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How Do We Study Tornadoes?
Plus: Do You Need a Tornado Safe Shed?
By Matt Schoch
As May’s remarkable string of devastating weather continued this week, scientists continue to attempt to understand tornadoes in order to better predict them. With an average of 27.5 tornadoes occurring each day during this most recent outbreak of severe weather, the 2019 season is off to a frantic start, just a year after an unusually mild season. Since record-keeping began in 1950, 2018 was the first year that there were no “violent” tornadoes measured in the U.S.
(PBS NewsHour has coverage of the destructive tornadoes (and subsequent flooding) in Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio and Indiana.)
While these tornadoes may have you thinking of dramatic Hollywood movies and amateur storm-chasers, in reality scientists are using a number of inventive methods to safely study weather patterns. Let's take a look at a few interesting ones:
The Tornado-Proof Armored Car
Just look at that thing. If any car is gonna survive a tornado, its that Batmobile-esque tank. In this clip from Wild Weather, you can see the car in action as it fires a flying probe into the heart of a tornado for the first time.
The Tornado Simulator
The Link Between Climate Change and Tornadoes
The Safe Shed
The Safe Room
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