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WNIJ and NIU STEAM are partnering to create “The Sound of Science,” a weekly series explaining important science, technology, engineering and math concepts using sound. The feature will air at 1:04 p.m. Fridays as a lead-in to Science Friday.The Sound of Science is made possible by Ken Spears Construction

The Sound of Science - 'Severe Weather'

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KC: You're listening to the Sound of Science on WNIJ, I'm K.C. and today we welcome Dr. Victor Gensini from Northern Illinois University to talk about tornados.

Dr. Gensini: Good to be here. I am excited to talk with you about one of my favorite things, for me, not for most people, but severe storms and tornados so thanks so much for having me on today.

KC: Now after a slow start to the 2021 severe weather season, it looks like this year's activity could increase as we enter the summer. What is it about this year that could cause more tornados?

Dr. Gensini: That's a great question. A couple of the things we look at every year to determine how activie spring and summer will be for severe weather are really water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. This year they are much colder than normal. We call that La Nina conditions. Typically speaking, La Nina conditions lead to very active spring and summer conditions for severe storms, including hail and tornados. We just saw this a couple days ago with some significant hail across Oklahoma and Texas in what is most likely to be one of the top five most costly days from hail activity in the United States. So we're off to a rather slow start but looking ahead as we go into May, it looks like things are going to ramp up pretty significantly.

KC: That was a terrible storm in Texas, and the gorrila hail was crazy with that. Join us next week as we talk with Dr. Gensini about tornado alley. Or does tornado alley even really exist? This has been the Sound of Science on WNIJ.

Dr. Gensini: Where you learn something new every day.

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