Tornado

Warming planet could spawn bigger, badder thunderstorms

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 23, 2013   View Article

As the Earth continues to warm during this century, atmospheric conditions ripe for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will increase in the U.S., according to a new study.

Given the amount of damage caused by the straight-line winds, golf-ball-sized hail or flash floods associated with any given severe thunderstorm, understanding whether they will increase in frequency or intensity on a warming planet is a key question in climate science.

Tornado-proof homes? Up to 85 percent can be spared, expert says

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 21, 2013   View Article

Homes in the direct path of the monster tornado that roared through Oklahoma City suburbs Monday were all but certain to be destroyed. Yet inexpensive construction techniques could have kept up to 85 percent of the area’s damaged houses standing, according to a civil engineer.

The trick is already common along the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast — the use of clips and straps to keep the walls bolted to the roof and the foundation, explained Andrew Graettinger, a civil engineer at the University of Alabama. These parts cost about $1 each.

Tornado generator may create the energy of a coal-fired power plant

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 3, 2013   View Article

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s foundation recently invested $300,000 in a start-up company that aims to harness energy from tornadoes. A single twister-generator machine could produce as much energy as a coal-fired power plant without the downside of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Atmospheric Vortex Engine is the brainchild of Louis Michaud, a Canadian engineer who first started talking about the concept in the early 2000s. He’s successfully proven it works with 13-foot diameter version.

Tornado Timeline 2008: Storm Chasers: Discovery Channel

Publication: SwitchYard Media/Discovery Channel   Date: October 17, 2008   View Article

Highlights from the 2008 tornado season, one of the most devastating on record.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach