Getting 2022 'Season Ready'

Trenton Wallace

Supporter
Oct 12, 2021
1
0
1
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Hello all!

First time poster here!

I wanted to share my high-level goals for getting 'season ready':

Knowledge and training: Attend Skywarn (Tulsa or Little Rock), join SpotterNetwork.

With this new job I have, (getting ready to leave Nov. 1 for training) take home projections are going to be in the ballpark range of $800-$1300/week. It is OTR work. With the money I plan to buy a newer Toyota 4Runner and invest in and use it as my chase vehicle, with a DD on the side.

The Toyota 'StormRunner':

I am researching lift kits and off-road accessories for the vehicle, such as:

Bumpers, skid plates, lights, and possible fabrication of a custom roof rack. I am also debating backing most if not all of this project with a 'Replacement Budget' account for replacing polycarbonate, glass, weather stations and the like.

Input? Questions? Let me know!

I would also like to get some field experience, so if anyone is around the Eastern-Oklahoma-Western-Arkansas area around spring or summer and has room, I would love to come aboard and learn first-hand!

- Trenton
 
Sep 7, 2013
686
547
21
Strasburg, CO
You dont need a lift kit to chase. Nor do you need a roof rack. Both of those are actually detrimental to chasing as your real goal for setting up a chase rig is fuel economy.

If you have other hobbies like driving trails and camping, your setup sounds good, but for hours of highway travel, a lifted overlander with loud tires getting 15mpg sounds miserable.

If its burning a hole in your pocket, spend your money on camera gear, radar apps, and education (tours, etc.)
 

Warren Faidley

Supporter
May 7, 2006
1,967
2,061
21
Mos Isley Space Port
www.stormchaser.com
Build the truck you want, but as Marc said, fuel costs are going to be a major concern for the next 3+ years. I'm guessing average prices over $4.00 per gallon are not far away in many chase regions. If the yearly miles tax is passed, that will also be a factor. (Infrastructure Package Includes Vehicle Mileage Tax Program). Some of the fuel costs can be reduced by learning more about "forecasting and targeting" so you are not driving wasted miles. Or, find a chase partner to split the fuel costs.
 

Jeff House

Supporter
Jun 1, 2008
621
694
11
Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
In addition to Skywarn, find the Skip Talbot videos on here or elsewhere. Goldmine for non-classic structure. Still sups, but not exactly like the SW pamphlet.

I really like the part about getting field experience. If you don't know a chaser in the area, get any friend to go. Here's why. You don't need an experienced storm chaser or Met to help with defensive driving. Other drivers are the number one hazard. Another set of eyes is great. If they are comfortable driving, even better so you can watch data trends on the fly. I strongly favor a chase partner over solo.

To Everyone: Always stop to look at data if chasing alone. If you believe the highway is open and flat ahead of you, still always stop to look at data. Remember, Put it Down for Abby.
 

Todd Lemery

Staff member
Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
695
743
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Menominee, MI
Just want to touch on what Jeff had to say. In my hometown recently we had two fatalities from people on their phones while driving. One plowed into a milk truck and another into a dump truck. Neither noticed a large truck pulling out on the me four lane divided highway.
I don’t chase alone except for lower end chases that I can’t convince anyone else to chase. Me problem is, I can’t resist checking roads and radar while driving. in the past I always pulled over to reevaluate my chase, but haven been able to resist ”keeping up to date” with quick checks while driving.
I’m now limiting my chases to when I have a chase partner.
One of the fatalities was my daughters friend. A similar wreck three years ago with a different daughters friend apparently wasn’t enough to convince me.
If you can resist checking while driving, then you’re better than me. If you can’t, then be honest with yourself and make the changes you need to make for yourself and others.
Now, to the original post. I love the knowledge and training part, as you can never have too much knowledge and training to chase. I’ll double up on recommending Skip Talbot’s videos.
As far as the Toyota upgrades are concerned, you aren’t going to be spending much off-rlacing while chasing, so I’d recommend saving a few bucks on the off road equipment and use that money for cameras and maybe a hotel fund so you can get a good nights rest. You’ll need it!
 

Drew Terril

Staff member
I do a good deal of off roading, and those vehicle mods are fine for that. But if you don't off road, the lift and roof rack are useless. The roof rack, for example, gets in the way of antennas for commo equipment. Most of my ham radio activity has nothing to do with storm chasing, but I do make sure I'm well set up for that as well. A good dual band radio (anything from Yaesu, Icom, or Kenwood) will suffice. I recommend NMO antenna mounts in the roof, but I understandsome can't stomach that.

The one mod I would absolutely recommend aside from commo, especially considering heavily wooded areas like Eastern OK and Western AR, is carrying a chainsaw and having a winch bumper with a winch. The other would be AT tires. That'll do more for chasing than a lift or skid plates.

If you do, in fact, plan to off road and overland, lockers would be a quick upgrade. But solely for chasing, I'd concentrate on commo, and keeping a list handy of SKYWARN frequencies.
 
I do a good deal of off roading, and those vehicle mods are fine for that. But if you don't off road, the lift and roof rack are useless. The roof rack, for example, gets in the way of antennas for commo equipment. Most of my ham radio activity has nothing to do with storm chasing, but I do make sure I'm well set up for that as well. A good dual band radio (anything from Yaesu, Icom, or Kenwood) will suffice. I recommend NMO antenna mounts in the roof, but I understandsome can't stomach that.

The one mod I would absolutely recommend aside from commo, especially considering heavily wooded areas like Eastern OK and Western AR, is carrying a chainsaw and having a winch bumper with a winch. The other would be AT tires. That'll do more for chasing than a lift or skid plates.

If you do, in fact, plan to off road and overland, lockers would be a quick upgrade. But solely for chasing, I'd concentrate on commo, and keeping a list handy of SKYWARN frequencies.
I loved using my ICOM for EOC operations with Tillman County Emergency Management so much that I'm going to be buying my own once I get settled into my new house. One for the car, one for the house!
 
I have a TON of gear in my storm chasing vehicle for multiple purposes... Here's just a list of what I use.... 32" Falken Wildpeaks, BULL-X Recovery boards, COMET CA-2X4SR, Browning 26.5-30 NMO, Weboost 4G signal booster antenna, Speed Tech Lights 145 degree Carbine Offroad Lights, Midland LWX1001, Midland MXT 115, and a RAM laptop mount exclusive for the Explorer.... HIGHLY recommend purchasing a Weboost 4G signal booster as that has benefited me SO MUCH, especially in remote areas. Also, I want to mention that none of this is truly needed to chase storms, this is just how I have been chasing for the past 5 years. You can successfully just chase with a phone! Since you are planning on chasing I highly recommend also becoming trained in CERT/First Aid/light search and rescue. This type of training can come in handy when you come upon a damaged area and maybe the first person on the scene. This is important because during a serious disaster resources may be tied up somewhere else, especially if you are in a small county with no hospital and all towns rely on a county EMS agency.... I also carry search and rescue gear in my vehicle since I am trained in SAR.... Just some ideas to throw your way. :)
 

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