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Back on the road and heading to Tornado Alley with Dr. Joshua Wurman

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Stephen Marsh Stephen Marsh | 11:00 UK time, Wednesday, 8 June 2011

d ~ 409'075'200 km: day 159

It's early June and the 23 degrees team are back on the road capturing some of the planets' most exciting weather phenomena.

This time Helen Czerski and the team are in the Midwest of the USA tracking one of the deadliest weather events of them all. The Tornado.

They are starting off in Boulder Colorado with renowned Tornado expert Josh Wurman from the Centre for Severe Weather Research and heading out onto the Great Plains in pursuit of this elusive beast. It's elusive because tornadoes are notoriously difficult to film. You might find that surprising when there have been so many of these deadly twisters this season. The problem is it's very hard to predict where they will form and touch down on the ground. Using radar tornado experts can track the formation of thunderstorms from which a tornado can develop, but they can't predict when or if a thunderstorm will spawn the deadly twister.

Filming Tornadoes can also be dangerous. We've seen the horrific images of towns devastated by tornadoes in Alabama, and Missouri. They had little warning and the violent winds trashed everything in their path. That's why we are working with expert Josh Wurman, he's a veteran in tracking, studying and filming tornadoes. He's not just there to take us to where the storms might be forming; he's there to warn us if we are getting too close.

We are travelling in his custom-built mobile radar station weather laboratory called a Doppler on Wheels or DOW. Its packed with the latest detection gadgetry including Doppler radar that can track the developing clouds high up in the atmosphere. So far these vehicles have observed 141 Tornadoes and intercepted the eye of 11 hurricanes.

The team are going to be spending a few days out in what's known as Tornado Alley tracking these incredible weather systems to learn what are the conditions that transform air masses into these violent storms. We await they footage with great anticipation. Lets hope they get lucky and see a twister first hand.


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