The "Chase" Vehicle

 

Our "chase" vehicle is a 2010 Ford Explorer. It has been modified with storm spotting/chasing in mind. The Explorer has been retrofitted with heavy duty suspension and oversized tires. The suspension gives the truck about a 2" lift above stock. This allows it to go more places than a stock vehicle. The trucks computer has been custom tuned. This gives us better fuel economy as well as more power to the wheels.

A grille guard protects the front of the truck from debris. A 21” LED flood lightbar is affixed to the grille guard, giving us significantly more light output. This is something that is needed during severe storms where power outages can take out the street lights. All exterior lights have been replaced with LED's. This frees up some extra "juice" to power all of our toys while providing us with greater visibility. Our halogen headlights have also been replaced with LED’s, saving more power while providing more light output. An amber LED strobe is also available for use. However it is only used when the situation warrants it. We generally DO NOT drive around with it on.

Up top is a roof rack. More auxiliary lights can be found on it. Two Hella 500 spot lights face forward while a pair of halogen lights faces the rear. These also are useful while chasing storms, especially the rear lights while backing up. Also on the rack is an anemometer which gives us wind speed directly in the cabin of the vehicle.

Inside the cabin of our chase vehicle, you’ll find several “toys”, namely the Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 laptop. It is affixed to the truck using Havis brand mounts. It can draw its power from its internal battery for directly from the vehicle. It is almost constantly connected to the internet via Tether or our wireless hotspot. While on chases, we will run GPS software (Delorme), GRLevel3.2 radar, Spotter Network, video streaming software and other miscellaneous programs. Also in use during our chases is our Uniden BCD996XT scanner. We use it to monitor NOAA weather radio, Skywarn, emergency management and other important frequencies. A GoPro camera is also usually attached to the vehicle, capturing photos and video for later use.