It’s no small statement when we say we really feel strongly about the work we and our colleagues do. Not just for the Iowa Storm Chasing Network but also every professional storm chaser, meteorologist, forecaster, and weather enthusiast in this game.
Recently, we lost three of our comrades in the field. The death of Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young hit everyone in our community hard, especially those who worked alongside Tim over the past several years. This came just days after the terrible events in Moore, OK. When it was all over, we saw two powerful tornadoes devastate a community, including a school, and the widest tornado on record take so many storm chasers by surprise, with disastrous results.
When we learned of Tim and his team’s passing, we mentioned that many in the business would likely re-evaluate their situation and that included us. Some may ultimately decide whether they even want to continue chasing. Well we can tell you we have made our decision, and it’s going to require anyone willing to help.
We are hoping to continue our services here on the Iowa Storm Chasing Network, and in the near future we also hope to expand not only our services, but our reach, while still maintaining the local focus on what we do. We are aided in that effort by all of you, who share your information, reports, pictures and video with us so that everyone can understand exactly what is happening across Iowa.
With that in mind, we are coming to you again to ask for your help. We do not get paid to do this. There is no major revenue generator. So after discussing this with other members of the team, we have decided to come to you, our fans.
To help, just click here to go to our donation page. There you can click into a form that will allow you to donate to our group via PayPal or just a simple credit card. We don’t expect anyone to give and we want to be clear that we are NOT going to any type of premium service. All we are asking is for a little help from those with the means to give and who enjoy what we do.
We incur thousands of dollars a year in operating costs, both for the website, travel, lodging and equipment that we use to both chase and maintain the website and Facebook page. We do get some help, but those largely come out of our own pockets. To those who can help, your funds will go to cover those expenses, and if enough people give what they can, we may be able to put some money into the site in order improve it in ways we did not think imaginable a short time ago.
Bottom line, this idea that is the Iowa Storm Chasing Network does not work simply because we made it; it works because you are all a part of it. It’s why you see our work featured not only locally, but on networks around the world (some examples below). Both here in Iowa and beyond we want to continue that in any way, shape or form that we can.
Your participation and interest is what keeps us going and what reminds us that we can make a difference when it comes to protecting our neighbors across the state. We hope you continue to enjoy what we do and thank you all in advance to who who donate to our cause!
Ben’s report seen on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on May 20, 2013:
Ben’s interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett following the Moore, OK tornado: