NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library;
OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
Last week, the Oklahoma City area was hit with a tornado that claimed 18 lives, including those of two veteran storm chasers. The tornado came only a few weeks after 24 people were killed by a tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th. Tornados are more common in the central part of the United States than anywhere else in the world. How do these natural monsters form, and what do scientists need to know to keep people safe from them? This week on the Physics Central podcast we talk to Harold Brooks, a research meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. Brooks shares with us the physics behind tornado formation, the many ways that scientists try to gather data on these rare and unpredictable events, and what they hope to learn about them in the future.