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Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate with VORTEX2 stormchasers

Monday, May 18th, 2009 2:36pm MDT
Last Tuesday the VORTEX2 teams chased a system that generated hail, wind and lightning but no tornadoes. Image courtesy VORTEX2 / NSSL.

Last Tuesday the VORTEX2 teams chased a system that generated hail, wind and lightning but no tornadoes. Image courtesy VORTEX2 / NSSL.

The scientists and researchers taking part in VORTEX2, the largest ever tornado field study, have been confounded by Mother Nature in their search for twisters.  The Verification of Origin of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment2 (VORTEX2) and its accompanying 80 scientists and 40 vehicles have yet to track a tornado since the project launched just over a week ago.

The team has tracked severe weather systems from northwestern Texas to Oklahoma and while they have seen severe thunderstorms that produced significant rainfall and winds, twisters have eluded them thus far.  While this is undoubtedly frustrating for the team, it has given them time to practice the coordination and deployment of the researchers. 

Last Tuesday the team was on their first chase day in west Texas and was able to deploy their mobile radar units and mobile mesonet vehicles.  That storm yielded little more than wind and hail but it provided a valuable opportunity to view their plan in action and highlight areas where improvement is needed. 

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