Questions Arise About Dorothy

Dorothy Iowa Storm Chasing Network Armored Chase Vehicle

Over the past few days, we have been reading a lot of questions and comments about Dorothy. Today our own Zach Sharpe had a nice chat with the Tornado Titans about Dorothy and here are the questions they asked us with his responses.


ISCN Zach: well there will be no intercepts. Mainly for great hail core punches and staying at decent distance from the tornado.

TORNADO TITANS: Define decent 🙂 Unless you know what you are doing and have a good reason for doing it, kinda risking it all for nothing.

ISCN ZACH: Main goal is to keep us safe. We do want to get a couple hundred yards near a tornado.

TORNADO TITANS: Just raising questions I know people are wanting answers to. I hope you guys are safe and get amazing shots obviously. 🙂

ISCN ZACH: We like the questions as they do shine serious light onto this topic. We hope to talk more about it to answer these questions

TORADO TITANS: I think most are skeptical because A)No one had heard about you guys B)Existing tanks are designed to go inside tors. So thanks for answering questions of course. My main concern for you guys is safety. Vehicle does look cool FWIW 🙂

ISCN ZACH: Well Dorothy is designed to go in tors, just not our goal. We have talked to Sean before designing it and he told us ideas.

TORNADO TITANS: That’s a good call. My main concerns for you guys are 1)Mobility (4wd or not) 2)Durability of the vehicle through a season.

ISCN ZACH: Our concerns too. Both reasons why it will not travel far and starting off slow, keeping distance then gradual working closer

TORANDO TITANS: Thanks for setting that straight. I think, so long as you guys do just that people will be wrong to be nervous about this. Only good piece of advice I can give is use common sense. Always assume you aren’t in control so hubris never sinks in. 🙂 Thanks for approaching and engaging. Shows you guys are on the right track at least. Wishing you safe travels in 2014!!!

We hope to continue to clear up the goals of Dorothy as there have been a lot of question pertaining to her. We can not stress enough that we do not plan to intercept tornadoes. We understand that tornadoes are very powerful and are not something to mess with. We will have many safety plans in effect so we can all go home at the end of the day.

Zach Sharpe

My name is Zach Sharpe. I am the president and forecaster for the Iowa Storm Chasing Network. You can find me on Twitter @Stormchaserzach and on Facebook at:

(4) Comments

  1. Hi, my name is Lisa. I think this is an amazing idea. What are your ideas on how you would anchor Dorothy, when you get into the position you want. What is the possibility of Dorothy being picked up from underneath by the wind?
    Lisa Lawshe
    [email protected]

    • Zach Sharpe

      Hi Lisa, the flaps on Dorothy lower to the ground and push the car up, so some of the weight of the car is push down on the flaps. Once in this position, Dorothy makes a solid seal to the ground and stays in place. Dorothy will stay to the ground and will not be picked up by the wind. The car weighs 10,000 pounds and is a solid brick.

  2. Zach, it appears that you have realistic expectations of what you want to do which I appreciate.
    My first question is, are you planning on collecting data for research and is there a way for you to use this experience as a teaching tool?
    Secondly, are you considering working with other people or research teams that are more experienced to advise you?
    My biggest concern(not necessarily with you) is there are far too many people out there clogging roads, etc. that are merely thrill seekers. It puts many people in harms way unnecessarily and can make it much more difficult for local residents to get out of the way if they need to. The worst are the so-called “tornado-tour” groups, I think those people are despicable!

    • Zach Sharpe

      We have been talking to different people about how they could use Dorothy to benefit their research. Right now the only type of “research” we will be conducting is getting that slow motion video in a very high definition. At this current time, we are not working with anyone else, but if there was a research group that could use our assistance, we would be more than happy to help. I also agree with your last point. There has been in increase in chasers since the movie twister came out. This slows down the professional chaser that helps sends in reports. Our group has ran into this time after time. It is getting pretty crazy out there, and people need to understand that storm chasing is a very dangerous thing, and it is not meant for the inexperienced.

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