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Some TV Stations Have Insane Weather Trucks

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”?

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  1. News stations have insane trucks because the quest for big ratings have no bounds. Why does the news need to get to every weather event? “Hurricane in South Carolina.” Great, I’ve been told and I know to stay clear of the area. I don’t need to see Jim the Meteorologist’s wig get blown off to know that 100mph winds are dangerous. The worst are that now when we get snow storms the news trucks drive around aimlessly with the weather person showing us what we can see if we looked out our front window. If the roads are so bad then why are you driving on them for absolutely no reason other than to make it more difficult for those that do.

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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