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2009 saw the beginning of Vortex 2, the largest tornado research experiment in history. The Vortex project brings together scientists from all over the United States as they team up various radars, probes and other measuring instruments. The first Vortex project was held in the mid 90s and has been 15 years until the initiation of Vortex 2.
So far this season Vortex 2 has been unlucky, as 2009 has been one of the quietest tornado seasons of late with minimal activity in May, which is usually the peak month for tornado development. This was due to the jet stream remaining north and over Canada instead of dipping south as it typically does during May of each year. Though the good news is that it seems the season is just late and some good late season activity is possible.
On the 5 June 2009, Vortex 2 intercepted their first tornado of the 2009 season- and it was a beauty. They witnessed the formation of a great tornado from a text book supercell. This tornado was on the ground for over 15 minutes and surely provided some great data sets to the researchers involved. It may be just what was needed for understanding tornadoes better in the lower areas of the atmosphere.
This whole event was captured live on The Weather Channel. What may be the most amazing and detailed video on a tornado formation and life cycle