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June 2005 National Geographic

Thomas Loades

In this issue is the article "Inside Tornadoes," which describes the videos (there were five, covering a 300° field of view) from one of Tim Samaras' probes deployed NE of Storm Lake, IA, on June 11, 2004.

This video was, I think, featured at one of the conventions this year, but if you didn't get to see it then, you're in luck — it's on this site NGS put together. There's a lot of good material on the page, including a set of interviews with Tim about this deployment, and a flash presentation featuring Tim and the NGM photographer Carsten Peter about the June 24, 2003, Manchester, SD, deployment.

Also of note in this issue is the article "Fire and Rain: Forecasting the Chaos of Weather" . . .

. . . and, a program called The Tornado Hunters is airing on the National Geographic Channel on June 26 at 9 P.M. ET/PT.
 
Thanks, Thomas.

I have seen the videos in the NG site and they are very interesting. Do you know if the next number (June 2005) will contain another article about that?
 
That video brings back some vivid memories. I was minutes away from at least a half dozen tornadoes that day.

That storm was amazing... A nice hook echo on that storm from the radar at the radio station I was working at, that was also a great job by Tim S. on getting that coverage...
 
Holy crap! I hadn't seen that video before, and its pretty amazing.
 
Tim Samaras showed the meat of that video at the 2005 Central Plains Severe Weather Symposium last March. He said at the time we were only the 2nd group to see it. I've been eagerly awaiting the June issue since that time. The full online video (linked in the original post above) is GREAT and thanks to Thomas Loades for posting this.

Look closely at Camera 2 (pointing North) as the main core of tornado passes by. In the middle of the darkest grey mess you will see something BIG (even darker) go by. Tim slowed that down and did a frame by frame and postulated that it was a large piece of farm equipment (possibly a COMBINE).

Congrats to Tim Samaras (and crew?) for his superb instrumentation and successful deployment! Thanks also to National Geographic for documenting the project is such an excellent fashion. Looking forward to the televised program in June.

Darren Addy
Kearney, NE
 
Tim Samaras also showed this video at the 2005 National Storm Chaser Convention in Denver. Let me tell you, the entire room gasped at once when that huge piece of farm equipment flew by. I was lucky enough to personally congratulate him... that is truly amazing.
 
Really amazing job with an enormous scientific value!

Sometimes I ask myself the reason why the tornado didn't take away the various cameras: at that moment I think it was at least F3; by the way I don't guess that cameras were so heavy becasue Tim took easily with his hands: I think somewhat there was a sort of "sucker effect" that mantained cameras at the ground against tornado force. What do you think about guys?
 
Originally posted by Andrea Griffa
Really amazing job with an enormous scientific value!

Sometimes I ask myself the reason why the tornado didn't take away the various cameras: at that moment I think it was at least F3; by the way I don't guess that cameras were so heavy becasue Tim took easily with his hands: I think somewhat there was a sort of \"sucker effect\" that mantained cameras at the ground against tornado force. What do you think about guys?

He engineered the probes to experience a downward force when encountering strong winds. The stronger the winds, the stronger the downward force. He tested the probes quite extensively in wind tunnels, IIRC. If you remember the first National Geographic TV special, one of the probes he placed was on a gravel road. When he recovered it, the gravel road was scoured away -- but underneath his probe, which didn't budge, the gravel remained.

Big kudos to him for doing this research. I hope he gets his funding for VORTEX 2.
 
Does anybody know what tornado this farm equipment was from? Was it the Webb, IA tornado (NE of Storm Lake.) I know I have tried to find this piece of equipment and I can't... I also am very familiar with the area and I didn't remember any news about a combine being thrown...

Thanks
 
Originally posted by Darren Addy

Look closely at Camera 2 (pointing North) as the main core of tornado passes by. In the middle of the darkest grey mess you will see something BIG (even darker) go by. Tim slowed that down and did a frame by frame and postulated that it was a large piece of farm equipment (possibly a COMBINE).
In the magazine article itself, there're some stills that show this very, very clearly. (Unfortunately, the website video cuts to a different camera just before we see this happen from the best angle.) It looks to me like it's the front part of a combine, or possibly a plow.
 
Alright, THanks...

I would believe this to be a type of plow or a flatbed that was left out, that would make the most sense for that time...
 
For anyone interested in the scientific value of it...

The difference in scan lines of video is analyzed. A piece of debris is measured where it was at the beginning to where it was at the end of the frame. Because we know the framerate of video - we can thereby deduce the actual speed of the tornado (or at least the outside winds of the tornado ;) ).

It took Tim's talk at NSCC and a co-worker talking to me to actually understand how the whole process and measurement worked. Hopefully you understand it now if you didn't already. :)

Congrats Tim, we're all so proud of your accomplishment and hope you continue to share the results of your work.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou
For anyone interested in the scientific value of it...

The difference in scan lines of video is analyzed. A piece of debris is measured where it was at the beginning to where it was at the end of the frame. Because we know the framerate of video - we can thereby deduce the actual speed of the tornado (or at least the outside winds of the tornado ;) ).

It would seem to me that one would also have to know (or at least closely approximate) the distance of the object being measured from the camera, as well as the focal length of the lens taking the video.

Darren Addy
Kearney, NE
 
Yes, I believe much of that is explained in his interview that can also be found on the NGM site link above...

It is great research that he is doing and Tim is doing a great job!
 
Thanks for all of the kind comments. It has certainly been a challenge.

That "thingie" that moves across camera 2 and 3 appears to be some sort of a corn bin. I have found similar looking things in farmer's fields. It looks like a hopper with four wheels. When I have time, I'll post a frame grab for all to look at.

I do know its moving......rather quickly.

Darren:

Indeed, one needs to know the distance to calculate the velocity of moving objects, and also knowing the lens distortion (if any) that might affect these measurements.

Now...would someone PLEASE send us a few tornadoes, and get us out of this horrible pattern?


:?

Tim
 
Ahh... A cornbin would make a lot of sense beings in your video the farm in the background did have what I believe were cornbins tore apart. Some of those are quite big, yet it wouldn't take to much to rip them apart. I've seen it done by only 80-90 mph winds...

As for this pattern, I would be glad to get rid of it for you Tim.. IF I could... :roll:
 
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