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March 2, 2012
With severe weather forming across several states today, NOAA expert Harold Brooks, Ph.D. will be online today to answer questions about these most violent of atmospheric storms: tornadoes.
Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of 1 mile wide and 50 miles long.
NOAA expert Harold Brooks is a research meteorologist who leads the Modeling, Observation and Analysis Team at the NOAA National Severe Storms Lab in Norman, Okla.
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is forecasting the development of a few strong, long-track tornadoes over parts of extreme southern Indiana, central Kentucky, and northern middle Tennessee later today and tonight. Elsewhere, severe storms and tornadoes are also possible from east-central/northeast Mississippi into central/northern Alabama and northern Georgia northward into southwest Ohio.
A tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Because wind is invisible, you can't always see a tornado. Visible signs of the tornado, such as a condensation funnel made up of water droplets, sometimes form and may or may not touch the ground during the tornado lifecycle. Dust and debris in the rotating column also make a tornado visible and confirm its presence.
Harold Brooks, Ph.D., leads the Modeling, Observation and Analysis Team at the NOAA National Severe Storms Lab in Norman, Okla. With a goal of providing people with the knowledge they need to make better decisions about hazardous weather, he focuses his research on determining the distribution of severe thunderstorm hazards around the world and on evaluating weather forecasts. He gives frequent talks about his work at international scientific meetings and has given many interviews to the news media about hazardous weather.
Originally from St. Louis, Mo., Brooks received a Ph.D. in atmospheric science in 1990 from the University of Illinois. He joined NSSL in 1991 as a research meteorologist. He received the Department of Commerce Silver Medal in 2002 and has received three NOAA Research Outstanding Paper Awards. He also received the NOAA Administrator's Award in 2007 and was elected a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2010.
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