The use of weather stations in a storm chasing environment can be a challenging but necessary one. Many stations have been used in a mobile environment but with usually less than desirable results. Problems such as mounting the unit, the location in proximity to the roof of the vehicle and the usual hazards of the road play a part in how well the station will work in this environment. The Vantage Vue/Vantage Pro 2 have been seen mounted in mountain top environments which are subjected to extreme conditions all winter long.
There are several weather station options out there but clearly one stands out among the rest. This is where the Davis line of weather stations comes in. These stations are rugged built and can stand the rigors of being mounted in a mobile environment such as a storm chasing vehicle. Here is a look of the Davis Vantage view mounted on my vehicle.
The Vantage Vue works very will in a mobile environment. It can be easily mounted in a number of configurations and since the unit it wireless, this make it a very easy install in the vehicle. I mounted the unit using a fabricated mount using a tri-magnet mount setup. This worked very well with the cross winds that one experiences with the inflow and outflow of the storms.
The unit proved vital multiple times this past spring and summer. Using the Vantage Vue in close proximity to the storm environment was very useful. This was proven by being able to know where the warm front was in location to the storm itself. As a storm chaser, low level helicities are necessary for tornado genesis. These helicities are found on or near the warm front. We were able to tell exactly when we were on the “warm” or “cool” side of the warm front. Generally if you find yourself north of the warm front, your chances of seeing a tornado generally decrease. The Vantage Vue helped us to fine tune are location in relation to the warm front.
Being able to tell wind speed and direction as the storm is developing was very helpful as well. We were able to provide “ground truth” to the National Weather Services offices by providing this information to them. This allowed them to be able to know if the storm was intensifying or decreasing in intensity based on the with speed and direction in relation to our location with the storm. The Vantage Pro 2 was also used as seen below. This unit was deployed was we were in close proximity of the storm for data collection. This unit can easily be adjusted so that the anemometer is at the proper height for wind speed collection also.
The stations held up very well to the rigors of being mounted on the vehicle and day after day of being on the road. This attests to the build quality of the station and its ability to hold up to the elements for years to come. I would highly recommend the Davis Vantage Vue and Vantage Pro 2 line of products.