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Jun 20, 2008

Map of Twisters Launched

A self-described "tornado chaser" has launched a web site that shows where tornadoes hit the United States each day. The Google Earth mashup allows visitors to zoom in to see a city, or zoom out to see the entire country.

Dr. Perry Samson, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, at the University of Michigan developed the site from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. Dr. Samson's day job as an atmospheric scientist involves studying air pollution and educational technology. For fun he studies extreme weather. He recently returned from a summer storm-chasing trip where he and a team of students gathered data from eight supercell storms.

Dr. Samson says "This Web site is another way for those interested in weather to get a sense for what's going on." It's also just pretty cool to show others in the office.

The site includes historical data on storms and allows the user to search for tornadoes by zip code. As someone that lives in "tornado alley" it can be a little sobering to see all the storms that have been around me. It's cloudy and rainy today, I'll definitely be casting more than an occasional glance to the sky.