Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Satellites to Improve Tornado Warnings

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Satellites to Improve Tornado Warnings

Article excerpt

There were 1,688 confirmed tornadoes in the United States last year. More than a quarter of those twisters struck in the South, where the hilly, forested terrain makes an approaching twister harder to spot than in the flat Midwest. Weather records also show that many of those rain-wrapped tornadoes often strike at night when they are especially harder to track and see. NASA and NOAA are now partnering to reduce the surprise of these killer storms by developing the next generation of weather satellites.

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. These deadly storms often form when two different kinds of air masses meet, such as dry and moist air masses, or cold and warm air masses. When complex patterns of updrafts and downdrafts in the atmosphere are added, part of the base of the thundercloud begins to rotate and a tornado is born.

Most tornadoes look like a violently twisting funnel cloud, behind a shroud of heavy rain or hail. …

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