Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tornado Season and VORTEX2

As you may have noticed from the links on the right, I'm a bit of a disaster nerd. More accurately, I find the natural processes of earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes and severe weather to be awe-inspiring.

Fortunately, people more capable and focused than I are interested in these phenomena, and study them with an eye towards greater understanding and applying that understanding towards minimizing the dangers they pose to people.

I was originally going to talk about the ambitious tornado study VORTEX2 and last year's quiet tornado season.

But tornado season has already started. On Monday, a spate of severe weather dropped two tornadoes on Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma-Texas region has had heavy thunderstorms every day this week.

Andy Gabrielson -

Usually the South sees what little activity that comes this early in the year, but initial forecasts predict a busy year for storm chasers.

Which - from a pure research view - is good news. Last year the VORTEX2 team had decidedly rotten luck for nearly a month, finally successfully intercepting a tornado near Goshen, Wyoming, on June 5, 2009. This was cutting things rather fine, as the team could only remain in the field for about a month due to time constraints on many of the participants.

This year, the VORTEX2 team will be taking the field again on May 1st, and remaining out until June 15th. Good hunting, guys.

[May and early June are traditionally the busiest times for tornadoes on the Great Plains.]

For more information:

VORTEX2 (Official site)
Storm Chasers - Discovery TV show; these guys have/will participate in VORTEX2 - story on VORTEX2
National Storm Prediction Center - severe weather news
The Big Storm Picture - fantastic weather photography

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