After traveling some 1.85 million miles with about 50 research vehicles over two years, Vortex Two has finished its field work. The two-year study of tornadoes brought experts and students from schools like the University of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Penn State, Colorado and Texas Tech together, to study twisters.
Vortex Two is probably best known for the incredible footage of the entire life-cycle of an eastern Wyoming tornado, chronicled live on The Weather Channel. Doctor Ken Dewey, a U-N-L Climatologist who was part of the two-year traveling research project. He remembers the day the group studied the Wyoming storm…a storm that also packed very large hail.
Dewey, one of the presenter’s at the annual Saline County Regional Spotter Seminar on Sunday…said Vortex Two encountered 17 supercell storms, two weak tornadoes and the Wyoming twister in 2009. The following year, 18 supercells and twenty weak tornadoes were encountered.
The research made use of mobile Doppler radar, storm sensors placed near thunderstorms and tornadoes, and a remote controlled aircraft. Dewey said the numerous research vehicles moving from town-to-town stirred the public’s interest.
Dewey said the first year of Vortex Two was essentially a test of technology for researchers, with only one tornado. The second year more than a dozen twisters were part of the mobile study.