NC State Stormchasers Once Again in Midwest

May 11, 2010
By Cherry Crayton
(Photo from iStock)

Last spring we mentioned in this entry that a group of NC State students and Matthew Parker, an associate professor marine, earth and atmospheric sciences, were spending a month in the Midwest studying tornadoes. They cataloged their storm-chasing trip in the blog, Wolfpack in the Vortex. Just recently—on May 1—Parker and another set of students headed out to Oklahoma for another storm-chasing trip they’ve dubbed Vortex2. They’re blogging again about their trip and what they learn about tornadoes at, as well as for the WRAL WeatherCenter. They’ve posted three entries so far on, and here’s a snippet from an entry that doctoral student Casey Letkewicz posted this morning.

The combination of the fast-moving storms, high moisture content (which means low cloud bases), topography of the area (there’s a surprising number of trees and hills in that part of Oklahoma), and my position with respect to the armada, meant that I was unable to see any of the tornadoes that occurred during yesterday’s outbreak. While that was slightly frustrating (I mean, I am a stormchaser who wants to be where the action is), I’m trying to keep in mind a few things: 1) I’m out here for science, not for touring. I helped collect an unprecedented data set on an outbreak of tornadic storms! 2) Many other teams were not in desirable positions, either, so I was not the only one who missed out. 3) I’m out here for a few more weeks, so there’ll be plenty more chances to be closer to the action. And most importantly 4) I was never in harm’s way the entire day, so I need to be thankful that I wasn’t hurt (nor was anyone else in the VORTEX2 armada!). Unfortunately, there’s been several reports of fatalities and many many homes destroyed. Please pray for those adversely affected by this outbreak.

Follow Vortex2 at and


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