NEWTON:Sensing and Predicting Tornados
Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week NEWTON Teachers Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Referencing NEWTON Frequently Asked Questions About Ask A Scientist About NEWTON Education At Argonne Sensing and Predicting Tornados

Name: Rosie
Status: student
Grade: K-3
Country: Austria
Date: Summer 2013

What devices do people/scientists use to know if a tornado/twister is coming?

Here in Oklahoma, we depend on radar for a warning. A kind of radar, very much like what police use to catch speeding drivers, shows us when the storm starts twisting to form a tornado.

When there are storms around we watch the television or even the Internet. We also have sirens that shriek whenever a tornado is near. They also broadcast warnings over all our radio stations.

Hope this helps. Bob Avakian Tulsa, OK

Hi Rosie,

Meteorologists are people who study weather and tornadoes. Meteorologists use radar and computers to predict when and where a tornado will occur. However, the methods are not always accurate and cannot predict all tornadoes.

I hope this helps. Thanks Jeff Grell

There are of course, visual sightings, but for a predictive model a tool called Doppler Radar is used to detect the anticlockwise motion of cloud cover. That is what the weather reports and warnings to find a safe place come from.

Vince Calder

Click here to return to the Weather Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 223
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: November 2011
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory