The true challenge is to forecast tornadoes. This is done by the Storm Prediction Center. They warn every state in America when bad weather is approaching. The researcher follow every thunderstorm in Tornado Alley because this is where most tornadoes form. The roar data they use comes form satellite images and a complex network of radar station. However a disadvantage of this network of radar station is that some tornadoes form in very small areas and this way fall between weather stations.
The first forecast
Doppler radar and OTD
Note: A tornado occurred near the most intense bunch of flashes. It seems that cloud-to-cloud flashes get most intense just before a Tornado touches the ground. At leasst according to what the OTD found on April 17, 1995, when it passed above a storm in Oklahoma and saw about 200 lightning flashes. While in the same period only 9 flashes were seen form the earth. One minute after the satellite detected a peak in the cloud-to-cloud lightning, a tornado touched down.
Unfortunately, the OTD can only see a small part of the earth at once, since it is in low orbit. The technique may not become a basis for tornado warnings, since it only detects actual tornadoes and not their formation. This makes the OTD to a now-casting tool instead of a forecasting tool. So you could say that the OTD can better be used for research instead of forecasting, because the OTD only gives a view of what is happening on that specific moment, while the Doppler radar can make an actual forecast.
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