HOW SAFE IS IT?
AN OVERVIEW OF OUR SAFETY MEASURES
What does Extreme Nature Tours do to ensure safety?
Our trips are not entirely without risk. That is not different from with many other adventurous trips. We do our very best to bring you as close to nature as possible, but with us safety is always top priority. Through years of experience we know how to deal with situations and make the right decisions.
Our tour guides have many years of experience with the extreme natural phenomena and know where and when risks can arise. They anticipate on this and plan accordingly. This experience helps us to get very close in a safe way.
With all these safetly measures in place, we believe storm chasing and hurricane chasing are in the same risk category as for example moutain biking or hiking along higher Alpine terrain.
How safe is storm chasing?
Dangerous situations on busy roads and lightning are the most important issues that we take into account. Especially in so-called 'chasers convergence' (many storm chasers in a small area) will be particularly cautious. We observe speed limits, while our driver only focuses on the road. Are there many cars parked alongside and groups of people in the roadside? Then we take extra caution, even though speed is essential at that moment in time to get to the right place. In addition, we have 20+ years of experience with driving across wet and flooded or hail covered roads. Also, we know how to keep our vehicle steady when pounded by severe winds.
If lightning strikes around us, we will stay in the van or car to be completely safe from direct impact.
We will not get surprised by a tornado. Even if we would try, it is not easy to get inside. We will always stay on the 'safe' side of a (potential) tornado. For example: with an eastward moving tornado we wills stay to the south and west of the tornado when closing in. Just to the east or north-east could be potentially live threatening as the tornado is moving towards you. North of the tornado is a precarious place with heavy pownpours and the potential for huge hailstones impacting the vehicle. Moreover, to the north visibility is close to zero.
We do not go out in the pitch dark . That is as if you have to sail blindly on radar images. Sometimes we take time to shoot lightning pictures at night.
We have more than 20 years experience in storm chasing.
How safe is the hurricane chasing?
In a hurricane the wind speeds are much lower than in heavy tornadoes and it is therefore possible to get into the hurricane. What is very dangerous and what we do not do, is to enter the hurricane from the outside to the eye. If you do that you will have to drive through the so-called 'eye wall' just before you reach the eye, an area with extreme gusts of wind and sometimes also short-lasting tornadoes. A car will be blown away with certainty and will also be a target on the road of everything flying around.
What we do is find a safe place where we think the hurricane will be over. That place is almost always a city, because you need hurricane-resistant buildings to hide behind, or to shelter when needed. You also need space to park the car, at least 5 meters above ground level due to the risk of flooding. This place we reach many hours before the hurricane arrives so we will arrive without problems.
During the crossing of the 'eye wall' we will stand on the windy side of a hurricane-resistant building. We also ensure that we can get in somewhere quickly, if necessary.
We also all wear a helmet as an extra precaution, which is also common in mountain biking, canyoning or climbing, for example. We also have (diving) glasses on so that we do not suffer from the pouring rain.
How safe are temperatures of 50 below?
Siberians have been living in Siberia for more than 15,000 years and have adapted perfectly to the cold. That is what we are going to do. With our extensive packing list it is clear to everyone which shoes, clothing, hat, gloves are suitable for the extreme cold. You can dress up against cold!
Swimming at -50 is of course optional and we are ready with towels and a hot drink to get you back to a pleasant temperature. The swimming itself goes into water from just above zero. The advantage of Siberia is that it almost never blows. And the adrenalin in your body keeps you warm! Of course we will inquire in advance with everyone in the group whether there are certain medical reasons for not doing this.