Here’s something interesting: Some local news TV stations, peppered throughout the country, have crazy weather vehicles. And I don’t mean they have vans with a nice big Doppler radar screen in it. I mean they have crazy, modified, lifted, go-anywhere weather vehicles.
The vehicles you see above are weather trucks for four different local news stations — two in Denver, one in Dallas and one in Southern California, which seems a bit odd because it probably primarily reports sunshine. The Denver and Dallas vehicles are lifted trucks with lots of weather gadgetry on the roof, designed to track and chase storms and go anywhere. The Los Angeles truck, a heavy-duty Ram, is especially crazy: It’s not lifted for off-roading, but it has a giant satellite on the roof and a radar unit in back, and it looks like it’s ready for the apocalypse.
Of course, you might be wondering why this goes on. Well, two reasons. One, in places that get extreme weather — and Texas and Colorado surely qualify — the weather crews for local news stations like to be able to get to every possible weather event in order to report on it, whether it’s snow or hurricanes or tornadoes or whatever. So they need pretty serious vehicles to make it into some of these storms.
The other reason is more obvious: It’s great marketing. Park a lifted Suburban (with radar equipment on the roof) anywhere in public, and a crowd gathers. It’s a great marketing plan for the local news station, and it brings awareness to the fact that they’re willing to do anything to get a story — even trudge through the mud in a huge lifted Suburban to make it to some tornado-affected community.
And so, the weather trucks have developed. The images you see above are just a small sampling of some of the crazy weather trucks that exist at local news stations nationwide, but they give you an idea of this unusual phenomenon. I’m more curious what happens when the news station is done with the truck — does it wind up on Autotrader, listed as a “used Suburban with radar equipment”?