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Chasing storms in Tornado Alley

Wide tornado rips through Alabama this spring
Wide tornado rips through Alabama this spring

Lisa Varano, staff writer

May 16, 2011 — Follow a tornado chase with The Weather Network's meteorologists.

Storm hunters watch for tornadoes
Storm hunters watch for tornadoes

A team of storm hunters – including meteorologists from The Weather Network – is heading to Tornado Alley.

We'll have video of the storms when they happen.

Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, says she and her storm hunting team will spend the next two weeks or so chasing tornadoes.

She says the timing, like the exact location, could change with the forecast, but it's looking like Texas and Oklahoma could be hotspots for severe weather in the coming weeks.

Meteorologists say forecast models show the weather setting up for a round of severe storms. Vettese says she's looking for a trough to dig into the U.S. plains as moisture is flowing over the area from the Gulf of Mexico.

“We're hoping that all these ingredients will come together in our target area, and we'll see some intense storms,” says Vettese, who will document her trip on her blog, Severe Weather Diaries.

Caught in a hailstorm
Caught in a hailstorm

The season got off to an active, and early, start in April, when the U.S. was hit by one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in history. But the weather quieted down during the first couple of weeks of May.

“Now, the models look like they're starting to trend towards more active weather again. So now is a good time to head down there and hopefully see some storms,” says Vettese.

Vettese went storm chasing in Tornado Alley with the same group of meteorologists last year. Mark Robinson, another meteorologist at The Weather Network, showed us what the Storm Hunters saw.

“I think we had five tornadoes and this incredible hailstorm – probably one of the best hailstorms I've ever seen in my life – just outside of Oklahoma City. It was just absolutely one of the best years I've ever had,” said Robinson, explaining why people would want to race towards a tornado.

To follow along with the storm chase this year, check back with and watch us on TV.

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