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STORM CHASE 2002

May 31: There's always room for one more gadget

By Chris Kridler
Florida Today

 George Kourounis

George Kourounis of Ontario has added a lot of lights and antennas to his car. © 2002 Chris Kridler, FLORIDA TODAY.

NORMAN, Oklahoma - I've met up with Ontario storm chaser George Kourounis again. I wrote about him last spring because his Honda CR-V has been turned into the ultimate storm-chasing vehicle.

At least, I thought it was the ultimate - until I saw it this year.

In addition to the pop-up screen with Global Positioning System and video displays, weather computer, and the console of radios and video jacks and other gizmos inside, he's added lights. Lots of lights.

His car now looks like an escapee of the Vegas strip. The lights on top - I've seen them at night - are bright enough to illuminate a baseball game. And they actually came in handy a couple of weeks ago when he happened upon an accident just after it happened and lit up the scene until the police could get there.

There's a protective grid over the lights, in case he gets into big hail. But he still hasn't seen as much hail as Scott Blair this season.

Blair, an Arkansas chaser I mentioned in a previous journal, got into some spiky, baseball-size hail earlier this week and further smashed his windshield. Here's another picture to prove it.

 Scott Blair

Arkansas chaser Scott Blair has added even more cracks to his windshield, thanks to another encounter with hail. © 2002 Chris Kridler, FLORIDA TODAY.