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UNL News Blog

Riding the storm out

See? Nebraska and Colorado can play nice … off the football field, anyway.

For the first time, the two schools have teamed up to fly an unmanned aircraft into the most severe type of thunderstorm — a so-called “supercell storm.” They did it May 6 as part of the VORTEX2 project, which includes about 100 researchers from about a dozen universities in the United States. They’re collecting data that will lead to more precise storm models, which will foreseeably better predict tornado development —  and ultimately offer early warning systems. It’s sorta like the movie Twister, only with real actual science.

The unmanned craft, known as Tempest, went up for nearly 45 minutes, and measured humidity, temperature, speed and a host of other variables. VORTEX2 has gotten some national media coverage in the past, and undoubtedly will continue to get the attention of a reporter or two as storm season begins to kick into fifth gear. This certainly won’t be the last we hear of this research.

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