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Prepping your vehicle for storm chasing season
by Matt Ver Steeg, WeatherEdge, Inc.

If you're anything like me, you just can't wait to get out and begin the storm chasing season. But even if you're reran' to go, is your vehicle? Most people with half a brain know that safety is very important when it comes to storm chasing. However, a lot of folks ignore the thing that takes them there in the first place, sometimes to their chagrin.

Unless you have a strong desire to be stranded out in the middle of nowhere while storm chasing, take the time to make certain that your vehicle is ready to go. Before you think I'm standing up in the soapbox to preach at you, hold on a second. These tips come from my own 20+ years of chasing experience, some of which weren't all that pleasant. If you'd like a list of things that went haywire while storm chasing at the most inopportune time, here goes: Radiator, cooling fan, fuel pump, serpentine belt, flat tire, transfer case, and transmission. Now, that might not sound like many, but even one is too much when you're storm chasing between Wakita and Enid, Oklahoma!

So in order to minimize the potential trouble when on the road storm chasing, I take my vehicle into the car dealer in March, and have them inspect the following:Tires, belts, hoses, radiator, water pump, battery, alternator, and fuel system. I also have my transmission serviced at that time as well. A general tune-up is performed also. If you own a SUV or 4 wheel drive, it's not a bad idea to have them take a look at your transfer case as well, just to be on the safe side.

Now's also a good time to think about carrying an emergency kit in your primary storm chasing vehicle. I like to have a first aid kit, tire sealant, jumper cables, and a small tool box with me when I'm on the road. A friend of mine carries a 12 volt air compressor with him, just in case.

A little pre-season preparation before going storm chasing could save a lot of heartache later on!

Matt Ver Steeg

 

Disclaimer:

Storm chasing is dangerous. You could be hurt or killed in its pursuit, especially if you have little or no knowledge of severe storms and their environment. Chase hazards include but are not limited to heavy rain, flash flooding, lightning, high winds, large hail, tornadoes, and flying debris. Hydroplaning on the road and traffic accidents also occur. If you desire to chase, get informed and educated about weather. Contact your local National Weather Service Office, and enroll in a SKYWARN training class. Read and view all of the published information regarding severe weather, thunderstorms, and tornadoes that you can. You are responsible for educating yourself. Next, contact an experienced chaser in your area, and arrange to travel with them, until you've gained sufficient experience to go it alone. Even at that, veteran chasers get caught in harm's way from time to time. Play it safe. This page is for informational and educational use, and the authors disavow any responsibility for actions you may take.

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