Tornado is one of the most violent storms in nature. However, we still don¡¦t fully understand about its formation and the life cycle of this vile weather which has been causing heavy casualties all over the world. The United States have the most tornados of any country each year, most of which are formed in a region called the ¡§Tornado Alley¡¨ covering the Great Plains states in the heartland of the country.
Scientists work with the most ambitious effort for better understanding of tornado and reduction in losses of the affected areas suffering from this adverse weather. Meteorologist Don Burgess and some other scientists, together with more than 100 experts in studying inclement weather, conduct a science mission about this severe weather called ¡§VORTEX2¡¨. To collect as much data as possible for analysis, a fleet of mobile radar trucks, mobile weather stations attached on vehicles and the most sophisticated weather-measuring instruments ever created are deployed in the areas where most tornadoes take place. The objective is to provide earlier and more accurate warning of tornadoes so that people can have more time to evacuate and, consequently, minimise the number of casualties. On the other hand, Sean Casey and his teammates have been chasing tornadoes for many years without fear of danger. They have upgraded their homemade tank, which can resist tornadic winds up to 300 km an hour, called ¡§Tornado Intercept Vehicle¡¨ and determined to drive it into the heart of a tornado, filming its innermost and unveiling its mysteries.
The Omnimax Show ¡§Tornado Alley¡¨ will lead you to join the largest tornado-research project in history, follow the research teams to investigate in the danger zone of Tornado Alley, as well as study a tornado¡¦s formation, route and change in intensity. The audience will break into the heart of a tornado with some storm chasers, staying inside a powerful and destructive circulation of winds, witnessing an extremely stormy weather and experiencing the incomparable shocking power of the nature.
¡§Tornado Alley¡¨ Trailer
Credit: Justin Hobson
The life of tornadoes varies from a few seconds to more than one hour, and most of them will last for less than ten minutes.
The United States is prone to produce tornadoes due to its unique geographical features. When the warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico moves northward and meets the dry, cool, fast jet stream heading southwards in the middle of the country where there are relatively flat regions, tornadoes may be formed.
To obtain comprehensive data of an entire tornado in a wide range, researchers of ¡§Vortex 2¡¨ place meteorological instruments at positions 30 km away from a tornado for detection.
The ¡§Tornado Intercept Vehicle¡¨ is a 7-tonne armoured vehicle with bullet-proof windows at its sides. The brave storm chaser Sean Casey and his teammates will drive this tank into the heart of a tornado for filming at the car-roof windows.
A truck equipped with a large radar is driven to places nearer a tornado for collection of more data with higher resolution.
Along a tornado¡¦s route is damage at various degrees. Altogether, tornadoes caused almost 6,000 casualties, losses in property and crops amounting to US$10 billion in 2011.
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