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This page contains information about the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX) project that was conducted through the University of Oklahoma at Norman, Oklahoma. This project was a coordination of the NSSL and its students. You will also find information on storm chasers, news reporters and photographers who get close enough to a tornado to sense the danger and experience the excitement.
This shows how close that a VORTEX member will get to a tornado to acquire a Doppler radar image, like the one on ourTornado page. This photo is of the Dimmet, Texas tornado from only 3-km away. Which means the tornado could reach them in less than 10 min.
(Photo courtesy of VORTEX)
This Tornado (actually a landspout) of F2 intensity was seen at the KOA campground near Erie, Colorado in 1988. Distance was about 500 feet. This photo from Steve Albers shows that getting close to a Tornado is all part of a days work for anyone who storm chases. I wonder if Steve has gotton any closer. His home page ishttp://laps.fsl.noaa.gov/frd-bin/albers.homepage.cgi
Check out his other photos they are impressive!
Sometimes you don't even have to travel far from the office to do this type of work. This was taken near the Bolder, CO campus of FSL. This type of tornado looks so much different than the kind we picture in our minds when we hear the word 'Tornado' but it can be just as devastating if it strikes buildings.
Tornado with debris cloud over Boulder County. Photograph by Dongoo Kim
In this photo the photographer is surveying the damage safely from a helicopter. Though this is a save place to be after a Tornado it has proving deadly for others who fly to close to an active Tornado. Surveying damage caused by Tornadoes carries with it dangers of electrocution and injury from falling debris. Damage surveying is best left to the professional and most people are advised to stay out of an area until the FEMA people say it is safe to enter.
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Steve Keesee, Mar. 3, 1997)