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Storm Tracker 7 vehicle at Dayton Auto Show

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 9:49 AM
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2019 @ 2:58 PM

WHIO TV’s Storm Center 7 is adding to its arsenal with a new, high-tech weather vehicle: Storm Tracker 7. Kirstie shows you what it can do!

People who attend the 2019 Dayton Auto Show at the Dayton Convention Center are in for a treat – they can take a look at WHIO-TV’s Storm Tracker 7 vehicle to see the latest mobile technology in delivering critical weather information.

“WHIO-TV’s No. 1 responsibility is to keep the citizens of the Miami Valley informed about dangerous weather conditions that could impact their family’s safety,” said WHIO-TV News Director Caryn Golden. “WHIO-TV is committed to investing in the tools and knowledge needed to be able to accurately forecast and deliver that critical weather information to its viewers. This vehicle is a symbol of our continued commitment to complete coverage of weather 24-7 across the Miami Valley.

“That’s why we have our own Doppler 7 radar right here in the Dayton area. It enables our team of meteorologists to receive important weather data faster than waiting for National Weather Service radar data. Those minutes can mean lives,” she said.

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The same thinking is behind the Storm Tracker 7 vehicle, Golden continued.

“It was a big investment for us but an important one in being able to send our meteorologists into the field for ground truth data, real-time conditions and the ability to show those conditions from a variety of vantage points, thanks to the multiple cameras installed in the Storm Tracker 7 vehicle.”

The meteorologists have access to live radar, mobile weather station information and model data in the vehicle. They can accurately create forecasts and deliver them live from anywhere if needed from the Storm Tracker 7 vehicle. The vehicle can deliver a live signal via Live U, which uses cell technology or a satellite dish.

“It’s a mobile weather and science lab, but honestly, it’s also just a really cool vehicle!” Golden enthused. “It hosts a landing pad for our fleet of Sky7 drones, which we take out to give a bird’s-eye view of the impact of storms or tornado damage in the region. It’s also equipped with a large display monitor to be able to share weather information.”

WHIO-TV meteorologists, including certified broadcast Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs, are appearing at the show so viewers can meet them.

On Feb. 23, the schedule is: 

• 10 a.m. to noon, Meteorologist Dontae Jones

• 1 to 3 p.m., Meteorologist Jesse Maag

• 4 to 6 p.m., Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

On Feb. 24:

• 10 a.m. to noon, Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini

• 1 to 3 p.m., Meteorologist Molly Coates