Week in Review

Iowa Storm Chasers Weather Outreach

Man has this been one crazy busy week for us here at the Iowa Storm Chasing Network, but it has been a very rewarding one. We started this week off by announcing our new chase vehicle Dorothy on Sunday. There were a lot of positive comments, but like anything, there were a few negative ones.

There were some comments that Dorothy would be used for tornado intercepts and that we are a death wish waiting to happen. This is not the case. Our goal with Dorothy is to get closer to the storm while staying safe. Dorothy will NOT be used to intercept tornadoes. We will be shooting slow motion video of the tornado at a closer range, with the intention that our video will be used by structural engineers to see what goes first in a tornado, so structures can be built to withstand tornadoes. The main purpose of Dorothy is to keep us safe from any unexpected surprises.

After the announcement of Dorothy on Sunday, she finally got her first appearance on Monday at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Des Moines. This was her first time on the road after taking a year and a half to build.

Guthrie Center Iowa Dorothy Armor Chase Vehicle Visit

On Tuesday we started our school tour as our team then headed to Guthrie Center and Emmetsburg. It was great to get out and present to the students about severe weather safety and what we do as storm chasers. On Wednesday our team then headed to South Page before finally finishing up in Jackson Junction on Thursday. It was very rewarding to meet many students and answer their weather related questions. The most memorable part of this stretch was when our team was asked to sit with a group of K-5th grade students to take a picture for the town newspaper. While sitting in the stand of students, a 1st grader whispered “I get to sit next to the storm chaser.” One of his friends then feeling a bit left out then tapped us on the shoulder and asked for a high five. Another fun moment was when our team finished presenting to South Page, a group of 5th graders came up to our team and asked for our autograph.

Lowes West Des Moines Iowa Dorothy Visit

Many of our presentations were closed to the public as they were located in schools, so we decided to bring our vehicles out and open them up to the public. Saturday we were found in West Des Moines at the Jordan Creek Lowes. It was great to let people take pictures and answer any questions they had. One of the best visitors we had today was a little girl that was no older than 6. She was so excited that she was bashful at first. Her parents told us that she loved the weather and loved the storm chasers show. It was so great to see a girl, especially so young, excited about the weather. It was also great to see our followers come out and see us. We had a couple people tell us they drove an hour to come and see Dorothy. Then people that could not make it, as they were in different parts of the state, ask us if we could make it to the other parts of the state. We have a few places already scheduled but we will look into getting a few more booked after the interest we saw today.

Lowes West Des Moines Iowa Dorothy Visit

We have had a lot of fun meeting a lot of our followers over the past week, and even making new followers. Now if only we could get some warmer weather and some thunderstorms as we will be set. We can’t thank our followers enough for supporting us over the past couple years and we are looking forward to many more to come.

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: https://www.facebook.com/stormchaserzach/

One Comment

  1. Every time I look at pictures of Dorothy and the entire team, I cannot help but to be extremely proud of you guys. Keep up the phenomenal work! I can’t wait to see what other journey’s you have in store for us in the future. The proudest moment for me, was listening to all the cheers during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade when the public got to witness Dorothy in person. She is absolutely stunning! You guys have worked extremely hard on this project, as you do all your projects, just know you are appreciated no matter how many negative comments you may receive, you have a lot more people who believe in you, and those people are the one’s who truly matter. Stay strong! And as always, never stop chasing!

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