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One step closer for tornado prediction

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Tornadoes have provided for some great cinema magic (i.e. “The Wizard of Oz”) but have also provided for many deaths and serious devastation. Severe weather investigators have been trying for years to determine what causes twisters to form. Luckily for them, on June 6, a tornado in Wyoming became the most documented twister of all time. What makes this twister special is that it was documented throughout its entire life span.

A group of investigators called VORTEX2 (Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment 2) plan to study the films from this storm as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Principle investigator of VORTEX2 and president of the Center for Severe Weather Research in Colorado, Josh Wurman, said there were 12 “tornado pods” able to document the storm.

From this, researchers hope to find a way to know when a tornado is approaching. The main goal is to be able to give citizens a window of 30 minutes to an hour as a warning a tornado may be headed their way.

The study will consist of looking at radar images to see if any parallels exist among all the tornadoes there are records of.

According to the federal Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., there are about 100 tornadoes each year that kill about 60 people. While the death toll may seem small, the devastation can’t be put into numbers.

USA Today reports that VORTEX2 plans to gather more documentation in the Great Plains next year from May 1 to June 15.

andrea @ June 14, 2009

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