Storm Chasers

On the hunt for tornados

Storm Chasers Violent storms claim lives and cost billions in damage in the US each year, but the exact triggers of a tornado are still unknown. A group of scientists are on a mission to uncover the secrets of tornadoes.
While it’s known tornadoes develop from a specific type of thunderstorm, called a supercell storm, the exact triggers of a tornado are still not fully understood. A team of twister-chasing scientists from the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Oklahoma go on expeditions, tracking storms to learn more about how tornadoes form. ‘It helps us save lives and property’, says Sean Waugh, a research scientist. The town of Mayfield, Kentucky was destroyed by a tornado in December 2021, killing 88 people. ‘I thought, if this is my time, I’m okay with that. I just prayed for mercy’, says Martha, whose entire street was razed by the storm. The expeditions can be long and frustrating, but the reasons are important; ‘they’re doing it for other people so it’s like they’re going to war’, says one team member.

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