The Tiny Probe That Stands Up To 320km/h Tornadoes

Some would say that Tim Samaras is nuts. Why's that? Because in 2003, Tim placed a couple of cameras and three probes in front of an oncoming F4 tornado that was 100 yards away and blasting 320km/h winds. And he did it all for science.

These probes are officially called Hardened In-situ Tornado Pressure Recorders [HITPR] ), and the name fits. They're only six inches tall, but their conical design keeps them from flying away - in fact, super-fast winds end up drive the probes further into the ground. (The aforementioned tornado, which tossed telephone poles upwards of 300 yards? Didn't move the probes and inch.) They have a number of sensors to measure humidity, temperature, wind speed, direction and pressure; and because of Tim's death-defying research, he and his team got a first-ever glimpse inside a tornado and discovered that the barometric pressure dropped 100 millibars at the tornado's centre. (Alternatively, think of it "like stepping into an elevator and hurtling up 3000 [floors]in 10 seconds.")

Tim probably sums it up best: "That's the closest I've been to a violent tornado, and I have no desire to ever be that close again." I'm right there with you, Tim. [jokerpro via National Geographic]

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