Sunday, May 10, 2009

Glamour, Sciance, and the Start of VORTEX2

The glamorous part of our project is over. The real missions are about to begin. VORTEX2 cut the umbilical today and we became 'mobile'. I put this in quotation marks because we only deployed from Eastern to Western Norman, Oklahoma. But we are now all staying in the same hotel, working out of our mobile office not the comfort of the University, and doing our last minute preparations. Today we are holding a class, Tornado Pods 101, teaching our crews how to deploy the pods. We need them to know this like the back of their hands because they have 45 seconds to deploy each pod (we'll practice and practice until we get this time down to 45 seconds). Pod deployments happen in bad weather, to say the least. Our plan is that the 4 vehicles wait until the tornado is about 2 miles to their west, about 4 minutes away, before starting their deployment runs. Each team has to deploy 3 pods. 45 seconds for a deploy, 45 seconds to the next location, 45 seconds to deploy again, etc. Then they run away to the south of the tornado, wait until the tornado passes, then rush back in to collect their prizes, Pods with tornado data. After all that they rush back ahead of the tornado or tornadic storm and repeat the process.

Tomorrow we expect to go really mobile, and leave town.


  1. Will there be a link to view some of your real time data? I, for one, would greatly appreciate an opportunity to follow various storm tracking radar along with the Vortex II team from the safety of my office/home during your data cllection period.

  2. I hope there will be great results from this research! If we knew more about tornadoes perhaps more lives could be saved. Not to mention, better building design that could possibly withstand such forces. I cannot even imagine that is possible, but you never know. Many seemingly unsolvable problems have been alieviated through research.

  3. It's likely not practical for the V2 teams to communicate this detailed info *externally* in real-time, however in a post-analysis mode (delayed by a day or so) a fair bit of information will be available at:

    Look esp. under "Missions", but also under other tabs including "Daily Reports" for summaries of VORTEX2 field research activities.

  4. I hope it is less than 4 weeks to see the first one.
    this global warming has changed the weather patterns.......

  5. Watched all the TV-Discovery programs-great stuff.Miss OK looks like a EF-10!

  6. I am not sure how to ask this question without seeming critical or sarcastic, especially since I have a tremendous amount of respect for the wonderful work Dr.Joshua Wurman does for safety and communities. He's a good person. I'll simply ask, people have chased tornadoes for many years and yet, you haven't really moved ahead. How much footage do you possibly need before you think to yourself, you're not gaining anything from it? Pods have been planted and picked up by tornadoes,so really, It's the same dance. I wonder if anything in space could trigger a tornado? Can you search data for certain patterns in space during the moment of tornadic activity? Once Again, I do respect Dr. Wurman and I pray he will find his answers. He Certainly Has Earned That Much. He's an Angel. Good Luck.


  7. This is a tremendous project, and I am looking forward to tracking the progress through this blog over the next several weeks.

    As you are focusing on specific areas of the country day by day, are you going to be sharing which areas are potential "hot spots" that day?

    Keep up the great work, stay safe, and thank you!