The “polar vortex” pattern continued to dominate the Midwest to the Northeast U.S. and southeastern Canada for most March, with hot and dry conditions proliferating the widespread drought conditions and wildfires from the Desert Southwest.
Powerful snowstorms hammered the Great Lakes Region to New England on March 11-13 and March 23, with over hurricane force winds and blizzard conditions in eastern Cape Cod with the latter system. A raging blizzard is also closing out the month of March across much of the Dakotas into northwest Minnesota on the cold side of a powerful storm system that will bring tornadoes to the southern Plains to Dixie Alley the rest of this week.
In terms of tornadoes, the month of March was relatively quiet compared to recent years, aside from the recent March 27 outbreak in northern Missouri where a damaging tornado destroyed multiple homes near the Trenton, MO area. It looks like this event was the first sign of a major pattern shift that will impact North America, leading to a very active severe weather pattern across the Tornado Alley for the rest of spring and summer. El Nino conditions continue to intensify in the Pacific, which will only enhance the severe weather pattern this spring. Stay safe this storm season, and make sure your weather radios are charged up!
DOMINATE the storm
We have released a Live Storm Chasing iOS app, this app is a universal app and works on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 6.1 and greater. This is the first ever live storm chasing app for iOS and it provides a really easy to use native experience for browsing and viewing chaser’s live streams.
The app also has push notifications to you can be alerted when there is an active storm chase. You will only receive one automated push notification per chase day but in the case of a tornado on a live stream you may get a manual push notification letting you know what streams have a view of the tornado.
When viewing a live stream you can rotate the device to landscape orientation to toggle fullscreen. The resolution of each chasers stream is dependent on their network ability in the field and the quality will vary from chaser to chaser depending on what kind of equipment they are using.
We have an Android version in development and it will be released soon. It will also provide push notifications and similar experience to the iOS app.
We still provide a mobile web experience in addition to this app, our mobile web streaming is compatible with iOS, all versions of Android including those without HLS support, and Blackberry.
Thanks to everyone who entered our February photo contest on Instagram. It was extremely hard to narrow it down to just five photos with so many quality entries.
First Prize – SLXtreme 5 iPhone case and three giftable Tornado Chasers season passes.
Runners up (in no particular order) – One giftable Tornado Chasers season pass
Thanks again for participating and making this a great winter photo contest.
You can now get a free 2013 Season Pass of Tornado Chasers via our new referral program. Simply share your own personalized referral code/link and if $40 or more purchased from it you’ll get a free giftable 2013 Season Pass which you can apply to your own account or give away as a gift.
Here’s how it works in detail:
- Share your referral code/link over Twitter, Facebook, Email, etc. (just don’t spam or do anything illegal or unethical)
- The person using your referral code will get 15% off their purchase in our On Demand store.
- Once $40 or more is purchased on your referral code you’ll get a free giftable 2013 Season Pass of Tornado Chasers.
You can access your referral code/link as well as monitor the progress of earning your reward on your promotions page. You will also get an email notification when your reward is issued.
We are releasing 7 bonus episodes cut from the 2013 Tornado Chasers footage. These bonus episodes were conceived during our Kickstarter campaign as stretch goal rewards for our backers for putting us over our original funding goal. We would now like to offer them to everyone at the discounted pre-order price of $9. If you missed our Kickstarter campaign now is the chance to get this bonus content as the price will increase when the first bonus episode is released on 2/17/2014.
The following 7 bonus episodes of various length will be released during 2/17/2014 to 4/30/2014 with no particular release schedule:
- 2 Behind-the-scenes Episodes
- 2 Tornado Science Episodes
- 2013 Tornadoes: Raw and Uncut Episode
- Deleted Scenes Episode
- Dominator Tech Episode
You will also be able to purchase these episodes individually as they are released but at a higher overall price.
Remember, If you are a Kickstarter backer with a Tornado Chasers 2013 Kickstarter Edition Season Pass this content is already included automatically you don’t have to do anything but wait for the notifications when each episode is released. However feel free to order these bonus passes as gifts.
If you have any questions please contact us through our support portal.
Today we released support for Google Chromecast, a $35 HDMI streaming device that allows you to stream video content from the web to your TV.
In order to stream Tornado Chasers to your TV via Chromecast you must be using the Chrome browser with the Google Cast extension installed. You must also be on the same network as your Chromecast device and your device must be fully configured.
If you have everything installed and configured correctly you’ll see a Google Chromecast button appear below the media player where you normally stream an episode on the website, as shown below.
When you press the “Google Chromecast” button, the video will pause and the Cast extension will popup and ask you which device you would like to stream to (in case you have multiple Chromecast devices in your house).
When you select a device the streaming will resume on your TV where you left off in the web player and the “Google Chromecast” button will be replaced with two buttons for controlling playback on your TV. From those buttons you can pause/resume and stop casting altogether.
The public release of the Cast SDK has only been out for a few days and as you can see the Google Cast Chrome extension is still in beta. That being said, there is possibility that you may run into issues and if that happens please contact support.
This release unfortunately doesn’t include adaptive bitrate streaming but the quality is very high, around 5Mbps 1080p. The media player library of the Cast SDK, which is required for adaptive bitrate streaming protocols, is at version 0.3 and still considered a beta release. We weren’t able to get HLS working on it yet due to issues with the library but we are confident those problems will be addressed soon.
Once adaptive bitrate streaming is working the next logical steps would be to bring Chromecast support to our native mobile apps and create tighter integration with the web-based video player.
Update: Contest Extended to March 7th 5pm CST.
Update: Snow Lizard has graciously offered to ship the case internationally. The contest is no longer limited to US and Canada.
We are running another photo contest on Instagram the entire month of February 2014, this time the theme is winter weather. The Instagram user with the best photo will win one SLXTREME 5 case from Snow Lizard Products. The winner will be able to pick from the following colors: Black, White, Yellow, Orange, and Cammo. This case fits the iPhone 5 and 5S and is ruggedized, waterproof to 2 meters, doubles your battery life, and even has a solar panel for slow charging in an emergency. You can find out more about this case on Snow Lizard Products website. It’s retail value is $150. The grand prize winner will also receive three Season Passes of the 2013 season of Tornado Chasers, these will be giftable.
Finally, the next four best photos will each win their owner a giftable season pass of the 2013 season of Tornado Chasers as a consolation prize. However, only the one grand prize winner will win the case.
Here are the rules of the contest, please read them carefully (especially rule #3):
- Only photos posted on Instagram during February 2014 qualify. We will choose the best Instagram photos each week and select the final winner from them.
- Photos must be related to weather or outdoors (ideally winter weather but all will be considered) and you must own the rights to the photo (we will ask for the original only to verify ownership).
- To be eligible photos must contain the exact phrase in the main caption/comment: #TornadoChasers winter photo contest by @reedtimmer and @snowlizard_gear
- You must follow the account @reedtimmer on Instagram (if you are a winner we will send you a private message via Statigram to collect your mailing address and/or tvnweather.com account email address)
- You can enter only three photos per day.
- You must be 18 years or older to win.
- Your photos must be public not private in order for us to judge them.
- Tornado Chasers Season Passes require a free tvnweather.com account.
Thank you and good luck!