Research on killer tornadoes in U.S. Southeast enters 2nd year

March 20, 2017
Thunderstorms in the Great Plains, such as this supercell that produced a tornado near Burwell, Nebraska, June 16, 2014, are different from storms in the southeastern United States. That's why this spring (2017), NOAA scientists and partners are deploying instruments near Huntsville, Alabama, as part of the VORTEX-SE research project.

Tornadoes, some of the most violent storms on the planet, kill more people in the southeastern United States than anywhere else in the country.

This month, NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory kicked-off the second year of VORTEX-SE, a research program designed to understand how environmental factors and terrain in the southeastern U.S. affect tornadoes in that region. VORTEX-SE, shorthand for Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment-Southeast, will also look at how people learn of the threats posed by these storms and how they respond to protect their lives and property.

This study, which runs March 8 through May 8, brings together 40 physical and social science researchers from 20 research organizations. Scientists will deploy NOAA’s P-3 aircraft, 13 vehicles, five mobile radars, one fixed radar and other instruments in northern Alabama.

> Learn more about this research project to unlock the mysteries of these storms, and watch this cool video, too.