'Tornado Junkies' try to build twister-proof van

Part of a Kickstarter project, this Ford commercial van looks more like a tank, but can it stand up to 200 mph winds?

They call it Dorothy: The Tornado Junkies' Intercept Vehicle will have hydraulic flaps to keep it on the ground. Tornado Junkies

What would happen if you could take "The A-Team" and "Storm Chasers" and put them together in a blender? You'd get something like Tornado Junkies.

As their name suggests, this trio of young men are crazy about tornadoes. So crazy they think they can build a tornado-proof van.

Yes, this $5,000 Kickstarter project wants your money to build an armor-plated Ford to carry these Des Moines dudes down Tornado Alley chasing twisters.

They want to get as close as possible to the devastating power of tornadoes. Indeed, they want to park in a tornado. But it's not for fun.

They're doing us all a public service: "When we chase, we report weather conditions through storm spotter systems, the National Weather Service, and social media, which aids in the storm warning process," they write on their campaign page.

"When we see a tornado, our very first action is reporting it, so that a tornado warning can be issued. We want to keep you and the ones you love safe. This is why we chase. We chase for you."

Along the way, they'll be grabbing tons of high-def video of supercells and compiling it into a Web series so you, too, can get high on the adrenaline.

The trio--two photographers and a student meteorologist--removed the Ford's body and welded 14-gauge steel sheets to the frame, as seen in the vid below.

They're also adding 3/4-inch polycarbonate windows and hope hydraulically lowered plating will prevent high winds from picking up the van.

I would really not want to test that myself, but these guys are gunning for danger. Do you want to encourage them with a pledge?


 

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