Taxonomy term

tornado

Tallying temperature drops inside tornadoes

The inside of a strong tornado is an intense place, with wind speeds of more than 450 kilometers per hour and dramatic drops in air pressure and temperature. But due to the dangerous unpredictability of such storms, few real-time measurements have been taken inside actual twisters. In a new study, researchers took a mathematical approach to circumvent the danger and calculate temperature changes inside tornadoes, offering a glimpse into how these violent storms operate.

24 Apr 2017

Tornadic storms fed by perfect spirals

Sometimes, large thunderstorms called supercells spawn tornadoes; sometimes they don’t. Predicting whether supercell drafts will spiral into a tornado is tricky, with false-alarm rates running as high as 75 percent. In a new study using helium balloons to study tornadogenesis in supercells, researchers have shown that wind patterns in the lowest 1 kilometer of a storm may play a major role in forming twisters.

17 Jan 2017

Twister season comes earlier to tornado alley

Recent studies have examined whether tornadoes are increasing in intensity or number, but a consensus has not yet been reached. Now, a new study looking at a different aspect of tornadoes — when they occur — has found that the severe storm systems that spawn tornadoes may be peaking earlier in the spring than in the past in the infamous tornado alley.

29 Dec 2014

Social sciences improve tornado warnings

In 2013, 55 people in seven states were killed by tornadoes. Now, scientists behind a new report analyzing the effectiveness of tornado-warning processes are hoping to help reduce tornado fatalities in the 2014 storm season by combining the latest storm-tracking technology with a better understanding of how communities and people respond to tornado warnings.

03 Apr 2014

Trans-Niño years could foster tornado outbreaks

Individual tornadoes can’t be predicted, but new research relying on both historical records and meteorological computer modeling suggests that severe tornado outbreaks may be linked to specific weather patterns during so-called Trans-Niño years.

08 Sep 2013

Blogging on EARTH: Behind the scenes with a storm chaser (part 3)

This past May, Nick Luchetti, an undergraduate meteorology student at Virginia Tech, chased supercell storms and tornadoes across the U.S. Great Plains as part of a field course offered by the school. In this series of three posts, he describes the thrills and emotions he experienced while fulfilling a personal dream.

26 Jun 2013

Blogging on EARTH: Behind the scenes with a storm chaser (part 2)

This past May, Nick Luchetti, an undergraduate meteorology student at Virginia Tech, chased supercell storms and tornadoes across the U.S. Great Plains as part of a field course offered by the school. In this series of three posts, he describes the thrills and emotions he experienced while fulfilling a personal dream.

25 Jun 2013

Blogging on EARTH: Behind the scenes with a storm chaser (part 1)

This past May, Nick Luchetti, an undergraduate meteorology student at Virginia Tech, chased supercell storms and tornadoes across the U.S. Great Plains as part of a field course offered by the school. In this series of three posts, he describes the thrills and emotions he experienced while fulfilling a personal dream.

24 Jun 2013

National Weather Service introduces impact-based warnings for tornadoes

Tornado damage threat: considerable or catastrophic?

On May 22, 2011, a column of rotating air spawned a massive EF-5 tornado, with wind speeds greater than 200 miles per hour, over the city of Joplin, Mo. The twister caught the city off guard, leaving 158 people dead and injuring more than 1,000 people, making it the deadliest tornado in the United States since record-keeping began in 1950. As the National Weather Service (NWS) surveyed the city following the tornado, they began considering ideas on how to better alert the public to the risks of dangerous weather events. After a successful test phase of one such idea, the agency is now expanding on its so-called “Impact Based Warnings” experiment.

15 Apr 2013

Foretelling next month's tornadoes

Tornadoes are notoriously difficult to forecast, with often deadly results: In 2011, tornadoes in the U.S. killed more than 550 people, a higher death toll than in the past 10 years combined. Now a new study of short-term climate trends offers a new approach to tornado forecasting that may give people in tornado-prone regions as much as a month of forewarning that twisters may soon be descending.

02 Apr 2012

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