Facebook Spawns New Tornado Data

Tornado damage from Athens could land in Virginia, researchers say

Screen shot 2013-03-21 at 4.45.28 PMAthens, Ga (GradyNewSource) – New tornado research conducted by the University of Georgia indicates a tornado could toss debris as far as 220 miles from its point of origin. That’s further than previously thought.

The project started when Alabama resident Patty Bullion compiled a Facebook page containing images of debris scattered across the region by tornadoes in February of 2011. Using the images, the UGA team compiled a scientific database and used mapping software to pinpoint the takeoff and landing points of 934 found-and-returned objects.

“A big heavy object – a five foot high metal sign – traveled 50 miles from a little town in Mississippi called Smithville to to a town in Alabama called Russellville,” Dr. John Knox says.

Knox, an associate professor in the Geography department faculty member of the Atmospheric Sciences program, was assisted by 11 students on the research, which was published online by the American Metrological Society.

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