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Scientists Know How Tornadoes Form, But They Are Hard To Predict

"Deadly tornadoes have been ripping through parts of the Unites States for weeks. Storms have been leaving a trail of destruction from Texas all the way up to Maryland, and on Monday, 52 tornadoes may have touched down across eight states, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."

"Patrick Marsh, a meteorologist at the NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, says it's unusual to have this kind of sustained tornado activity."

"'We've had long stretches where we've had tornadoes over a long period of time, but the difference was we'd have a day or two here or there where we kind of had a reprieve. We're not seeing the reprieve this time, and that's what makes this outbreak so unique,' he tells All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro."

"Scientists know how the storms are created, but, he says, it's nearly impossible to predict where a tornado will touch down — and they don't have enough data to attribute the recent outbreaks to climate change."

"'I would love to be able to tell somebody, 'You know, tomorrow there's going to be a tornado that's going to go through downtown Oklahoma City.' But the atmosphere is inherently chaotic, and I don't know if we'll ever be able to get there,' he says."


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