Storm chasers, spotters and weather geeks will flock to Denver this weekend for ChaserCon -- a chance to exchange ideas and swap storm stories before severe weather season begins.
Now in its 16th year, the convention will host well-knowns such as Mike Bettes and Dr. Greg Forbes from the Weather Channel, who are speaking on various topics.
ChaserCon began when storm chaser Tim Samaras invited a few friends over for beer and pizza. The purpose of the gathering was to watch videos of severe weather and get excited for the upcoming severe weather season.
-- Somber year for attendees --
This is the first year ChaserCon won’t have its founder.
Last May, Samaras died doing what he loved, chasing storms with his son, Paul, and his long-time chasing partner, Carl Young.
Fellow storm chaser Nick Hellums is looking forward to paying his respects this year.
"Tim Samaras is the one who put that on every year, and they’re doing a big dedication," he said.
-- Dangerous, expensive hobby --
Nick Hellums chases with a group called Mid-South Storm Chasers. He was planning to go to the convention, but at the last minute, work got in the way.
For most chasers, it’s a hobby. Most have day jobs to pay the bills and keep some gas in the chase vehicle.
Hellums recommends a few things for anyone who considers hopping in a car and chasing.
“Start with the basics. Go through the SkyWarn training. If you know someone who does it, go out with them a couple times to see how they do it,” he said. "It’s not just a jump in the car and go type thing.”
National Weather Service storm spotter training will be available at the conference.
Smartphone weather radio app Storm Shield will be the main sponsor of the event, conducted Friday through Sunday at DoubleTree by Hilton Denver.