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Chris Weiss, a professor of atmospheric science in Texas Tech's College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Geosciences, has received two grants from the US Department of Commerce.

It's said that these grants will help to improve the understanding of how tornadoes form in the southeastern US and how they can be better predicted.

Weiss was awarded $220,000 for the "Propagation, Evolution and Rotation in Linear Storms" project and $211,176 for his "Assessment of the Role of Cold Pools in Low-Level Vorticity Production Using Direct Observation and Ensemble Sensitivity Analysis” project.

Weiss said:

The two grants are actually very closely related, both being part of the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment – Southeast (VORTEX-SE) mission [...] The ‘Cold Pools’ grant is largely an analysis of data collected for VORTEX-SE during the 2018-2019 field campaign, whereas the PERiLS grant is for instrument deployment in the upcoming VORTEX-SE field campaign, which is scheduled to take place in 2022 and 2023.

The PERiLS project has many contributors from various other universities and federal labs, including the University of Oklahoma, the National Severe Storms Laboratory, Purdue University and the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

The PERiLS project is very specifically targeting tornado production from what we call ‘quasi-linear convective systems,’ or long lines of thunderstorms that often spin up tornadoes in inflection points with very little warning [...] Our mission is much more mobile than in 2018-19. We will place StickNet instruments ahead of these storms a few hours in advance, making crucial measurements of temperature, humidity, wind and pressure fluctuations. - Weiss