SEMA 2008: Inside Discovery Channel's Ram-Based Tornado Chaser


The tank-like Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 that stars in the Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers" started life as a 2008 Dodge Ram 3500 dual-rear-wheel 4x4 pickup. Our friends at Jalopnik have the inside scoop on how the TIV2's dramatic transformation into a tornado-chaser was accomplished.

The TIV2's pickup body was replaced with a new steel-frame safety structure, covered in 1/8-inch-thick welded steel plates. The sides are fitted with hydraulic skirts that can be lowered on demand to direct high-speed tornado winds safely around the truck. Power to the truck's three driven axles comes from a 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel, outfitted with propane and water injection. The two rear axles are Dana 80s needed to support the TIV2's 17,500-pound curb weight.

For more on the making of the TIV2, jump over to Jalopnik.



A multiple-vortex tornado is a type of tornado in which two or more columns of spinning air rotate around a common center. Multivortex structure can occur in almost any circulation, but is very often observed in intense tornadoes. These vortices often create small areas of heavier damage along the main tornado path.

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