PDA

View Full Version : Need help getting started



Alex Young
05-02-2010, 07:06 AM
Hello all my name is Alex, I was a former meteorology major before I changed it to Criminology. I know the basics of weather from the classes. I need help I would still like to storm chase as a hobby and I currently do sometimes but I need help. How and what things should I use currently i just use radar and if something is tornado warned I go out. I know theres a better way to do this can someone tell me what I should be doing so I'm prepared? Also how once I learn how to forecast or learn when to chase How do I get in contact with other chasers in my area to maybe form a group or carpool to chase since I am normally by myself.

BBauer
05-02-2010, 08:57 AM
Hello all my name is Alex, I was a former meteorology major before I changed it to Criminology. I know the basics of weather from the classes. I need help I would still like to storm chase as a hobby and I currently do sometimes but I need help. How and what things should I use currently i just use radar and if something is tornado warned I go out. I know theres a better way to do this can someone tell me what I should be doing so I'm prepared? Also how once I learn how to forecast or learn when to chase How do I get in contact with other chasers in my area to maybe form a group or carpool to chase since I am normally by myself.

I am definitely a newbie and I am just getting into severe weather/chasing (I have yet to chase out in the field but have done several "armchair chases"). I'll just give you advice on what I plan to do/or have done and maybe it can help a little. First, I would purchase quality radar software (most on here recommend GRlevel 3). I tried out Storm Lab 4.0 and didn't like it at all, GRlevel 3 seemed much more intuitive and easier to use. Then while at home monitor some storms and get used to all the features (like looking at the base velocity and the storm relative velocity, etc) and learn about interpreting radar. GRlevel3 offers a free 21 day trial and costs $80 to purchase after that. The program lets you add GPS so while out in the field you can know where you are in relation to the storm (your position will be plotted on the radar screen). I plan on getting the Globalsat GPS puck which you plug into your laptop via the USB port. Oh yeah, if you want real time data you probably are going to need a laptop with a data feed (wireless broadband from Verizon, AT&T, etc). Or you can get an iPhone with the radarscope program, and there are other options too. Anyway, most common seems to be a laptop with a data feed. Then in order to navigate to and away from storms you will want street mapping software, or if you like reading maps and can put up with that then thats fine too. I think I'm going to get Microsoft Streets and Trips. Then in order for your GPS to be utilized by both GRlevel 3 and Streets and Trips you will need a program like GPSgate or equivalent. I think that takes care of most of your equipment needs. If you have a laptop then the above mentioned software and equipment will run you about $200 (minus the cost of the broadband), not too bad.

I think the biggest part is educating yourself about severe weather (I still have a long way to go) and you can start online here...
http://www.chasereducationlinks.blogspot.com/

As far as finding someone to carpool with, etc. then there is a chase partner thread under the Stormtrack announcement page. You might be able to find someone that lives near you that is willing to go out with you and split gas and maybe even show you the ropes.

Learn what can go wrong out in the field so you can respond appropriately and get yourself out of danger. For example, your data feed might go down and leave you looking at old radar data so make sure you keep track of the time of your radar images. Ideally, you could go out with someone who really knows what they are doing and they could teach you to read the sky and let you know what you are seeing. The best I can do now is watch a lot of severe weather videos and look at photos. If I had the time and means I would definitely spent time with a veteran chaser, but my time is tight so I most likely I will be getting my feet wet out in the field by myself. I am going to be taking a very conservative approach leaving plenty of room between myself and the more dangerous areas of the storm.

One last piece of advice. Use the search function on this site...you can learn a ton by reading old posts and you can find topics that you are researching. Also, keep track of current and recent severe weather events and follow them on radar and read what people on the forum are saying about them in the post-storm discussion page and the forecast/nowcast page. Ok I lied, one more piece of advice, the number one priority is staying safe so do all you can to that end and that includes driving safe and watching out for hazards such as flooding and washed out roads. These are just my opinions, and I am sure people can add to or correct me if needs be

Richard Dickson
05-02-2010, 10:59 AM
BBauer,

Congratulations! You did a very nice job of providing an overview of the process that Alex and I'm sure others are looking for. I also thought it was great that you told about using the 'search' function here on Stormtrack that will give insight to a lot of the questions from folks that are just beginning and want to add to their knowledge.

Another place to add to your knowledge is the "List of learning resources" at the very top of the Education Forum.

Alex Young
05-12-2010, 02:46 AM
I am definitely a newbie and I am just getting into severe weather/chasing (I have yet to chase out in the field but have done several "armchair chases"). I'll just give you advice on what I plan to do/or have done and maybe it can help a little. First, I would purchase quality radar software (most on here recommend GRlevel 3). I tried out Storm Lab 4.0 and didn't like it at all, GRlevel 3 seemed much more intuitive and easier to use. Then while at home monitor some storms and get used to all the features (like looking at the base velocity and the storm relative velocity, etc) and learn about interpreting radar. GRlevel3 offers a free 21 day trial and costs $80 to purchase after that. The program lets you add GPS so while out in the field you can know where you are in relation to the storm (your position will be plotted on the radar screen). I plan on getting the Globalsat GPS puck which you plug into your laptop via the USB port. Oh yeah, if you want real time data you probably are going to need a laptop with a data feed (wireless broadband from Verizon, AT&T, etc). Or you can get an iPhone with the radarscope program, and there are other options too. Anyway, most common seems to be a laptop with a data feed. Then in order to navigate to and away from storms you will want street mapping software, or if you like reading maps and can put up with that then thats fine too. I think I'm going to get Microsoft Streets and Trips. Then in order for your GPS to be utilized by both GRlevel 3 and Streets and Trips you will need a program like GPSgate or equivalent. I think that takes care of most of your equipment needs. If you have a laptop then the above mentioned software and equipment will run you about $200 (minus the cost of the broadband), not too bad.

I think the biggest part is educating yourself about severe weather (I still have a long way to go) and you can start online here...
http://www.chasereducationlinks.blogspot.com/

As far as finding someone to carpool with, etc. then there is a chase partner thread under the Stormtrack announcement page. You might be able to find someone that lives near you that is willing to go out with you and split gas and maybe even show you the ropes.

Learn what can go wrong out in the field so you can respond appropriately and get yourself out of danger. For example, your data feed might go down and leave you looking at old radar data so make sure you keep track of the time of your radar images. Ideally, you could go out with someone who really knows what they are doing and they could teach you to read the sky and let you know what you are seeing. The best I can do now is watch a lot of severe weather videos and look at photos. If I had the time and means I would definitely spent time with a veteran chaser, but my time is tight so I most likely I will be getting my feet wet out in the field by myself. I am going to be taking a very conservative approach leaving plenty of room between myself and the more dangerous areas of the storm.

One last piece of advice. Use the search function on this site...you can learn a ton by reading old posts and you can find topics that you are researching. Also, keep track of current and recent severe weather events and follow them on radar and read what people on the forum are saying about them in the post-storm discussion page and the forecast/nowcast page. Ok I lied, one more piece of advice, the number one priority is staying safe so do all you can to that end and that includes driving safe and watching out for hazards such as flooding and washed out roads. These are just my opinions, and I am sure people can add to or correct me if needs be

THanks alot Can GR level 3 work without internet though? i thought some give you like a stick on radar dish to your car. I was interested in Baron Radar for one. Or do i need a wireless feed? Does GR level 3 need an internet connection to work? Ive actually used the website most of that stuff I know about What I don't know is the details like What is CApe? What is caps? etc etc

fplowman
05-12-2010, 05:33 AM
Alex,

You will need internet connectivity to get the data for Grlevel. Do you know of another way? If so we should talk and patent the idea. :)

Baron data is a satellite feed, like XMradio works except it is weather data.

Hope that helps.

Fred