Researchers prepare to launch an experimental weather balloon in Alabama in 2022. Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Feb. 8 (UPI) -- A campaign run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor the severity of storms is entering its second year, NOAA confirmed Wednesday.
NOAA will use dozens of instruments to measure the atmosphere near and inside storms as part of the Propagation, Evolution and Rotation in Linear Storms campaign.
The National Science Foundation and NOAA are jointly funding the project, which focuses on the increasing ferocity of storms in the southeastern United States.
The program's goal is to "better understand the deadly storms in this region." The campaign will take researchers through seven states, while NOAA calls it "one of the largest and most comprehensive severe storm field projects to date."
Researchers will collect the data until May 8.
More that 200 tornadoes have been reported in the country so far this year, causing 14 fatalities.
Meteorologists warned Wednesday of severe weather from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi Valley across the south-central United States.
"The rapid evolution of storms in the Southeast poses a unique challenge for researchers and forecasters, National Science Foundation principal investigator Karen Kosiba said in a statement.
"PERiLS scientists hope to learn more about the complex ways in which these tornadoes form. If we can learn how, why, when and where they will form, then we can make better predictions, more precise and longer-lead time warnings and save lives."
NOAA will use some 30 teams in the field to measure several different parameters.
"We are collecting an unprecedented data set to better understand tornadic storms in the Southeast, the environments in which they form and the damage they leave behind," PERiLS coordinating scientist Anthony Lyza said in a statement.