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Omnimax show ventures into a tornado with storm chasers

     The Hong Kong Space Museum will screen the latest Omnimax show, "Tornado Alley", from tomorrow (May 1) until October 31. The show will give audiences an opportunity to join the largest tornado research project in history and venture into the heart of a tornado with storm chasers, showing at close range the incomparable and shocking force of nature.

     Tornadoes are among the most violent storms in nature. However, people still do not fully understand their formation and the life cycle of this extreme weather phenomenon that causes heavy casualties.

     The United States has the most tornadoes of any country each year, and most are formed in a region called "Tornado Alley", covering the Great Plains states in the heartland of the country.

     Meteorologist Don Burgess and several other scientists, together with more than 100 experts in studying inclement weather, have conducted a science mission, called VORTEX2, about this severe weather condition. They brave "Tornado Alley" and, during the height of the storm season, a fleet of mobile radar trucks, mobile weather stations attached to vehicles and the most sophisticated weather-measuring instruments ever created are deployed in order to collect as much data as possible for analysis. The clock is constantly ticking for the team since the season only lasts less than two months. The objective is to provide earlier and more accurate tornado warnings so that people can have more time to evacuate and the number of casualties can be minimised as a result.

     Scientists are not the only ones drawn to twisters. Filmmaker Sean Casey and his teammates have been chasing tornadoes for many years without fear of danger. They have upgraded their homemade armoured truck, which can resist tornadic winds of up to 300 kilometres an hour and is referred to as a "Tornado Intercept Vehicle". They are determined to drive it into the heart of a tornado, filming the storm's innermost scenes and unveiling its mysteries.

     Showing on the theatre's hemispheric dome, this film will take viewers to join these risk takers to experience the dangerous journey into "Tornado Alley" and witness the unique and shocking power of nature.

     The 43-minute Omnimax show "Tornado Alley" will be screened daily at 3.50pm and 7.20pm at the Hong Kong Space Museum's Stanley Ho Space Theatre. There will be additional screenings at 12.20pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The Hong Kong Space Museum is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays).

     Tickets are available at the Hong Kong Space Museum Box Office and at all URBTIX outlets for $24 (front stalls) and $32 (stalls). Full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities will receive a half-price concession.

     The Hong Kong Space Museum is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. For further information, call 2721 0226 or visit the website at

Ends/Monday, April 30, 2012


The Hong Kong Space Museum's new Omnimax show "Tornado Alley" will start showing on May 1. It will show that the life of a tornado can vary from a few seconds to more than one hour, although most of them will last for less than 10 minutes.


A scene captured in "Tornado Alley" showing various degrees of damage along a tornado's path. Tornadoes caused almost 6,000 casualties and losses in property and crops amounting to US$10 billion in 2011.


In a still from "Tornado Alley", VORTEX2 project researchers place meteorological instruments at positions 30 kilometres away from a tornado to obtain comprehensive data on a tornado over a wide area. 


In a scene from "Tornado Alley", a truck equipped with large radar apparatus is driven to places nearer to a tornado for collection of more data with higher detail.


The "Tornado Intercept Vehicle" shown in "Tornado Alley". The seven-tonne armoured vehicle has bullet-proof windows at its sides. The brave storm chaser Sean Casey and his teammates will drive this truck into the heart of a tornado for filming through the roof windows.




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