Sounds exciting! Tape seems like a reasonable option. Of the two sorts of 3M blue tape, the one for delicate surfaces has the more aggressive adhesive (go figure) and has proved to be more likely to be left behind. The 14day stuff seems more likely not to disfigure your lens. Depending on the lens, wrapping some material like paper towel or glove leather grain toward the lens around the focus ring and body and then tightening it with painter's tape might do. (Aside: leather has two surfaces; grain and flesh. In leather circles, the flesh is the part toward the inside of the animal, the grain is the outside. Virtually all leather garments, shoes, etc are made with the grain outside.) Or, you might still be able to get broccoli or some such bunched vegetable with the wide, heavy rubber bands. For some lens barrels, they might be able to do a good job of providing drag without adhesive. An 'O'-ring perhaps?
A non AF-S AF lens (camera drive - you really do have to be brusque to move the focus, 'bumping' would have little effect) would be more likely to stay locked at a focus point (presumably just short of infinity or are we talking hyperfocal, here?) set to AF but with the thumb button set to AF-ON (f4, AF-ON - also removes AF from the shutter button), AF set to AF-C.
Is storm chasing a life sport? Not sure I'd like to try it.