Study is unraveling mysteries of the twister

At the midpoint of an $11.9 million study that aims to untangle the mystery of tornadoes and use the information to help weather forecasters save lives, researchers are sure of one thing: People typically have only about 13 minutes of lead time before a twister touches down.

That's just woefully inadequate," said Josh Wurman, president of the Center for Severe Weather Research and a visiting scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.

Wurman and a group of scientists Wednesday unveiled findings of the first season of the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment, or VORTEX2, which may give forecasters a better idea of when a simple spring storm will turn into something to take seriously.

It involves scientists from the atmospheric research center and several other agencies and institutions, including the University of Colorado, the University of Nebraska, Texas Tech University, Environment Canada, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

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