Scientists try to understand tornadoes - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Scientists try to understand tornadoes

(NBC) - It is considered the largest and most ambitious effort ever to understand tornadoes. More than 150 scientists are embarking on a six-week project called "Vortex 2."

A group of scientists has been putting the finishing touches on their instruments over the last six weeks at the Boulder Municipal Airport.

"My wife is starting to miss me," said Justin, an engineer.

The group has three mobile radars, four instrumented vehicles and 16 tornado pods.

"They're instrumented weather stations, which are going to be deployed in the path of the tornado. What we're trying to do here is gather low-level information inside the tornado, like the wind speeds and temperature one-meter off the ground," Karen Kosiba, a research scientist, said.

Perhaps the most interesting toys the Vortex team has are its four instrumented vehicles. They will be able to collect scientific data that has never been collected before.

"They're dual-polarization, dual-frequency systems, which is a lot of jargon for saying we can understand the difference between rain and hail. It will take a lot of measurements, but it can also scan very fast through tornadic thunderstorms," Joshua Wurman, the project director, said.

The importance of measuring the difference between rain and hail will allow the team to better understand how tornados form.

"It's a question you think we may have had answers to by now, but they're actually very difficult questions," Kosiba said.

With the data they collect, the team hopes it will be able to make better prediction times. The average warning time is about 13 minutes right now.

"If we can get that to 20 minutes, 30 minutes, then people would have more time to seek shelter and fewer people would get injured or die," Wurman said.

Because this project is so unique, an IMAX film crew is following the team's progress. The team will travel through a hand-full of states, including Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma.

"Anytime there's a severe storm, we have to decide which one we're going to target," Wurman said.

The storm-chasing part of the project should be complete by mid-June.

The $10 million project was mostly funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLocalMore>>

  • Surfside pharmacist expands business to incorporate ice cream parlor

    Surfside pharmacist expands business to incorporate ice cream parlor

    Sunday, July 15 2018 7:23 PM EDT2018-07-15 23:23:26 GMT
    The ice cream parlor was always a dream of Bundrick and will be open until 11PM (Source: WMBF News)The ice cream parlor was always a dream of Bundrick and will be open until 11PM (Source: WMBF News)

    SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) -- A dream has become a reality for one Surfside Beach business owner who has expanded his pharmacy into an ice cream parlor, and what better way to celebrate than on National Ice Cream Day. Daniel Bundrick is the owner of the Surfside Beach Pharmacy, now when you think about a pharmacy you probably don’t associate it with ice cream, but back in the day pharmacies did far more than just fill prescriptions and that’s exactly why Bundrick opened Th...

    More >>

    SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) -- A dream has become a reality for one Surfside Beach business owner who has expanded his pharmacy into an ice cream parlor, and what better way to celebrate than on National Ice Cream Day. Daniel Bundrick is the owner of the Surfside Beach Pharmacy, now when you think about a pharmacy you probably don’t associate it with ice cream, but back in the day pharmacies did far more than just fill prescriptions and that’s exactly why Bundrick opened Th...

    More >>
  • Police: Woman shot at, punched ex-boyfriend in Walmart parking lot

    Police: Woman shot at, punched ex-boyfriend in Walmart parking lot

    Sunday, July 15 2018 2:04 PM EDT2018-07-15 18:04:53 GMT
    Source: PixabaySource: Pixabay
    Source: PixabaySource: Pixabay
    NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Warrants could be issued as early as Sunday after a Myrtle Beach woman allegedly shot at her ex-boyfriend  and his new girlfriend in the parking lot of Walmart on Highway 17. North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling says the incident happened in the parking lot around 1:20 a.m.. According to authorities the female suspect followed her ex-boyfriend to the Walmart before confronting him and punching him several times in the face. Dowling ...More >>
    NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Warrants could be issued as early as Sunday after a Myrtle Beach woman allegedly shot at her ex-boyfriend  and his new girlfriend in the parking lot of Walmart on Highway 17. North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling says the incident happened in the parking lot around 1:20 a.m.. According to authorities the female suspect followed her ex-boyfriend to the Walmart before confronting him and punching him several times in the face. Dowling ...More >>
  • One killed, one hurt after dumpster falls on workers at Campbell's factory in Maxton

    One killed, one hurt after dumpster falls on workers at Campbell's factory in Maxton

    Sunday, July 15 2018 1:39 PM EDT2018-07-15 17:39:28 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)
    ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) - One man is dead and another seriously injured after an incident at the Campbell's Soup factory in Maxton Sunday morning. According to Sheriff Kenneth Sealey deputies responded to a 911 call around 11 a.m. Authorities believe the workers were attempting to move a dumpster using a forklift when it shifted, falling on two people.  The status of the seriously injured man is unknown at this time.  Sealey says the incident is still under investi...More >>
    ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) - One man is dead and another seriously injured after an incident at the Campbell's Soup factory in Maxton Sunday morning. According to Sheriff Kenneth Sealey deputies responded to a 911 call around 11 a.m. Authorities believe the workers were attempting to move a dumpster using a forklift when it shifted, falling on two people.  The status of the seriously injured man is unknown at this time.  Sealey says the incident is still under investi...More >>
Powered by Frankly