Stepping out with the STEPS Project...
    on the trail of supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes!

   For the past month, teams of researchers from NOAA's National Severe Storms Lab. (site of the live uplink during the second LIVE FROM THE STORM program) and the National Weather Service have been working with scientific stormchasers from universities and other government agencies on STEPS--the "Severe Thunderstorm Electrification and Precipitation Studies" field program. They've roamed the Colorado-Kansas border and the High Plains in search of the awesome storms known as "supercells," some of which--in a process still not well understood--spawn tornadoes.

   For 10 days P2K videographer Brian Igelman rode--literally--with them, as they put hundreds of miles on the odometers of their specially equipped vehicles in an attempt to get up close to some of nature's most impressive clouds. Now you can see some of what they saw--thanks to our partners at IBM, Avid Technologies and Yahoo! Broadcast, who have supported P2K with brand-new editing and streaming software, which allows producers like P2K to edit late-breaking video quickly and easily on the road, in hotel rooms and on the fly, and immediately stream it via the Internet.

Find out more about the STEPS Project

See and hear from the STEPS researchers

hail-damaged winshield
Chase car windshield shattered
by severe weather

Stormchasers on the Road!
See what it's like to pursue supercell thunderstorms with a posse of scientific stormchasers...

  • NSSL's Daphne Zaras--why it's important to always keep your gas tank full...

Thunderstorm supercell
The "Mother Ship" cloud formed by
a rotating supercell storm

Supercell Thunderstorm!
Witness a vast "mothership" cloud system that would not be out of place in a Hollywood sci-fi movie, a true wonder of nature built out of water vapor and air in motion!

  • Daphne Zaras describes the rotating cloud.

  • NSSL/University of Oklahoma researcher Paul Markowski
     defines a "supercell".

Tornadic Clouds
Rainshaft under a menacing supercell storm

Target the Tornado!
Watch as the STEPS team targets a storm that triggers a classic, rope-like tornado, which--fortunately--hits only open country and harms no one...

  • VORTEX director and STEPS researcher Erik Rasmussen on
     how lightning, supercells and tornadoes are related.

Tornadic Clouds
On the road in heavy rain

Scenes from the 1995-1999 "Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment"--a predecessor of "STEPS"

  • Daphne Zaras: when you've seen "rotation" you'll know it!

Coming soon, additional comments from some of the STEPS researchers explaining what you're seeing!

For more on thunder and lighting, thunderstoms and tornadoes, check out the WHAT and WHY sections of this site."

For more on STEPS and its participants, you're invited to visit the field program's website,
and follow links to NOAA, NSF and NCAR.

   This experiment in fast-turnaround video streaming from a scientific field experiment has been made possible by the generous support of IBM, Avid Technologies and Yahoo! Broadcast in hardware, software and consulting, as well as the cooperation of the NOAA/NSF "STEPS" project. P2K thanks all participants for their assistance!
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