Got WxWorx? Seen Tornadoes?

Jay Press

Jan 4, 2005
So California
I want to find out if WxWorx has helped put chasers in that perfect spot for tornadoes. I know that forecast discussions are important to read before the day on the road, but is this the ultimete chasing tool...
Comments & chase stories welcome......

It is not the perfect chasing tool.

They don't mention anything about drinking, trucks, jail, trains... OOps got off on the wrong subject :roll:

It does NOT help in the forecasting, You still need to know where to go to find the storms. What it does help with is seeing the recent obbs to see how things are progressing throughout the day. Once storms fire, you can see the radar. You won't be able to see small suttle details, but you can see how the storm is evolving and where it is moving.

I would have to say that YES, it has helped me find tornadoes. Can't say if I would have found them without it or not, but it did make some decissions easier on the chase.
Originally posted by cedwards
It is not the perfect chasing tool.

They don't mention anything about drinking, trucks, jail, trains... OOps got off on the wrong subject :roll:

ROFLMAO @ Roger! I always knew you was a country boy like me! :wink:

Maybe you could go back and write an add on for wxworx and make the perfect chasing tool and we could all sing about it? 8)

I haven't had mine long enough to give it a thorough review, but so far I like it. Having the data near realtime ANYWHERE is the greatest thing. Hourly surface obs can change quite a bit over time and having that info can really help you refine your "nowcast". Some people don't like all the new technology and some even resent those that use stuff that helps them get updated data in the field. But in my experience, things change greatly and often from that morning forecast and IMO your short changing yourself if you don't take advantage of some form of updated data throughout the day. I can say that over the years, the more timely data I had, the better I was able to make my chases overall. I greatly respect the pioneers like Jensen and Hoadley who MUST have had a 6th sense for finding tornadoes, because after hearing how they did it back then, it blows my mind that they were ever able to succeed!

I have taken wxworx out on some local station chases. Of course we also have the benefit of a met back at the station to give us info as well and they are watching a triple scan radar system, but I agree with Roger, it does make some decisions on the road easier. Most notably recently was whether or not I could make it down this one road ahead of the core or not. Without seeing that on radar, I most certainly would have taken the MUCH longer southern route.

I will reserve further judgement on wxworx until after the bulk of the chase season has passed and I have more experience to go on.
"What's this?"

Looks like it is just three separate radars on one display system, otherwise known as "three radars" (but that's not a very sexy name!)
"What's this?"

Looks like it is just three separate radars on one display system, otherwise known as "three radars" (but that's not a very sexy name!)

If I understand how it works, it takes the data from the three radar sites and compiles it. The old name was the same with the HD, they added the 3 when the new system went online the other day. Other than the triple sweep thing, it has the landsat maps for the background so they can zoom in and see where certain buildings, landmarks, etc are. I also understand the whole software package is just FASTER than the old one.
Getting off topic but hey there is more than 3 topics already on

here in Tulsa we have one station doing the 5 live radar, another with Double Dopplar which they say is more true than the 5 and then another which has the Viper (pretty nice but don't usually get to see it in use) then another has Dopplar 8000..... just love the radar wars every year
That there is. I have seen in OK seems to be the weather battle capitol of the country when it comes to severe weather. Although, in recent years I have seen that spread out more to Wichita, DFW, Amarillo and now even Lubbock some. Two of the other major networks here are in it together and pool a lot of resources, and well then there is the little red dog. NewChannel 11 out here is #1 in our market and has been for a long time. I am pleased to be working with them.

I think all the stations should buy their chasers wxworks systems. Seems like an awesome tool for media chasers out there making live reports etc. But, I imagine there could be some proprietary conflicts of interest or something. Way more than stuff I know about. :) For that matter, it's a great tool for spotters too, but since that is mostly voluntary, the funding for that would be difficult.
I've been using it since the beginning of this season and so far I love it. I got a night tornado in Missouri the other day and was using it if that counts.

What I really like about it is just having freaking data whenever / wherever. It's always been a pain to always worry about internet connects while driving. Invariably you always need one when things heat up and a tornadic core is coming down on you in the dark!

I hear there is a chaser list that describes it as 'blob chasing'. That's because the radar image is very much smoothed and IMO not that detailed. Plus it is only reflectivity and you don't get the other radar products.

I think where it really helps is in navigation and storm coordination. I also have described it as a possible 'core punch tool'. However the radar is sometimes not exactly realtime so gps overlay with it can definitely put you in the wrong spot if you don't allow lag time for a stale image and figure your true position within the reflectivity appropriately.

My biggest complaint is that it is smoothed so much even weak storms can look strong so you may be on a dud and wouldn't know it. Sometimes I compare to Weathertap and see that my storm sucks. In that sense it is truly a blob.

It is certainly no magic bullet. Truth is to do it right you need to make your own forecast, and know what is transpiring set up wise and go to your area. Then when tornadic weather breaks out you know why and yoiu know that storms in your area are likely tornadic so you can then 'follow the blobs'.

Also it is good for safety to help navigate around tornadic portions of a storm or at night in similar conditions. For me too many times in the past I've been stuck at night with no data in the middle of nowhere with tornadic cells trying to overrun me and me not having a clue. Now I at least know what's popping around me, and can use it alongside StreetAtlas to help plot a good course.

Additionally it features wind at multiple levels, and surface obs, and cell info, shear info, storm info and direction, and county warnings along with tops of storms.

All in all a good tool and I am very much glad I have it. Basically I almost never have to make a pay cell connect anymore. Between wxworx and free wifi I have it covered. Technically IMO that means that after the initial start up cost wxworx is actually a much cheaper solution. Plus if you don't want all the perks you can go the cheapo $35 a month route making it a super inexpensive option.
To answer your question, YES, WxWorx has DEFINITELY helped me get in the right spot for tornadoes! In fact, just this April (10th) our Colorado team (Tony Laubach, Kyle Kluge, Verne Carlson, Tom Dulong & Myself) used our WxWorx systems initially to track a line of sups that formed in a narrow swath out of the cold-core low that eventually moved east & set up across W. KS that day (what a strange setup that was--my 1st cold-core low chase!).
As we were gaining on the southern cell, Baron indicated good low-level rotation (i.e. 115-mph shear) with its neat rotating SCITS. We could actually SEE where the radar-indicated rotation was pulling in clearcut, solid RFDs punching in & rounding off the bases. Within minutes, supposedly both cells (we couldn't see the northern cell) went cyclic & dropped 3 out of the 4 tubes we caught that day, including our super-suprise Kansas "waterspout" :shock: :lol: ! See Tony's well-organized & updated site for the day's chase report here: (lot's of great pics & some funny "Kodak" moments ).
Also visit Verne Carlson's site:
His page has good basic rundown summarries for each day, along with a couple awesome vid clips (one of the famous, rarely seen KS "waterspout", LOL! OK, how about "waternado", happy now?! :wink:
Thanks to the Baron systems coupled w/ GPS, we just about pinpointed those touchdowns!
always keep in mind, as stated by the pro's here, the neatest techno toys should NEVER replace or substitute for good knowledge & experience in-field & most importanly, a well-educated team, if not simply self-taught as many of us are.
Well, there's a long answer for your short question! Hopefully you'll learn somthing valuable from it: like not to cross over a reservoir unless you've got cows flyin' around (in the "core" :roll:), so u can tell where the strongest winds are, LOL!. :mrgreen:
Good luck on your future chases, read as many books on tornadoes & severe storms as you can, then post some good, thought-provoking q's on here.
Again, best of luck, be careful, & hopefully c u out there!