A storm system brewing in the Rockies today might trigger an outbreak of deadly tornadoes in the nation's midsection on Friday, according to meteorologists. In case you missed it, read PopSci senior editor Seth Fletcher's piece about how tornadoes form — and how climate change may be making them worse.
The tornado that destroyed my hometown was born in an otherwise unremarkable atmospheric collision over the American Central Plains. On May 22, 2011, a geostationary satellite 22,300 miles overhead recorded a large collection of cloud lines drifting over southeastern Kansas. At around 2 p.m, one of the cloud lines exploded, like a cartographic-scale dry-ice bomb.
The world's biggest tornado hunt is stuck. I'm at an improvised command center in the conference room of the Holiday Inn Express in Perry, Oklahoma, and 35 scientists are trying to decide where, on this cloudy May morning, to deploy the 50 equipment-laden trucks parked outside. The first major storm system of the expedition is forming southwest of us, in Texas, and it's likely to lead to supercells, massive rotating thunderstorms that may in turn spin off one or more twisters. Very promising. But Lou Wicker, a team leader from the National Severe Storms Laboratory, sees a problem. He looks up from a radar screen. "Fifty miles per hour," he says. Too fast.
A storm's radar signature could help scientists better predict twisters
By Gregory MonePosted 02.14.2008 at 11:38 am 1 Comment
In the aftermath of the Feb. 6 tornado, scientists at The University of Alabama, Huntsville have been analyzing radar images of the event, searching for signs that might help them issue faster warnings in the future. The radar signature from debris sucked up into the air is so distinctive that the group thinks it may be able to develop an automated detection system. Essentially, theyd program computers to automatically pick out these signs in the data, and raise a flag immediately.