Improved technology helps storm chasers and meteorologists
8:55 AM, Apr 7, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Missouri - The NBC Action News weather team has some of the best storm chasers in the region. And now they are equipped with great severe weather tracking equipment.
Leslie and Dean Burton hit the road as soon as severe weather is near, and they've been chasing storms as a team since 2002.
Their first priority is to alert the public when dangerous weather is near, and this year they have a few new tools.
Their team, called Intercept Images, uses a wind speed indicators, radars systems with GPS and a split screen when they can track the storm and plan an escape route simultaneously.
Sometimes, they travel hundreds, even thousands, of miles and don't find anything.
"You feel like you wasted your time, but then the next day you get up and look at the radar or storm prediction center and there is a moderate risk, and you're on the road again driving 500-600 miles to get on the right position by the right time," Dean said.
You can follow Intercept Images on TornadoAlleyLive.com. Reed Timmer of Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers came to Overland Park in February. He also chased the hail storm that came through the metro on April 3.
Timmer showed off their infamous vehicle, The Donimator. The cast of Storm Chasers is full of experts on tornados and severe weather across the country. Timmer says they don't chase storms for TV glory.
"Storm chasers also help directly in the warning process. There are more storm chasers than ever these days. It's very difficult for a tornado to go unseen and more importantly un-reported. Storm chasers are really responsible for increasing that warning time by relaying those reports to national weather services and local media," Timmer explained.
Timmer has been chasing storms since 1998, and you can also follow his adventures on TornadoAlleyLive.com.