Texas Tech University

Tornado Expert Available to Give Insight on Deadly December Storm System

Allison Hirth

December 13, 2021

Peak tornado season in the United States is March through May.



Late Friday and early Saturday morning (Dec. 10-11), multiple tornadoes struck parts of the South and Midwest, killing at least 70 people.

An atmospheric science expert at Texas Tech University is available to explain what makes this event unusual and how the current climate pattern impacts where severe weather occurs and how intense it is.

Christopher Weiss has researched the genesis and low-level wind structure of tornadoes for more than a decade. He maintains a research interest in the processes responsible for the generation of the parent thunderstorms. He can speak to the current scientific understanding regarding why tornadoes form and intensify, as well as how the structure of the tornado relates to the observed damage seen on the ground. Weiss currently is involved in two field campaigns aimed at improving our understanding of tornadoes using observations.

Chris Weiss
Chris Weiss

Texas Tech is home to the National Wind Institute (NWI), which leads the nation in wind research. The department was created after an EF-5 tornado killed 26 people and destroyed portions of downtown Lubbock in 1970. Faculty representing the university's Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering; the atmospheric science group in the Department of Geosciences; and the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business collaborated on solutions to minimize the effects of severe wind events, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, on lives and structures.


Christopher Weiss, professor, (806) 834-4712 or chris.weiss@ttu.edu