How do you prepare for chase season?

Ok, chase season is approaching fast! After a long dry spell, and knowing you will be out on the road tracking that elusive storm, how do you prepare in the off season to help your odds in catching the beast?

Do you study old film?
Just use last years experience?
Web resources?
Classes?

Sound off! How do you improve your skill set in the off season!
 
About the only thing I do to prepare these days is buy video tapes. Everything else is pretty much automatic at this point.
 
1.) Get caught back up on my forecasting skills. Though limited, they get me to where I need to be most of the time.

2.) Make sure the electronics still work.

3.) Service the vehicle – tires, tune-up, oil change…

4.) Order plenty of tapes for the video cameras. This year 50 miniDV and 100 Hi8.

5.) Service the cameras (clean the heads).

6.) Lastly I set my clock to Daylight Saving Time so I can get that extra hour of chase time. :D I just had too because it's much to funny

That’s about all I can think of but I am sure I am missing much more. That’s just whats most important to me.

Sound off! How do you improve your skill set in the off season?”

There is a point within a year in which I just don’t think much about weather. I know it would do me good as a chaser to read up all year long on forecasting and such but that would drive me nuts. I have to have that time away from chasing and weather related stuff.
 
I rummage through the pre-chase 00z model data and match up patterns from past chases to the impending chase. Try very hard to get some sleep. Grab more data the morning of the chase...and then hit the road.
I used to be a real stickler for pre-chase preparation, but as I have chased more and more, the game is to be aimed at the right spot. Everything else will fall into place.
 
Attend skywarn classes. It's a free ride to see all the latest chaser footage. On my way home I pick up a rabbit's foot.
 
Ive already bought around 3 replacement rechargeable batteries for the new camera. This will help a great deal since last year I lost out on alot Lightning opportunities from recharging. Next month Im buying all my DV tapes for the camcorder and considering a new tripod for the SLR Film camera.

Otherwise, Like Mike I attend the skywarn classes, I also browse thru the Severe Thunderstorm events index and do comparison from year to year. I watch all my stormchasing videos that I bought over the last couple of years and also watch my footage. This year Ive been doing a bit of driving around my area to look for photo opportunity areas and mark them down for future reference.
 
Hmmm...

Good question!

Fortunately, I'm so busy at work I don't have time to think about it...much

I think the biggest thing I do, is to review the technology thats out there..new technology that could get me 'connected' to data better.

I don't care what ANYBODY says...having data in the field is great. I'm a data freek..and proud of it. I am addicted to having visible satellite/surface obs constantly when I'm in 'waiting mode'. I look for the 'agitated area', and try to park myself there...and wait.

Other things that I do is to review the latest in digital media. I'm a firm believer in having the best one can afford to capture the event. I gave up film several years ago(thank goodness!!) and went to Canon DSLR, and also moved to HDV in 2005. Best thing I ever did.

As far as 'keeping sharp' on forecasting abilities-I continuously look at the weather and stay sharp forcasting the next day's weather year round.

Looking for that first poofy cumulus cloud, the first rumble of thunder..its what we all live for. I've been chasing for over 22+ years..I NEVER get tired of it, I ALWAYS look forward to spring with an incredible passion. Knowing the new spring season is an unwritten book always stirs up my boyhood curiosity.

Gotta get out there...

Tim Samaras

Hope to see y'all in DEN next week!
 
Well this season is certainly different in the lead-up to storm season for me. I'm planning on shooting a documentary on Storm Chasing as a whole and I'm also realizing my old explorer isn't going to make it another storm season. Therefore my list is:

1)Find a new vehicle before I go to TESSA

2)Get new radios

3)New Antennas for said radios

4)Get some sort of an idea of where I want to go with the film.

5)Read papers and research over this sort of thing and get the mind ready to forecast and nowcast again.

6)Wait patiently and get things done around the house and get through at least mid march with perfect attendance in my classes, haha.
 
Skywarn class, the Denver conference and TESSA as far as classes go, get the car maintenence done (probably need new tires this year), start collecting still film and tapes for the vid camera, get a few back up batteries for the vid camera (or invest in a power inverter). Then sit back and wait for things to start while plotting what diseases I can contract when I need to call in to work...no more watching tornadoes out the %^&#$$@ window at work:mad:
 
Since I've actually got some money this winter, I'll be purchasing a laptop mount for my pickup, a video camera mount (if I can find one...anyone know where?), a new car adapter for my laptop (my current one crapped out during one of the winter storms this year), and perhaps a new power inverter. I'll be at NSWW again this year, and other things as they come up.
 
Since I've actually got some money this winter, I'll be purchasing a laptop mount for my pickup, a video camera mount (if I can find one...anyone know where?), a new car adapter for my laptop (my current one crapped out during one of the winter storms this year), and perhaps a new power inverter. I'll be at NSWW again this year, and other things as they come up.

Here is a cool dash cam mount. It uses suction cups that will not come off without being taken off.
http://www.stickypod.com/osc/product_info.php?products_id=32&osCsid=4924e3e15b117a06b269c1699edaf9cc
 
Given we can only come over from England for 2 weeks in May I spend the early season forecasting and "virtual chasing" to make sure I'm in US forecasting mode, rather than UK forecasting mode (although in reality forecasting is usually fairly similar wherever you are!).
 
For me I have to re tune my forecasting skills! – I have to CONVERT from looking at storms over Europe (along with the poor data models sets that we have) over the USA where there is just so much more data available. I seem to fair better on real marginal days – I guess that this is bread and butter forecasting for the UK and Europe.
In order to get up to speed I do a fair amount of virtual chasing during April (ready for May). I pick a target, based on the data that is available to me and see how the day pans out – I am also looking at the DAY2 target as well….
I also agree with Tim regarding technology advances as I too like to be aware of what is out there…. But some seasons ago I suffered “death by technology†and so I travel and chase as light as I possibly can – less to go wrong and more focus on the day instead of fixing technology.
 
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