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This Month's Topic: Tornado Research in the Field

"Tornadoes are without question the ultimate manifestation of extreme weather. No other meteorological event is as violent or awe inspiring." (Chris Burt, "Extreme Weather") You better believe it! While even a humble F0 or F1 on the Fujita Scale (like the one that visited South San Francisco in 2005) can damage property and push cars off the road, a monster F5 tornado can rip a house right off its foundation and obliterate it. These treacherous giants can reach a mile or more in width and can charge across the landscape at over 70mph. And while the sustained rate of hurricane winds has never exceeded 200mph (in recorded history), the winds of the most intense tornadoes can exceed a mind-boggling 300mph. Why and how do these atmospheric powerhouses form? What is it about the unique topography of North America that makes the U.S. home to more tornadoes than any other country? And most important, why would anyone want to get anywhere near one? One way to find out: let's ask John Monteverdi, meteorologist and storm chaser.

ABOUT THE SERIES: Ask a Scientist is an informative, entertaining, casual science lecture series, held at a San Francisco cafe. Each event features a speaker on a current topic, a short presentation, and the opportunity to ask all those burning questions that have been keeping you up at night. No tests, grades, or pressure…just food, drinks, socializing, and conversation about the universe’s most fascinating mysteries.

Official Website: http://www.askascientistSF.com

Added by fourquarts on February 17, 2008