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'It's a ticking time bomb!': Meteorologist claims storm chasers are becoming 'mobs' who block roads, create traffic jams and drive on the wrong side of highways in a desperate quest to capture viral content

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 5/23/2019 Andrew Court For Dailymail.com

a group of people standing in front of a truck: Storm chasers are see watching an approaching a thunderstorm in Oklahoma last week

Storm chasers are see watching an approaching a thunderstorm in Oklahoma last week
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited
With more than 60 tornadoes reported across America's Midwest since Monday, storm chasers have been out in force trying to record the incredible weather events. 

And while storm chasing is far from a new practice, one meteorologist claims it's becoming increasingly dangerous due to social media, with chasers going to extreme lengths in order to capture viral content they hope will make them famous.  

In an op-ed penned for The Washington Post on Tuesday, Matthew Cappuci declares that chasers have now become 'mobs' who 'are more dangerous than the tornadoes themselves'. 

RELATED: Follow storms in your area with MSN's severe weather tracker

Capucci claims that over the course of the past week he's seen storm chasers endanger the lives of fellow citizens by blocking major intersections, driving down the wrong side of highways and parking on roads in order to take photos. 

He even declared that he witnessed 'traffic jams that were 200 cars deep', reportedly caused by chasers attempting to capture Instagram-worthy content. 

'The advent of smartphones spurred many to think 'I can do this'', he writes. 'Branding things as “extreme” gets clicks and views [and] that makes money.'

He adds: 'With big profits on the line, the dangerous behavior will only get worse. Illegal driving won’t be policed by law enforcement; they’re busy during severe weather. And there’s no real way to practically limit the number of storm chasers or tourists that venture out'.

Capucci says storm chasing is now 'a ticking time bomb'.  

Several social media posts seems to back up Capucci's complaints. 

On Monday, one Oklahoma resident was stuck in slow traffic due to storm chasers stopping to record content. 

'Horrid chaser convergence southwest of Mangum, Oklahoma. I now understand why some chasers completely avoid cashing storms in these sort of scenarios. Completely ridiculous. 15 - 2O MPH speeds with continues ridiculous frequent stops,' they shared on Twitter. 

But while storm chasers may be engaging in practices that put other citizens in danger - they too are also often partaking in unsafe behavior that can lead to their own deaths.

In 2017, storm chasers Kelley Gene Williamson and Randall Delane Yarnall were killed in a two-car crash in Texas while chasing a tornado.

They reportedly ran a stop sign, colliding with another car and killing Corbin Lee Jaeger.

The lead-up to their collision was caught on camera, and a new lawsuit alleges that the storm-chasing duo were encouraged to engage in unsafe behavior by The Weather Channel, for whom they were filming. 

According to CBS, the suit - which has been filed by the victim's mother - alleges that Williamson and Yarnall demonstrated 'time and time again their disregard of basic traffic safety laws' in videos posted on Williamson's storm chasing YouTube channel.

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