Emily Sutton is Channel 4’s first female meteorologist — a position that hasn’t always been easy. Historically, the weather community has been a boys’ club. Sutton told me that from the beginning of her career, viewers have been obsessed with her hair and makeup and outfits. “I didn’t want to show a lot of skin, because I was trying to stay away from the ‘weather bunny’ thing,” she said. “But it got to the point where I was getting so much criticism. They called me frumpy.” Finally she switched from power suits to clothes more like what she wore in regular life. “That worked out better,” she said. “I realized I have to learn to embrace being younger.” (1)
Using 3-D computer models, University of Arkansas researchers have demonstrated the influence of hills on tornadoes. Their models revealed that the height of a hill and the size of a tornado's vortex have a significant effect on the tornado's destructive power. The findings could be used to identify safer areas for construction.
The researchers found that lower levels of a tornado's vortex are significantly disrupted if the height of a hill is equal to or greater than the radius of the vortex. The models also confirmed an important finding from a previous field study -- that wind velocities are significantly reduced on the leeward side of hills.
"A preliminary observation from this study indicates that there is a region behind a hill where velocities are reduced due to disruption of the tornado vortex," said Panneer Selvam, professor of civil engineering. (2)
I had heard stories about the special powers of Gary England, Tornado Alley’s most famous weatherman: how he had tracked storms, back in the day, from a tiny attic office with a primitive radar repurposed from the nose of an airplane; how he had comforted, through the television screen, children who had been left alone in storms. As a nonresident of Oklahoma, however, I had never actually seen England’s powers in action. This changed during my...