Pushing Boundaries

Doppler On Wheels


A while back we looked at Doppler RADAR and its importance to weather prediction. What about when you need the miracle of Christian Doppler’s discovery in a storm that may or may not cross a fixed Doppler RADAR installation? Enter Center for Severe Weather Research’s Doppler on Wheels (DOW) trucks.

Two of the trucks are fitted with the more common Doppler RADAR equipment found all over the country. One other is fitted with a rapid scan Doppler system. Other vehicles are used for support. Since the first trucks deployed, over 141 storms have been studied by the DOW teams. Information from getting Doppler RADAR right close to the storm, or sometimes in the middle of the storm, has improved scientific knowledge of tornadoes and hurricanes. Direct measurement of tornadoes is problematic because of their erratic nature, but the crazy stormchasers driving the DOW trucks have managed to directly measure conditions in and around several tornadoes.

It’s amazing to me that with all our fancy technology we still have very little understanding of what causes a tornado to form. It’s proof that nature is much more powerful than us, but hopefully with things like the DOW we can learn more about these storms, what makes them work, and hopefully give people more than 10 minutes notice.

[Image Source: Public Domain]

  • skitter

    Way too cool
    Deserves more comments
    Mind is blank

  • krazykarguy

    Last night was a NOVA re-run on PBS, and they re-aired the piece on Super Twisters. Obviously, these DOW support vehicles have provided huge amounts of data and advancements for the science of tornado prediction and early-warning.

    However, as the events of the last week in Moore, Oklahoma have proven again, we still have a long way to go. I can't believe that this dense population center has been hit FIVE times by large tornadoes in the last 15 years. The odds of this happening are staggering, as though the town has some sort of Dr. Evil Tornado magnet buried under the soil.

    • Vairship

      And yet it's still not mandatory to have storm shelters in large public buildings. Crazy!