The ultimate weather geek shopping list for winning Mega Millions' $1 billion lottery prize

If you're more into Fahrenheit than Ferrari, we have the perfect shopping list if you've just won the $1.1 billion Mega Millions lottery prize!

Imagine this: You're the ultimate weather geek who just won the ultimate prize -- the $1.1 billion Mega Millions lottery!

Some winners may dream of luxurious mansions or lightning-fast sports cars. But are you more into Fahrenheit than Ferrari?

Not to worry! We at FOX Weather have compiled the ultimate shopping list for the meteorology buff who just became an overnight billionaire.

1) WSR 88-D Doppler Radar: $15-20 million

When getting those architectural plans together for the new mansion, don't forget to leave plenty of space for that personal radar dome! For about $15-20 million, you can install your own Doppler Radar just like the ones the National Weather Service uses to protect your region.

The $15-20 million includes the cost to fabricate the radar and build out all the components (i.e., the pedestal and bull gear), purchase the land, pay for the environmental impact statement, pay for installation, fund getting the data into usable and shareable form, and operations and maintenance, according to Susan Buchanan with NOAA.  

2) Your own personal Hurricane Hunter aircraft: $100 million (NOAA version)

For that new Florida beach house, you'll want to know when hurricanes might be threatening your area. Don't sit around waiting for the National Hurricane Center's latest update -- take a peek into that budding tropical system yourself!  


NOAA says for a cool $100 million you can buy your own P-3 tricked out with all the hurricane hunting equipment. It'll be a bumpy ride but you can't beat the view.

(The Air Force also has their own hurricane hunter aircraft – the WC-130 Hercules – that were $13 million in 1964 but would obviously be a little more of a hit to the wallet in 2022 dollars.)

3) High altitude climate research aircraft: $150 million

This is the perfect solution to not only having a private jet for that impromptu trip to the tropics but keeping tabs on Earth's climate along the way.  Buchanan says NOAA is in the middle of building a G550 high altitude research jet that will be the most advanced climate and weather research aircraft in the world.

And with a cruising altitude of 51,000 feet, you won't need to share the skies with any of that other pesky commercial airline traffic.

4) 100-year supply of weather balloons: $14.6 million

Any good meteorologist knows you need to not just know the weather on the ground but get a good sampling of the upper levels of the atmosphere to get the best picture of what lies ahead.

For just $200, you can buy a weather balloon complete with the radiosonde that measures the weather, the twine, parachute and lifting gas (provided you can find some.) You'll be a storm chaser's greatest envy when you have that upper air data right from your house.


Traditionally, weather balloons are launched twice a day. That means a year's supply of weather balloons will run you about $146,000, but you plan on being around for a while to use those riches, so let's buy 100 years' worth to pass down to future generations.

Legacy: Secured. 

5) Your own personal forecast model: $150 million (for 5 years)

You've got the tools to tell you what the weather is doing now; how about what the weather is going to do in the future?  

No problem. For $150 million, you can buy your own supercomputers to run a personalized version of the GFS forecast model! But who knows what's a "GFS"? (Global Forecast System, by the way). Name it after yourself, your favorite celebrity, or even your pet? The 12Z FIDO has a nice ring to it …


Buchanan said the $150 million will cover the supercomputer, plus a backup, and things like rent, support and utilities for five years.

6) Private weather satellite: Ummm … no.

It turns out even lottery winners have limits. 

You might be thinking the ultimate meteorology prize would be to have your own weather satellite, but even a billionaire would need to borrow.  NOAA's GOES-18 weather satellite program has a budget of $11.7 billion. Maybe a down payment?


6a) Private rides to space to take own "weather satellite photo": $10 million

Alternatively, you could just book a ride as a space tourist these days at about $1 million for a 10-minute ride and bring a camera. We'll toss in 10 rides for during severe weather season.

Total cost: $444.6 million.  If you've taken the lump sum lottery payment, after taxes you'd net somewhere around $450 million so you'd have enough leftover for some of those tricked out six-figure storm chasing SUVs -- maybe a few gold-plated trims.

Didn't win the lottery? You can still keep expert tabs on the weather

If you're one of the millions of weather fans who didn't win the lottery, it's OK. You can still get a detailed forecast and radar loop for your exact location for free on the FOX Weather app.


Be sure to download the FOX Weather app to track any storms in your area and receive potentially life-saving weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service. The free FOX Weather livestream is also available 24/7 on the website and app and on your favorite streaming platformThe FOX Weather Update podcast also provides weather information for the entire country.