Great technology can’t make a self-professed storm chaser any more successful than a great drum set can make a Holiday Inn Express customer with zero playing experience a Buddy Rich clone. It isn’t the technology per se that makes a storm chasing tour successful, but rather the operators who use the technology; good gear in the hands of a smart storm chaser is an unbeatable combination. We employ state-of-the-art technology to ensure that we have access to the latest weather data as often as possible. Our typical setup involves two or three vans. Each van has the ability to chase without relying on gear from the other vans, and it also means that all participants in one van can clearly hear what is being said in the other through our commercial radio system. We employ all standard technology, including computerized GPS navigation, wireless cellular data cards using boosters for better reception, numerous specialized weather analysis software packages, and continuous almost real-time radar data provided by a Baron Threatnet weather receiver. All vans also have power outlets at each bench seat to allow customers to power up their camera batteries, cell phones or whatever else they may want.
Field equipment is only half the story. Without a good forecast, you won’t even be in the right ballpark. That’s why we at Silver Lining Tours take our forecasting seriously. Back at SLT headquarters, we have a state-of-the-art computer running Linux and the latest in weather analysis and display software. This system is always running, ingesting and displaying the latest data right from the source, ensuring that we always have access to the information needed to make forecasts. When it comes to nowcasting – the practice of extrapolating the position and intensity of storms – into the very near future, we are ahead of the game, using high-resolution radar and satellite data to pinpoint developments sooner than the competition. In the field, the crucial morning forecasts are prepared on our laptops in hotels with high-speed internet access. We always have access to data even during periods of time when many popular weather sites are dysfunctional by outputting our very own weather graphics (generated on our workstation) to a private site that only we can access. We’re very well-equipped and we know how to make the most of the gear to maximize our success.
Our vans are highly customized 15 passenger vans that are designed for your comfort. We own our vehicles which allow us to custom equip them for your convenience and safety. On the technology side, each van has a laptop with mobile broadband card, booster and antenna; as well as commercial radios for van to van communications. The lead van has a Baron Mobile Threat Net system which allows for weather data anywhere in the country! The vans also have a weather station which provides current surface observations. Each bench seat has a two outlet power inverter for our guests use. The back seat has been taken out to allow for ample luggage space. You will ALWAYS be guaranteed a window seat on every tour! Add to that we are one of the few storm chasing tour operations that maintain proper COMMERCIAL insurance for your peace of mind, and are certified compliant with USDOT regulations and requirements.