Gaining An Edge On Twisters - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Gaining An Edge On Twisters

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They come with a roar, and leave cries of anguish. But now a voice in Washington DC is hoping to help silence the torment of twisters.

"Mr. Chairman my state has seen all too many times the destructive power of tornados and severe weather," said U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, stumping for HR 2413.

"The bill creates a tornado warning extension program, the goal of which shall be to develop and extend accurate tornado forecast and warning beyond one hour," he said.

Which would be a significant upgrade from the current warning window.

"Right now a tornado warning to an average lead time would be about 15 minutes," said Steve Piltz of the National Weather Service.

Part of making that leap would mean improving the type of radar used.

"The big piece of technology that's out there right now is what's called a Phased Array radar," he said.

Current radar scans a storm in slices, taking roughly 4 1/2 minutes. Phase Array can do the same job in roughly 30 seconds.

"We want to catch these tornados maybe while they're forming at 4,5,6, 10,000 feet before they get to the ground so we have to look higher, at the same time that means we can't look at all of the storm at once. The new phased array radar would give us a chance to see the whole storm at once and continuously," he said.

Technological advancements, which, if funded through congress, could help change the landscapes demolished by tornados when it comes to fatalities.

"With concerted research and technology development, zero deaths from severe weather should be our ultimate goal," said Rep. Bridenstine.

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