As a child growing up in Indiana, one of the common weather occurrences you could always count on was the threat of spring and summer storms brewing up a tornado. The town sirens would wail and local television and radio stations would blast loud tones and display multi-colored maps of approaching storms.
Once, a small tornado caused some damage to mailboxes and the sidewalk in front of our house. Several years later, a tornado picked up our dog house from the back yard and dropped it off in the front yard while causing major damage to houses across the street. Some close calls!
Today, however, with advances in satellite, radar and warning systems, we are warned hours – if not days – in advance of a possible threat of a major storm. In turn, this has created a group of daring individuals called “Storm Chasers” who literally “chase” storms in hopes of capturing live video coverage of wind, lightning, tornados and storm damage. Other amateur storm chasers need only to be armed with a smart phone or a palm-sized camera to capture any storms in their neighborhood.
In 1996, the movie “Twister” was released starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton as part of a team of storm chasers researching tornados.
Real-life storm chasers were the basis for our latest iOS game, a storm chaser app called “Tornado Chase Severe Weather Adventure”. This app allows players to become storm chasers shooting videos of tornados, while avoiding obstacles and lightning along the way. Watch out for the flying cow!
Tornados are also referred to as twisters or cyclones and come in many sizes and shapes. Most tornados have wind speeds of less than 110 miles per hour and, usually, travel only a few miles before dissipating. Some tornados, although rare, have reached higher speeds and have stretched more than two miles wide. Tornados have been observed on every continent except Antarctica.