Tornado Alley


Tornado Alley

Now Showing on Select Dates - General Audience

Join Storm Chasers star Sean Casey and the researchers of VORTEX 2, the most ambitious effort ever made to understand the origins and evolution of tornadoes, on this heart-pounding science adventure. Armed with a 70mm camera, a fleet of customized vehicles designed to withstand gale force winds, torrential rains and unrelenting hail, and an arsenal of the most advanced weather measurement instruments ever created, the stars of Tornado Alley take audiences on a thrilling quest to experience a tornado’s destructive power at point blank range. Experience the adrenaline and the science of nature’s most dramatic phenomena!

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According to Dr. Forbes at, Florida is ranked number the one top tornado state. His ranking is based on the states with the highest rate of tornadoes per square mile. The sunshine state has on average 12.3 twisters per 10,000 miles every year. Other states on the list include Kansas, Maryland, Illinois and Mississippi.

What brings Florida to the top of the list?

“Several things contribute to there being a lot of tornadoes in Florida; it’s surrounded by water so they can get tornadoes any month.  Also, Florida is the thunderstorm capital of the United States. It has the most thunderstorms per square mile and some of those storms produce tornadoes,” says Dr. Forbes

Due to Florida’s tendency for hurricanes, tornadoes are formed as they begin to move inland after making initial landfall. With the added threat of the tornadoes during hurricane season Florida is virtually prone to twisters all year round. Tornadoes are a risk close to nine months of the year in Florida because of the combination of tornado season, March to May, and hurricane season, June until the end of November.

What cities are at the top of the list?

Dr. Forbes also ranked the cities with the highest tornado densities. With an average of 7.1 tornadoes per every 1,000 square miles, Clearwater is the top tornado city in the United States. Tampa- St. Petersburg and Melbourne are also ranked among the top 10. Three of the top ten tornado cities in the country are within 100 miles of Orlando! Be sure to have a home emergency supply kit. Some supplies to include in your kit are food, water, batteries, medications, flashlights, glows sticks and a radio.

To learn more about tornadoes and the ability to predict them, don't miss Tornado Alley, premiering March 24 in the Dr. Phillips CineDome.



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The premier of Tornado Alley promises to be an action-packed day!  We'll have our partners from WFTV on hand, as well as Dr. Karen Kosiba from the film.  The complete schedule can be found below:

10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Members only premiere of Tornado Alley

11:15 – 11:30 a.m. Q&A session with Brian Shields, WFTV meteorologist and Dr. Karen Kosiba (appearing in the film), Senior Research Meteorologist, Center for Severe Weather Research

12 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Public showing of Tornado Alley

12:45 – 1:15 p.m. Q&A session following the film with Dr. Kosiba

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Presentation in Darden Theater at 1:30 p.m. with Dr. Kosiba on severe weather

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Second public showing of Tornado Alley

3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Q&A session with Dr. Kosiba

In addition, WFTV meteorologists will be on hand in the WFTV Severe Weather Center 9 exhibit to meet guests and answer questions.  Our own program team will be conducting weather-related demonstrations throughout the day for the whole family to enjoy!

All activities, including the film, are included with membership or a general admission ticket!

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Dr. Karen Kosiba, Senior Research Meteorologist, Center for Severe Weather Research, will be at the Science Center on March 24 and March 25 to introduce Tornado Alley and answer questions from guests.  Dr. Kosiba, one of the film's stars, earned her in 2009 from Purdue University. Her dissertation is entitled: A Comparison of Radar Observations to Real Data Simulations of Axisymmetric Tornadoes. Additionally, she earned a M.A.T. from Miami University and holds an Ohio teaching license in Physics and Earth Science.

Dr. Kosiba is currently an atmospheric scientist at the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, Colorado. Her research mainly focuses on characterizing the low-level wind structure in tornadoes and in hurricanes. This is accomplished through the use of mobile radar observations and numerical modeling.

Here's a video where she discusses some of her work:


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