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Weather Network meteorologists go storm chasing in Tornado Alley


Staff writers
May 12, 2012 — Two Weather Network meteorologists are hoping to get a first-hand view of a Tornado Alley storm.


A laptop, GPS and ham radio will help keep the storm chasers on track
A laptop, GPS and ham radio will help keep the storm chasers on track

Weather Network meteorologists Dayna Vettese and Brad Rousseau - along with their friend Simon, a fellow meteorologist and engineer - are embarking on a storm chase, and they'll be making the journey in their very own, weather-protected vehicle.

While they have no plans of driving directly into a tornado, they have to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at them.

"Once you get to golf-ball sized hail, you really stand a chance of losing some glass," Dayna says.

"Smaller than that, you'll get a few cracks, but once you get up to baseball-sized hail, that's it. Your windshield and windows aren't going to be able to withstand it, and you're going to get some big dents in the car."

The vehicle has been equipped with hail-resistant shields
The vehicle has been equipped with hail-resistant shields

The vehicle's windows have been hail-proofed with Lexan shields, a strong plastic that can absorb impact better than plexiglass, which is prone to shattering.

A laptop will help the team monitor weather forecasts and a ham radio will facilitate contact with other storm chasers in areas where the cell phone reception is spotty.

"These are our eyes and ears when we're out on the road," Dayna says.

"We have GPS units that will help us track where we are relative to the storm. That way we know where we are at all times, so if we can't see [the storm] visually, at least we can see it on the radar."

While the car looks impressive, Dayna admits they've received a few strange looks from fellow motorists.

"But once we get down to Tornado alley, people will probably just say, oh -- there goes another storm chaser!"

Follow the adventure on Twitter or by visiting severeweatherdiaries.com.

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