Sunday, May 17, 2015
Too Many Tornado Chasers With Saturday's Tornadoes
Also, as expected, there are quite a few new tornado videos on YouTube this morning.
Luckily, it appears the largest, worst tornadoes seemed to avoid hitting large population centers, so that's a good thing.
One bit of concern. Atmospheric Scientist Marshall Shepherd - you might know him as host of "Weather Geeks" on the Weather Channel - shared an image on Twitter today that he saw from Paul Knightley, a British meteorologist with an interest in tornadoes
The image is in this post. Click on it to make it bigger and easier to see.
It's a Doppler radar image of a tornado, I think in Oklahoma, but the post was unclear. The different colors mostly represent different directions the wind is blowing.
You see the blue/green and red/pink in very close proximity to each other, and the colors seem "hotter" at the point at which they're closest together.
That's the circulation of a tornado. Winds are blowing in opposite directions on either side of the tornado, so that's why you get the contrast.
This isn't the disturbing part. It's just a classic radar image of a tornado. Great for meteorology textbooks, if they make textbooks anymore.
Here's what bothers me: Look in the mostly purple area, just to the right of the tornado. If you look closely, those red dots are tornado chasers on a nearby road, filming and watching the tornado.
It appears the tornado is heading to the northeast in this image, just to the north of the long line of tornado chasers. But what if the twister suddenly decided to change directions, as they sometimes do, and make a run at the chasers?
With the tornado so close and so many cars in the way, they never would have been able to get out of the way in time is my guess.
If what I'm saying is true, this is worrying. We already had some tornado chasers die in 2013. Is it worth losing more lives to get videos of tornadoes? Yes, I like those videos and watch them all the time. I don't think boycotting them wouldn't change anything, but still.
Just a bit chilling, ya think?