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May 12, 2015

Fatalities, multiple injuries in Texas tornado

Fatalities, multiple injuries in Texas tornado

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

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A tornado tore through much of the town of Van, Texas late Sunday evening. Officials said over 40 people were transported to local hospitals for treatment and reportedly two people died during the storm — David Tapley, a retired Garland, Texas police officer, and his wife.

The National Weather Service estimated winds over 130 miles per hour (210 kilometres per hour) during the tornado. Late Monday afternoon, debris was still scattered over much of the central portion of the town. An historic building which served as the town’s first school suffered significant damage. Other school buildings were also damaged. All classes for students were cancelled for Monday.

Work crews and numerous utility trucks were on site Monday and the city’s main street remained closed to thru traffic. A residential area on the town’s eastern side was littered with debris and downed trees could be seen along the streets. Fifteen fire departments across five Texas counties responded following the storm, according to the county fire marshal.

Debris hangs on a fence skirting an athletic field in the central part of the town.
Image: Paul Budd.

A trailer stacked with debris from the storm. An historic building (seen in background), located in the central part of the town, shows damage.
Image: Paul Budd.

Workers clean up debris from a large field located near the central part of the town. Utility trucks are seen in the background.
Image: Paul Budd.

Utility trucks seen leaving the town on Monday afternoon.
Image: Paul Budd.

A police roadblock seen along the town’s eastern edge on Monday afternoon.
Image: Paul Budd.



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July 29, 2014

Rare EF2 tornado hits Revere, Massachusetts

Rare EF2 tornado hits Revere, Massachusetts

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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File photo of Revere City Hall, one of the buildings damaged in the tornado.
Image: John Phelan.

A rare tornado ranked EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale struck the city of Revere, Massachusetts around 9:30 am local time (1330 UTC) on Monday, causing a swath of destruction over two miles (about three km) long and 3/8th of a mile (about 6/10 km) wide as winds topped around 120 mph (about 190 kph). The tornado began at the border of Revere and neighboring Chelsea, Massachusetts and traveled along the street of Broadway in Revere, according to the National Weather Service‘s preliminary report.

Over 65 buildings have been damaged, according to officials, reportedly including Revere’s city hall, an ice rink, and an auto body business which had its roof ripped off. Thirteen buildings are reported to be uninhabitable. Partial building and roof collapses along with downed power lines and trees were reported through the city. Cars were crushed by trees or flipped over. Nevertheless, no serious injuries or deaths were reported in the densely populated city.

Revere mayor Dan Rizzo said, “We were very, very fortunate to have no casualties and just some minor injuries from this monumental storm that took us all by surprise”. Rizzo added, “Given the magnitude of the storm, it’s really a miracle that no one sustained more serious injuries”. Revere Police are urging people to avoid the city until further notice as clean up begins. A shelter has been opened at the Rumney Marsh Academy school.

The tornado is the first to strike the Boston area since records were first kept in 1950.


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January 30, 2013

January tornadoes, severe weather in southern, midwestern US cause fatalities

January tornadoes, severe weather in southern, midwestern US cause fatalities

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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Damage to a structure in Galatia, Illinois.
Image: NOAA.

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes affected the midwestern and southern United States yesterday into today with damage reported in several states and at least two people killed.

In Mississippi, at least ten counties suffered power outages, and the National Weather Service reported a tornado struck areas near the town of Sardis. At least 11,900 customers were without power in Indiana, where debris blocked roadways and a tornado reportedly damaged homes in the town of Solsberry. In Tennessee major damage was reported around the Nashville area with widespread tree and some building damage reported. One man was killed in Nashville when a tree fell on a building he was using as shelter, according to police. An EF2 tornado was also confirmed to have touched down in the town of Mount Juliet.

Damage was also reported in Georgia, where a tornado caused extensive damage in Adairsville, and one person was reported killed. Damage and flipped vehicles resulted in the closure of Interstate 75 at Adairsville. The Storm Prediction Center and National Climatic Data Center said the fatality in Adairsville was the first tornado-related fatality in the United States in 220 days, since a deadly tornado in Florida June 24, ending the longest recorded time between tornado fatalities in the United States.

The threat for severe weather is expected to continue into tonight as the storm system continues to push east, with the possibility of damaging winds, hail, and tornadoes.



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March 5, 2012

Deadly tornadoes blast U.S. Midwest leaving 39 dead

Deadly tornadoes blast U.S. Midwest leaving 39 dead

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Monday, March 5, 2012

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At least 39 people are confirmed dead, dozens injured and numerous buildings are left damaged in several states after series of tornadoes hit the U.S. Midwest March 2. The storm system stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. Southern Indiana, northern Alabama and parts of Kentucky and Tennessee were affected the most.

Images from the GOES 13 satellite shows the formation and movement of the storm system.
Image: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The first warning went out around 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and by about 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, at least twelve tornadoes had touched down in three different states. At least fourteen people were confirmed dead in Indiana. Officials are still trying to determine how many people might have died and assessing the damage.

New Pekin, Indiana, Marysville and Henryville are reported to have been hit the worst. Marysville about a hour north of Louisville, Kentucky has been reported to be nearly flatted. In Kentucky, at least 17 people had died and at least 200 injuries have been reported. Only one has been confirmed dead in Alabama but at least eleven people were injured during the storm. There are three confirmed dead in Clermont County, Ohio.

Damage reports in the Midwest and South keep piling up. Golf ball, tennis ball and softball size hail was reported in several states. Severe damage was reported in Nashville, Tennessee and Knoxville after high winds and 3 inch in diameter hail tore through the cities.

At the Limestone Correctional Facility in northern Alabama roofs were ripped off two dormitories housing over 500 inmates and multiple security fences were knocked down. Even though the prison lost power, nobody was injured or escaped. Also, flights were delayed for over an hour after storm debris littered the runways at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

The National Weather Service issued 255 tornado warnings on Friday, received 94 reports of tornadoes, 208 reports of strong winds and 410 reports of hail. The storms, caused by a warm, moist and unseasonable air mass that then mixed with colder air, followed a series of tornadoes earlier in the week that killed 13 people in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee.

The storms have raised fear that 2012 will be another bad year for tornadoes. Last year was the deadliest year in a century due to tornadoes, killing 550 people.



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May 3, 2011

One confirmed dead after tornado hits Auckland, New Zealand

One confirmed dead after tornado hits Auckland, New Zealand

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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The tornado caused significant damage to roofs of buildings in its path.

A short-lived tornado with an average wind speed of 200 kilometres per hour hit Auckland‘s North Shore at around 3pm NZT (3am UTC), passing through the suburb of Albany and dissipating across the harbour near Point Chevalier.

Among the hardest-hit buildings was the Albany Mega Centre, the local shopping mall, which had its roof torn off. Emergency services were seen tending to a man in his thirties in the car park of the shopping centre, but were unable to resuscitate him. Civil Defence originally stated there were two dead and fourteen known injuries, but later revised the death toll to one. North Shore Hospital is currently treating up to twelve casualties, including one man who has critical injuries, while others are in Waitakere and Auckland Hospitals.

Trees and cars were swept up in the tornado, causing significant damage to property and trapping residents in the vicinity. The North Western motorway was closed but has been reopened, although traffic congestion is still an issue with buses following alternative routes and trains restricted to a temporary speed limit. Auckland Council has activated their emergency coordination centre and the extent of the damage is still being assessed. Prime Minister John Key says that the New Zealand government is monitoring the situation.

This tornado is the second one to hit Albany in the last twenty years, with a 1991 tornado also having a death toll of one.



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April 29, 2011

Deadly tornadoes rip through southern US, killing over 300

Deadly tornadoes rip through southern US, killing over 300

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Friday, April 29, 2011

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NOAA tornado probability map for April 27, 2011

A huge thunderstorm system spawning massive tornadoes ripped through the south-eastern US Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning, killing at least 306 people in six states and causing wide spread property damage. Some 173 tornadoes have been reported from New York to Texas. In the worst hit state of Alabama, at least 210 are confirmed dead, including 36 in Tuscaloosa alone.

Cquote1.svg In terms of the ground-up damage and quite possibly the insured damage, this event will be of historic proportions. Cquote2.svg

—Jose Miranda, EQECAT

Deaths also were reported in Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and Kentucky.

Up to one million people in Alabama were without power. A nuclear power plant was shut down in Alabama after it lost power to its three units, an operation of the plant’s safety systems.

Seven states have declared a state of emergency, and federal aid is being sent to Alabama. Governor Robert J. Bentley said he was activating 2,000 Alabama National Guard personell to aid in search and rescue. President Barack Obama, who plans to visit Alabama on Friday to view the destruction, sent a message of condolence to the governor:

“Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives because of the tornadoes that have swept through Alabama and the southeastern United States. Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this devastation, and we commend the heroic efforts of those who have been working tirelessly to respond to this disaster. I just spoke to Governor Bentley and told him that I have ordered the Federal Government to move quickly in our response and informed him that I approved his request for emergency Federal assistance, including search and rescue assets. While we may not know the extent of the damage for days, we will continue to monitor these severe storms across the country and stand ready to continue to help the people of Alabama and all citizens affected by these storms.”

Preliminary estimates of the tornado hitting Tuscaloosa suggest it tore along the ground for 176 miles and contained winds up to 200 miles per hour. The devastation included residential and commercial areas, as well as the city’s infrastructure and civic buildings.

Cquote1.svg I don’t know how anyone survived. … But when you look at the path of destruction that’s likely 5 to 7 miles long in an area half a mile to a mile wide … it’s an amazing scene. There’s parts of the city I don’t recognize, and that’s someone that’s lived here his entire life. Cquote2.svg

—Walter Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa

“I don’t know how anyone survived,” said Mayor Walter Maddox of Tuscaloosa. “We’re used to tornadoes here in Tuscaloosa. It’s part of growing up. But when you look at the path of destruction that’s likely 5 to 7 miles long in an area half a mile to a mile wide … it’s an amazing scene. There’s parts of the city I don’t recognize, and that’s someone that’s lived here his entire life.”

Officials did not want to give specific numbers for death toll and destruction in specific states, as the extent of the damage and human injury and death is not completely known. According the the Los Angeles Times, “Mississippi officials reported 32 dead, Tennessee raised its report to 29, Georgia reported 13, Virginia said it had eight deaths and Kentucky reported at least one death. The number of injured was in the hundreds, with that number also expected to rise.”

“In terms of the ground-up damage and quite possibly the insured damage, this event will be of historic proportions,” Jose Miranda, from EQECAT, a catastrophe risk modeling firm,

The severe weather warning has been continued through Thursday, and includes parts of New York, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

This outbreak of tornadoes is considered the deadliness since 1974 when more than 300 were killed in a tornado outbreak. On March 18, 1925, 695 people died in a storm.

Greg Carbin, meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said, “May is usually the most active tornado month. Will it maintain the activity of April, we just cannot say.”



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  • “Tornadoes damage hundreds of Missouri homes, force closure of airport” — Wikinews, April 24, 2011
  • “New Year’s Eve tornado slams northwest Arkansas, killing three” — Wikinews, January 1, 2011

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April 24, 2011

Tornadoes damage hundreds of Missouri homes, force closure of airport

Tornadoes damage hundreds of Missouri homes, force closure of airport

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

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Governor of Missouri Jay Nixon talks to residents of Berkeley, Missouri, while touring affected neighborhoods.
Image: Missouri Department of Public Safety.

The main terminal of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, before tornado damage.
Image: Matthew Hurst.

An EF4 tornado struck near St. Louis, Missouri Friday night, forcing the closure of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and damaging over 2,700 buildings in St. Louis County. The National Weather Service also confirmed that an EF1 tornado touched down in neighboring St. Charles County and an EF2 touched down in Pontoon Beach, Illinois.

The city of Bridgeton, in North St. Louis County, was hit by the EF4 tornado. According to the National Weather Service, it was the most powerful tornado to touch down in the St. Louis region since 1967, with winds ranging from 166 and 200 miles (267 and 322 kilometres) per hour. Aftereffects of that tornado were also reported in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

One official estimated that anywhere from 50 to 200 homes in the Maryland Heights and Bridgeton areas incurred damage, but early numbers released by St. Louis County indicate that over 2,000 buildings in those two cities had suffered “noticeable damage,” which does not include minor damage. Around 30,000 people in the region did not have power Saturday, out of a total of 47,000 affected residents.

Authorities with search and rescue dogs went door-to-door Saturday, looking for possibly trapped residents. Aerial imagery was being used in damage assessment. Area residents unaffected by the tornado were assisting those that lost their homes, reported St. Louis television station KSDK.

The Harmann Estates neighborhood of Bridgeton was heavily damaged during the storm, with many residences losing roofs and siding. Officials have already condemned some of the subdivision’s homes. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley reported 25 homes in Bridgeton and Berkeley, Missouri as being completely destroyed and an additional 35 as uninhabitable.

Granite City, Illinois was struck by the EF2 tornado, while New Melle, Missouri was hit by the EF1. Fourteen New Melle homes sustained minor damage, while four were heavily damaged.

The storm also caused the temporary shutdown of two major St. Louis highways. Portions of Interstate 70 and Interstate 270 were closed Friday night due to fallen power lines and storm debris. Both blocked sections have since reopened, but officials said it would take a few days to remove all the debris, which they pushed onto the roadsides.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, which is immediately west of Berkeley, suffered heavy damage Friday night from the same tornado, and was forced to halt all regular operations Saturday while crews worked to clear the affected terminals. Eight flights had been forced to land in Kansas City, Missouri Friday night due to the tornado. About 500 people were in Lambert Airport when the tornado hit. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesperson said other US airports were not affected by Lambert’s shutdown. Lambert is not an airline hub and is significantly less busy than it was ten years ago.

In a Saturday press conference, Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Lambert’s director, said the airfield and Terminal 2 were “fully functional,” but the main terminal’s Concourse C had been severely impacted by the storm. That terminal, which sustained the heaviest damage, serves Air Tran, American Airlines, Cape Air, and Frontier Airlines. The total cost of repairs at Lambert is expected to be in the millions of dollars, but Hamm-Niebruegge said the airport does not yet have a good estimate.

Cquote1.svg It was like being in a horror movie. Grown men were crying. Cquote2.svg

—Witness at Lambert Airport

One passenger of a waiting plane at Lambert told KSDK that heavy winds pushed the aircraft about 20 feet (6.1 metres) while it was still attached to the gate. Two other planes on the tarmac were unable to return to the airport, so passengers were bused back. Five planes—four operated by American and one by Southwest Airlines—suffered damage, and some will undergo major repairs.

Some travelers inside the airport received medical attention for minor injuries caused by flying glass. A handful of people were transported to a local hospital for additional treatment, but all were later released. “We get to the terminal and lights were out, glass everywhere, blood everywhere from people had been cut,” recalled one witness. Another person at the airport reported, “The ceiling was falling. The glass was hitting us in the face. Hail and rain were coming in. The wind was blowing debris all over the place. It was like being in a horror movie. Grown men were crying.”

On Saturday, it was evident that Concourse C would not be open for some time, said Mayor of St. Louis Francis Slay. A large section of its roof was missing and around half of its windows had been blown out by the high winds. Debris and water from the storm were present inside the airport as crews worked to restore power and assess damage to the terminal. Missing windows had been boarded up, ruined carpet had been removed, and the control tower was functional by Saturday afternoon. The power was back on by 7:40 p.m. CDT (00:40 UTC) that evening.

The airport resumed outgoing flight services Sunday, although several incoming flights landed at Lambert Saturday evening. Slay said the airport will be running at 70 percent capacity until mid-week, depending on the availability of airline crew members and planes. Airlines using Concourse C will have their operations temporarily relocated, he added. On Sunday, Southwest was operating at normal capacity, while AirTran moved to Concourse B and canceled four of its eleven scheduled flights. A spokesperson for American said the airline would have planes ready for normal Monday operations. American had previously canceled all St. Louis flights scheduled for Sunday.

Cquote1.svg It was horrific and for that much damage to been done, to have no loss of life, is truly a blessing Cquote2.svg

—St. Louis, Missouri mayor Francis Slay

On Saturday afternoon, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon arrived at Lambert and visited areas devastated by the tornado. He originally planned to tour Maryland Heights, Bridgeton, and Berkeley, but Nixon was only able to tour Berkeley due to an approaching line of storms. While in St. Louis, the governor said 750 Missouri homes had been damaged by Friday’s tornadoes and that federal assistance was forthcoming. Nixon reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was involved in assessing storm damage, as well as that US President Barack Obama had already contacted him, promising relief funds. US Representative Lacy Clay, said Saturday that he would brief Obama on the situation.

The state declared the affected areas of St. Louis County a disaster area. No one has reported serious injuries or deaths as a result of the storm, although some people were treated for minor injuries. “It was horrific and for that much damage to been done, to have no loss of life, is truly a blessing,” Slay said.



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July 27, 2010

Two tornadoes touch down near Wellington, Utah

Two tornadoes touch down near Wellington, Utah

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two tornadoes touched down around the same time yesterday afternoon near the small town of Wellington, Utah in the Mill Creek Subdivision area. Initial reports are that both tornadoes rated somewhere between F0 and F1, on the lower end of the Fujita scale. Several trees were reported to have toppled over, a mobile home was severely damaged, and a travel trailer was reported to have been thrown over 50 yards. Other homes had minor damage.

It is exceedingly rare for a tornado to touch down in settled areas of Utah, and even more rare for two to touch down at the same time. The last tornado to touch down in Utah was the Salt Lake City tornado in 1999.

Wellington is about 130 miles (200 km) by road south-east of Salt Lake City, the capital of the US state of Utah.


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April 29, 2009

Aurora Borealis caused by electrical space tornadoes

Aurora Borealis caused by electrical space tornadoes

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

THEMIS space probes discovered that the Northern lights are seen when electrical tornadoes, rotating faster than a million miles an hour, hover about 40,000 miles (60,000 km) above the earth. The energy spins down to the Earth’s ionosphere where the tornadoes become unstable, and interact with the Earth’s magnetic field.

Professor Karl-Heinz Glassmeier, director of the Institute for Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics in Braunschweig, Germany, explains, “When these space tornadoes reach the upper atmosphere their enormous energy heats the air so strongly it starts glowing. That is what generates the aurorae.”

Aurora near Abisko, Sweden
Image: Gerrit.

“It is here that all the energy is released, forming the aurorae. What we see as beautiful lights and colors are actually the product of a violent electrical storm in space. While these electrical discharges do not cause any direct harm to humans, they can damage man-made structures such as power transformers and communications systems,” said Andreas Keiling, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley.

View of the aurora australis (southern lights)

Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) are five probes launched by NASA in February 2007, which orbited Earth recording the volume and electrical current which was higher than 100,000 amperes.

Scientists had previously concluded that aurorae are caused by electrically charged particles discharged as solar winds from the sun which interact with the Earth’s magnetic field. However, these solar discharges strike the Earth where the sun is shining and the aurorae occur in the opposite hemisphere and are visible in the night sky.

This anomaly was cleared up by THEMIS satellites which showed that the Earth’s magnetic field held the charged particles before deflecting them from the day side of the planet across to the opposite side of the planet where the particles massed into huge clouds. There the accumulated charge expands continuously until finally the cloud becomes unstable releasing its energy as a geomagnetic tornado which travels down towards the earth along magnetic field lines becoming visible as aurorae in the sky.

The scientists presented their findings at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) in Vienna, Austria just this week.



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April 10, 2009

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launches VORTEX2 to study tornadoes

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launches VORTEX2 to study tornadoes

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Friday, April 10, 2009

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Approximately 100 scientists and students will take part in the Verification of Rotation in Tornadoes Expermiment VORTEX2 project in May to study tornadoes in the central United States along Tornado Alley.

Project Vortex. The Dimmitt Tornado.

One of the unique features of VORTEX2 is that it is mobile, with no fixed base. The large armada will operate from the Dakotas down to Texas, operating in a different area every day as the weather dictates. The project will run between May 10 to June 13, repeating again in 2010 from 1 May until 15 June. 40 research vehicles will use mobile radar, deployable arrays of instruments called Sticknets and Podnets to measure around and inside tornadoes, ten instrumented vehicles, 4 balloon launching vehicles, unmanned aircraft, and other instruments to surround tornadoes and the supercell thunderstorms that form them.

“We have a strong focus on trying to figure out why storms tornado when they do. VORTEX1 made a significant difference. But now we have a lot more technology to make real-time predictions, which can increase warning times.” Louis Wicker, National Severe Storms Laboratory research meteorologist said, “Data collected from V2 will help researchers understand how tornadoes form and how the large-scale environment of thunderstorms is related to tornado formation.”

The US$11.9 million project, will help to determine why and how tornadoes initially form and how tornadoes are related to supercell thunderstorms.

Stephan Nelson, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director for physical and dynamic meteorology, whose program is providing the bulk of funding for VORTEX2, said “An important finding from the original VORTEX experiment was that tornadoes happen on smaller time and space scales than scientists had thought. New advances from Vortex2 will allow for a more detailed sampling of a storm’s wind, temperature and moisture environment, and lead to a better understanding of why tornadoes form – and how they can be more accurately predicted,”

Storm chasing NSSL vehicles on Project VORTEX1 equipped with surface measurement equipment.

Researchers from Finland, Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, Environment Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS), ten universities across the US, and the NOAA Storm Prediction Center will take part in the project.

Already in 2009, there have been nine fatalities caused from tornadoes in the US alone.

The VORTEX1 project took place between 1994 and 1995, and was the largest tornado study to date, collecting valuable data that enhanced scientific understanding of tornadoes and tornadogenesis.



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