The Lolo Project: Can We Accurately Predict Tornadoes?

Backed by Dorothy - and Will
Hawai`i, USA
Honolulu, Hawaii
Raised of $3,864 Goal
Ended on 9/24/14
Campaign Ended
  • $50
  • 2%
  • Finished
    on 9/24/14

About This Project

The ultimate goal of The LoLo Project is accurately predict the path of a tornado prior to cone formation. We intend on doing so by taking a new approach focused on ground level pressure, temperature, and humidity. This tornado machine is the first of many experiments that will provide visual and numerical support of this idea. If found to be correct, we eventually plan to create a ground level monitoring system; enhancing weather forecasting.

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What is the context of this research?

Currently, meteorologist are still attempting to understand what tornadoes truly are. Even with present day technology,very little data exists pertaining to conditions inside a tornado. Due to this lack of knowledge, predicting these storms is challenging. If fact, present lead time (the AVERAGE time from which a tornado on the ground reaches your location) is 13 minutes. This has resulted in annual loss of life and property in tornado prone areas.

After significant, in depth research I have concluded that a few factors have been over-looked. Broadly, tornadoes are defined as very violent, localized windstorms. Basic meteorology teaches that wind is a result of horizontal air movement from high to low pressure. If this is so, then all tornadoes are are columns of extreme low pressure.

What is the significance of this project?

The timing of this could not be any better. Every year, the U.S. mid-west (portions nicknamed tornado alley) brace for tornadoes causing millions of dollars in damage and costing hundreds of lives.

Even with present technology meteorologist still don't understand what these storms really are and how they work. This in return has caused present warning systems to give residents an AVERAGE of 13 minutes to get to safety. If we find that my hypothesis is supported through experimentation we can increase warning times.

With this, The Lolo Project plans to create a low-cost ground level monitoring system so meteorologist have the tools to make predictions. As we advance in this, future infrastructure can be redesigned to withstand pressure variations saving residents lives and money.

What are the goals of the project?

Our immediate goals are to construct a tornado machine that visually mimics a tornado and can provide accurate numerical reports of conditions inside the machine to verify the behavior of the vortex. We intend to use micro-controllers and self-written software (most likely C++) to record our data for future reference.

By including misters, heating/cooling coils, fans, and inter-changeable ground material, we can mimic multiple scenarios to test the behavior of a vortex under different conditions; enhancing our results.

Although, pricey, the design is intended to be solid and able to provide professional results. The factors we are focused on exceeds just visual behavior (although that factor is still of importance) resulting in advanced features needed to complete our experiment.


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In order to test our hypothesis, we need to build an advanced machine that allows us to obtain numerical and visual results. Because of this, we have designed a machine that uses micro-controllers and self-written software to record numerical conditions inside of the tornado machine. Inter-changeable ground material, fans, misters, and heating/cooling coils allow for more "true to life conditions". A light-weight fog machine has been placed at the top of the machine to allow for cone viability. Control valves will all allow us to control the amount of fog is emitted, limiting our room for error when testing multiple climate conditions.

We have provided a list of products that will allow us to build a solid, advanced machine meeting the needs of this experiment.

Meet the Team

April Vogt
April Vogt

Team Bio

For me the study of meteorology is not just a career path, it is a passion. I have been passionate about tornadoes and severe weather since I was about 8. This has lead me to doing immense amounts of independent research over the years. At 24, this has paid off. After collaborating both my personal research and academic exposure I discovered that predicting tornadoes may be correlated to ground level temperature, pressure, and humidity. If I am correct, this could be the meteorological break through scientist have been waiting for.

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Press and Media

The following links are stories the media has published about our project:

Additional Information

The Official 'Lo'Lo Project Website
More Information about the Tornado Machine

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Project Backers

  • 2Backers
  • 2%Funded
  • $50Total Donations
  • $25.00Average Donation
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