Storm chasers and film crew gather in Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/14/10

Storm chasers and film crew gather in Lubbock

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

By Tiffany Pelt - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Dozens of storm chasers stayed in Lubbock Monday night after following storms in Lynn County. The storm chasers are part of the VORTEX2 project, trying to collect data on Tornadoes.

"We're going out with our armada of vehicles to research the origins of tornadoes and try to improve our knowledge so that we can improve our warning system," said Zac Ebenstein, a University of Michigan senior who joined the VORTEX2 team.

VORTEX2 is made up of about 120 scientists and college students from all over the U.S. and world. Their goal is to reduce the 70% false alarm rate of tornadoes, and give people more warning time than the current average of 13 minutes.

"There have been several good days where we've gotten a lot of data collected, and hopefully we can turn it into some really useful stuff," said Ebenstein.

In the last two years the storm chasers for VORTEX2 have driven more than a million miles chasing the storms. Tuesday wraps up their project, but their work will continue to be seen as group documents their every move.

"We decided to come up here and do some tracking shots of the vehicles here of VORTEX2. This is a very rare opportunity to get this many top scientists in the country and different parts of the world, to try to map out the workings of a tornado," said Mike Browne, driver of the film crew.

The production crew, funded by a private LA company, will use the video captured to make an IMAX movie called "Tornado Alley".

Even though the crew is chasing the storm chasers, they've had some close calls themselves."We were trying to film a different vehicle, and the tornado turned on us and hit us, moved us across the road. Power lines and power poles were falling down, trees flying, it was just complete pandemonium," said Browne.

The documentary should be ready to air sometime next September.

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