Storm chasing typically involves getting close to a tornado and setting up equipment to record its size and wind speeds. Many storm chasers are meteorologists who work alone or with a small group. With its popularity on televisions shows, paychecks for storm chasers vary and will likely continue to gain momentum.
Eye of the Storm
Television stations pay storm chasers an average of $500 for storm footage, and citizens typically pay $3,500 to ride along on storm-chasing missions. Popular storm chaser Tornado Tim states that you can make up to $70,000 a year; yet, he also states that your expenses can consume most of your earnings. As a celebrity, you can make even more. Reed Timmer, worth approximately $250,000, received fame from the Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers" television show.
Various job sites list storm chaser salaries; however, many base the salaries on few job descriptions for storm chasers specifically. The information is used mainly as starting points. Tornado Alley, one area known for heavy tornado activity, is an area where storm chasing would be prevalent. Locations with heavier tornado activity would likely allow for higher-paid storm chasers. SimplyHired lists the average salary of a storm chaser in Kansas at $16,000. Keep in mind that storm-chasing season in the United States is short -- usually April to June.