Advances in Tornado Technology Hampered by Lack of Public Funding
By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Tornadoes are a scary reality that can be tremendously devastating to communities. Emergency managers do their best to plan for these types of emergencies and to muster all the resources communities would need to minimize the massive damage caused by tornadoes.
Scientists have devised equipment and theories that could potentially stop a tornado in its tracks. But with so many different occupations and interest groups involved in tornado research, it is difficult to get adequate funding for specific projects. Consequently, researchers have left some great ideas on the drawing table.
Scientists Still Developing New Theories on Tornado Formation
Several agencies in the United States focus on understanding tornadoes. The National Storm System Laboratory studies tornadoes in a comprehensive fashion. This agency reviews the dynamics of a storm, storm prevention and a variety of other important factors for understanding tornadoes and how to better protect citizens from them.
Some of the most interesting aspects of tornado science are the prevention methods that detail how to break up a tornado in its wake. According to the National Storm System Laboratory, temperature is not necessarily a factor in the formation of a tornado, based on the recent research from NSSL’s research project VORTEX2. This research allows scientists to think about tornado formation differently.
New Technology Could Minimize the Effects of Tornadoes
Scientists have come up with numerous technologies that could drastically minimize the effects of tornadoes. For example, one idea is to create balloon systems to assist in tornado forecasting.
There have been further advances in Doppler technology, too. These advances have been tremendous, and have certainly been needed to help prevent the loss of life and death.
Disaster Management Funding Often Disappears from Municipal Budgets
Among the biggest hurdles to emergency management and disaster science are its associated costs and budgets. Emergency management funding is often one of the first things to get cut from a municipal or state government budget. That makes it difficult for emergency managers to get new technologies funded, even though the technology is desperately needed to protect communities.
Adequate funding is one of the most difficult conundrums emergency management faces in today’s economic climate. New technologies could save lives, but they are just not affordable for myriad reasons.
Many emergency managers put in for grants to help cover costs or ask their local governments for special funding to purchase such technologies. The procedures for emergency managers to handle this task are well defined. The difficulty lies in finding the right balance of requests at an affordable price.
Unfortunately, purchasing equipment to manage the effects of dangerous tornadoes and storm systems is a very complicated budgetary decision, despite the lives and property it saves.