Enter the “Take a Ride on the Wild Side!” Sweepstakes

Houston is no stranger to severe weather.

Thunderstorm in Northern Oklahoma

Within the past few months we’ve experienced both a drought and flooding.  Hurricanes and ice storms have shut the city down for days. Most residents have a story about witnessing extreme weather conditions, from hurricanes to tornadoes, but never quite like this…

Tornado Alley 3D opens March 9 in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre!

Ride along with filmmaker Sean Casey of the Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers series and researchers of VORTEX 2 as they bravely capture dramatic and destructive tornado footage in this fascinating film.

Casey uses a fleet of customized vehicles that can withstand the most threatening weather  – allowing them to go right to the heart of a tornado and even document the birth of a tornado with a 70mm camera.

Tornado Intercept Vehicle

On March 12, you can meet Casey and his Tornado Intercept Vehicle!

From 9:30 – 11 am, the TIV will be parked at the front entrance of the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Casey will be available to meet visitors.  While you’re here, check out Tornado Alley 3D  – showing at 11:40 am, 12:30, 3, and 3:50 pm – Casey will  introduce each film.

Want To Ride in the TIV?

Enter to win a ride with Casey in the Tornado Intercept Vehicle at approximately 4 pm on March 12!

To enter, tell us about your strangest weather experience, your favorite episode of Storm Chasers, or your thoughts on Houston’s weather – just leave a comment on this post between February 23 and March 8!

The winner will be selected randomly and contacted on March 9, 2012.  For official contest rules, please click here.

The winner will be contacted by email – so don’t forget to leave that information in the comment entry field – don’t worry, your email will be kept confidential.

80 thoughts on “Enter the “Take a Ride on the Wild Side!” Sweepstakes

  1. The strangest weather I ever saw was a funnel cloud in Houston over a bayou off Braeswood. I was in the car with my mother and sister and we were terrified to see a dark, ominous rotating cloud that did not drop but caused everyone on the road to stop in fear.

    I am a huge fan of storm chasers, I have so many favorite episodes. One of my favorite episodes is when the TIV went into its first storm and elevated storm chasing to a new level! Also, one of the most memorable shows were the one when the storms hit last year and seeing the storm chasers become first responders. I got chills watching that episode.

  2. I was at school one day and I heard a siren and it was a tornado watch we stayed in duck and cover for about one hour and thirty minutes. Then the lights went out.We read for a hour.Then our emergency light went out.We drew in the hallway for 5 hours. Then the light came back on. We went home. I remember stories of funnel clouds appearing. What I remember most is when our trampoline flipped into our neighbors backyard.

  3. We love Storm Chasers. We were introducued to the show from a DVD included in a Christmas gift that my 6 year old son received. The gift was a Discovery Kids Extreme Weather Tornado Lab and it had the first episode of Storm Chasers included. My son especially loves the show and is watching all the episodes. Storms Chasers has sparked his interest in weather and everyday he looks at the radar on the Weather Channel app searching for super cells and we bought a rain gauge that he checks daily. He is planning on building a replica of the TIV and is currently collecting materials. My son really loves all the episodes, we can’t pick a favorite. He would love a chance to ride in the TIV.
    We recently moved to Houston, just in time to see the river and lake full of water and then watch it all dry out from the drought and then return to full levels with the returning rains. Seeing how much damage this past drought caused and how much time it took to do that all that damage made me realize that severe weather comes in all forms.

  4. During Alicia, everyone stayed home to wait it out. I was having breakfast and was looking out the window as the pines in the backyard bent back and forth, like they were dancing. The wind was blowing strongly but the sky was pretty clear. Then one pine didn’t bend back but snapped and fell acoss the yard and towards the house and then another tree snapped. I waited for the crash, shouting at my husband to move out of the bedroom. Later, when we went outside we saw the trees had fallen at an angle and laid acoss the backyard and down the side of the house. We walked around our neighborhood looking at the damage, dodging fallen trees that were blocking the road and all the near misses. Neighbors were already out with their chainsaws clearing the streets of fallen trees.

  5. Grew up in the northern Texas panhandle and used to watch the twisters dance across the plains. I was up at a high school reunion and pulled in to get gas. There were 4 different storm chaser teams at the station filling up. Not a good sign for weather that day – it turned out pretty rough but no twisters.

  6. Wildest encounter had to be when the Hurrican came to Houston and all the craziness that followed!! It was an adventure at home, in the car to San Antonio and when we got back and helped everyone clean up!

  7. I love watching storm chasers!

    One of my wildest memories involve a trip down I-35 near Denton. My dad was driving our 15 passenger van full of kids on the way home from a long trip. The weather was rough with lots of ran and wind. We were all tire and hot as the air conditioner was not working. When all of a sudden lighting hit right between our van and the car in front of us. My dad swerved the cars all around us stopped and we stared at the burnt mark on the pavement…my ears rang and we all sat silently for quite a while. Wow! What beauty and power!

    My other memory was being left to take care of my younger brothers and sisters while my parents went on a trip. Hurricane Ike came while they were gone…we got out before the storm but the power of the storm and the realization of needing to protect the children was amazing. I watched in amazement at the storm hit the Houston area.

  8. I have to say that Houston seems to have some very unusual weather. One day its cold and rainy and the next its VERY VERY Hot and sunny! These last few yeats its been more unconsistant , when we are suppose to be in our hurricane season we have a drout and when we expect it to be dry it rains for days!But I love my home town!

  9. Strangest weather I’ve experienced was in Austin, TX, many years ago. I lived in a very small house in Tarrytown. One evening we were expecting thunderstorms and the wind was rising rapidly. I remember hearing what sounded like a train and thinking how strange because there were no railroad tracks in the vicinity. It got pretty loud but nothing really happened. The next day I drove about a block deeper into my neighborhood and turned onto a neighborhood cross street and saw what looked like a tornado’s path of destruction…trees uprooted, debris lying in the street and yards. Though a tornado was never mentioned on the news, I had a really creepy feeling that a “small” one had passed through about the time I heard the “freight train”. It was only the next day that I realized I had quite possibly dodged a bullet. From then on, I pay attention to noises and sounds that are out of place!

  10. My scariest time was in Illinois probably 10-15 years ago. I was driving about 40mph down a road and it was raining hard and wind was blowing hard. All of the sudden I felt like the car was floating off the ground. I was still pushing the gas but going absolutely nowhere. It was not quite the same feeling as hydroplaning. It literally picked my car up a few inches and set it back down after about 10 seconds. The longest 10 seconds of my life.

  11. A friend recently suggested that Texas must be having menopause based on the changing weather. I remember comforting family as multiple storms hit our house. I also made the mistake of traveling during a storm and asking my wife over the phone “How far is the water from getting into the house?”

  12. I was on I10E in Louisiana heading to Florida 5 years ago and was in heavy traffic. We were at a complete stop in the middle of nowhere for over an hour when clouds started to roll in. The way the wind was blowing and the clouds moved was a little frightening. About 10 minutes later we knew why. To the right there was a large break in the trees and miles of power lines. We watched as the tornado touched down and started coming directly at us. A few people ran from there cars trying to find shelter but there was nothing around us. Most, including us, stayed put in our vehicles. Thankfully the tornado went back into the clouds before it made it to the interstate. Ever since that day I watch the clouds and the weather a little closer before I get in the car.

  13. My favorite episode was Under the Vortex because I like to watch Texas tornados. I love to get out in hurricanes,tornados any dramatic weather. In Texas the weather can change in an instant, go from calm to insane in a flash.

  14. Houston is the city for strange weather

    I came to Houston 10 years ago and I really enjoyed its almost tropical weather with lots of sunshine and rain. I just don’t like flash floods and afternoon rains especially during the hurricane season. I was barely here for a month when I first experience heavy afternoon storm that completely darkened the skies. I was terrified driving when all of a sudden I couldn’t see anything on the freeway. I pulled over and parked at a gasoline station until the storm has passed. I’m glad I did that and escaped the accidents and traffic mess that followed. I’m glad I have never been close to a tornado ever in my life and I hope I never will. I can only watch them through the Storm Chasers and that is scary enough for me!

  15. I remember back in late 1980s a line of severe weather approaching Houston. Back then I was a volunteer firefighter and we got a call about a tornado around 242 and i45 area. We responded towards area to assist if needed. We followed the storm and were lucky no major damage but at that time it was pretty neat following it.

  16. The strangest weather…In 1992 my family had just moved to Channelview, Texas. I was 13 years old when we moved there and excited that we moved into our new home. This particular evening was differnt..didnt know why but it was. I remember my stepfather said he was leaving to go somewhere. I had noticed that outside had looked differently. It was like a sudden color change in the sky and it had gotten dark. It had been cloudy and raining all day but this greenish gray-black was something out the ordinary. My stepfather came right back and said he had forgot something. I looked outside again, and as i looked the lights went off and noticed some of the trees outside seemed to be leaning. All of a sudden we all heard this loud roar and whistle as if a train or something was coming threw the neighborhood. When my stepfather noticed and heard it, he immedieatly said ‘its a tornado get to the bathroom”. Me, my mother, my 3 year old sister and my stepfather ran to the hallway bathroom near my bedroom. Soon as we closed the door….COMPLETE DESTRUCTION. We were bunkered down in the middle of the bathroom closed eyed, praying and scared. We are listening to all the noise and destrution going on around us. Like a monster is in our home knocking things around. This bathroom window breaks and shatters injuring me and my father. I had the deepest cut which i still have on my back to this day. A wound to remember. For those few seconds seemed like forever…when it stopped I looked up, it was raining in our house and we had no roof anymore. The house was destroyed but the bathroom we were bunkered in.

    Funniest episode…cant really say cause i love them all…i think one of my favorites is when Sean makes a rhyme about the RED SHOE…knowing Reed took the design from Sean.

  17. We were at the Houston Rodeo and the clouds were swirling and the clouds were gray and bellowing out of the sky. I told my parents that there was going to be a tornado and begged them to leave the carnival as the wind was blowing so strong. I was very very concerned and they had to hold me because I knew there was going to be a tornado. They eventually gave in and took me and my three siblings in to the coliseum. Then we made our way to our car and went home.

    Later that night Mom heard the news say that there were tornado warnings and realized that again, I was intoned with the barometric pressure and weather conditions. This has been evident because I am super-aware of the weather and started to study it three years ago, when I was 3 1/2 years old. I love The Weather Channel, Jim Cantore and all my friends and teachers know me as having a “thing for weather”. I go to weather camp every year at the weather center downtown and indulge in the information. Weather is awesome!

    7 years old and boy, would I love a ride in the TIV! I asked Grandma for a TIV last year and she really disappointed me when she could not produce one for my Birthday!

    (Written with Mom’s help)

  18. Strangest weather experience? Definitely Hurrican Ike in September 2008. I was pregnant at the time and on intravenous therapy. As the rain poured down and the wind howled, the roof on the house started to lose shingles. Thinking we might have to evacuate the house, I ripped out the IV and got ready to run! Luckily, the storm subsided and we didn’t have to leave. We were very fortunate and lucky compared to other Houstonians!

  19. Strangest Weather Experience. Just married, living in Caldwell Tx. I traveled to Austin for school 1-2 days/wk. One late afternoon driving back home I could see real bad weather in the distance. From Houston, living in College Station and for a bit in Caldwell, I became use to bad thunderstorms, hail, and the occasional mild tornado. This was way different. I saw colors in the sky, clouds, and even the edge of a storm system so big I never knew where possible. I could see a distinctive edge where one side was the storm and the other a clear blue sky. It was the devastating tornado that hit Jerrell in 1997. I could she the very edge of the storm as I drove around it. I knew I was safe, but at the same time I could also tell that storm was huge and powerful. I didn’t know the extent of that storm system until I got home and saw the news.

  20. My weirdest weather experience happened in Killeen, Texas. I spent a part of my childhood in a west Texas town called Colorado City where you could see tornadoes on the horizon fairly regularly during the summer months. They were usually so far away, there was no reason to worry, and when they were close, there was a shelter in the backyard. So, when there was a tornado warning in Killeen, it didn’t concern me that much. I was a teacher at an elementary school, and the school had been in tornado drill mode much of the day. My classroom was in a portable building on the parking lot, and I had left an incredible amount of work to do out there. All I could think about was the amount of time that would be wasted if I didn’t get the stuff inside the main building with me. I waited with the administrative staff at the door until they let me go. I raced out to my portable and grabbed my work. Then I ran to my car to get something out of my trunk. As I turned around my workmates were signaling frantically for me to come inside. I could see that they were saying something, but I couldn’t hear anything. I ran to the door and two of them forced it open for me and it pulled it closed. Breathlessly, they asked if I had seen it, but I had no idea what they were talking about. Apparently there had been a tornado in the pasture just beyond the parking lot. I had no clue. I’m kind of glad I didn’t.

  21. Weather experience –
    I commute to work on the East Sam Houston Tollway over the Houston Ship Channel. One day, I was coming home from work when threatening weather was approaching. The clouds were so low I literally felt I could reach out and touch them; very dark and ominous. There was an interesting formation almost directly over the Beltway. As I drove toward it, I could actually see the circulation right over my head! It was fascinating, and I wanted to watch! However, being in an unarmored vehicle, I had the good sense to drive on home.

    The movies are OK, but I like watching Storm Chasers because it shows real people and authentic work/research.

  22. My 5 1/2 year old is so fascinated with tornadoes and storms. Every time we go to the Library he has to get books about them. I know it would be a thrill of a lifetime if he could ride in the TIV. We are taking him to see Tornado Alley during spring break.

  23. Growing up in the Gulf Coast, we experienced many tornadoes coming through town. I was always terrified of them and would jump every time I would hear the train… One afternoon when I was in high school, I was sitting in the hallway reading a book, when I saw a tornado form and touch the ground in the back yard of our school. It was so new that the tornado warning sirens hadn’t been turned on by the city. Luckily, it went the opposite direction of our school and fizzled quickly. And… It didn’t really sound like a train, which made me feel more at ease in the future.

  24. My late husband and I loved watching your show and trying to predict if you would or wouldn’t find something on that particular outing – of course, you did – that was the show. The closest I have come to a twister is when one pulled a tree out of our yard and dropped it in the pool – all this happened while standing at a sliding glass door with a 2 year old in my arms – we were certainly blessed that it just kept on going and did no damage to the house at all.
    A ride in your vehicle would be awesome – but, I want to go on one of your trips!

    Margaret vanWagner

  25. Hello, my name is Cindy. I forgot about living in tornado alley. I moved back home to Harvest, Alabama in 2010. I was raised in Huntsville but had lived in Houston for 18 years. On April 27th I was reminded of what a tornado warning means and the destruction it can bring. After several warnings with the sirens. My sons and and I noticed something falling from the sky, we ran and looked closer it was baseball cards. Another siren sounded so wegot back on the porch for what seemed like 10 or more minutes of nothing but the sound of loud thunder and lightning in the background of a almost green eirry sky. All at once my ears kinda popped and it was silent, my instinct said omg boys get into the pantry. My boys being boys said oh mom you are over reacting, I screamed get your asses nthe pantry,NOW. Well it was over in less than 5 minutes. I looked into the backyard ebryone of our 12 trees were just laying on the ground. Almost about to cry I step outside, and it was then I realized how lucky we had been. As I looked out in Anderson Hills in Harvest Alabama the neighborhood was almost demolished. We still had a home. But 70% of my neighbors didn’t. We were spared and my sons saw for the first time why I had always freaked out and heeded the warnings because I grew up with many tornado warnings. But as history has it I had not seen such devastation as April 27 2010.


  26. I hope Sean sees all the posts. I have followed him since he had his very first show on tv when “Storm Chasers” did not exist and he was trying to film a tornado. Today my husband saw the TIV and I got a picture!! For all the weather observers that will only get to see his film, thank you. I have lived through hurricanes from Carla to now but I hope never see inside a real tornado except on IMAX.

  27. The kits teach how to build your own solar panels and wind turbines for the renewable green energy.

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