weather.
Both Pack and Jenkins are certified storm spotters through The National Weather Service in the volunteer SKYWARN program. So while they are out there to catch amazing video of tornadoes and severe weather, Pack also knows that these chase events are to help "relay information that [they] are seeing to the National Weather Service. Radar can tell you there could be a tornado, but you don't know that for sure unless there are eyes on the ground to confirm it."
Whether it is the latest technology or just going off gut instinct, some chases bring back great stories and others bring back some disappointment. Jenkins recalls a time when the team went all the way to Kansas, a 1,400 mile drive, and because of a cap in the atmosphere basically saw nothing for two days.
The Chaos Storm Team motto is: "Living on the edge for the beauty of nature." That is exactly what they do to not only document severe weather but to help keep residents of the Brazos Valley safe through reports of hail, tornadoes, or damaging winds.