May 13, 2012

Chase Vehicle Seleted

First things first.  We do have our rental vehicle set up through Hertz.   It's going to be the Chevy Equinox SUV.  We've made an executive decision to chase from now on in such vehicles rather than in full-sized cars...which admittedly are more "stealth".

(a)  the larger vehicle is safer in strong winds;
(b)  the SUV vehicles have fold up rear doors that can serve as rain shields to the cameras we set up;
(c)  the all-wheel-drive feature allows us to use dirt roads that can become somewhat muddy (though we will try to stay away from really bad roads, because even SUVs can get stuck in such);
(d)  given the significant problem with "chaser convergence" in Kansas in mid April, we've got to acknowledge that if we stay on main roads, in urban areas, in synoptically-evident patterns (meaning, everyone can know about them in advance), we will just be part of the problem...UNLESS we stick to backroads, or gravel roads that parallel main roads.  Obviously, that could be a problem if those roads are poorly maintained.  However, that's our plan, and SUVs are able to navigate those better.

One other issue related to our vehicle.  We are part of the so-called "Spotter Network".   Another issue, and who knows if it really is an big one, is that extreme tornado chasers with no meteorological background often use the locations of other vehicles on the Spotter Network in general, and, perhaps, the icons of experienced storm chasers, to target storms.

So we are liable to keep our icon turned off until the last minute (so that students and other people following our exploits can follow along) for situations that develop in urban areas on weekends, in which the chaser convergence issue has become so significant.