Tornado project enters second data collection phase

Probes I-70
Mobile Mesonets, also known as probes, travel west on I-70 in Kansas.

The Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment  – 2 will begin the second year of data collection on May 1 and run through June 15.  VORTEX2 is the largest tornado research project in history to explore how, when and why tornadoes form.

NOAA and the National Science Foundation are sponsoring more than 100 scientists, students and staff from around the world to collect weather data around and under a supercell thunderstorm.  VORTEX2 teams are using a fleet of 10 mobile radars and 70 other instruments all equipped with cutting edge communication and computer technologies.  Much about tornadoes remains a mystery, and researchers hope this data will help them better understand tornadoes and lead to further improvements in tornado warning skill.

During 2009 operations, the VORTEX2 armada roamed more than 10,000 miles across the southern and central Plains from May 10-June 13.  Data were collected on 11 supercells, including one tornadic supercell.

New for 2010 operations will be the addition of the University of Colorado Tempest Unmanned Aerial System – model airplanes designed to fly underneath the storm to collect data.  Also, three more mobile radars now have dual-polarization capabilities and the radar scouts and mobile mesonets have been redesigned to make operations more efficient.

VORTEX2 2010 operations can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and through a blog called V2Talk. More information is available on the web: http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/vortex2.

A special correspondent for kids has joined the VORTEX2 team for 2010.  His name is Chase StormDawg, and he can be followed on Twitter and Facebook too!