Media Tip Sheet: Tornadoes

Note to Reporters: With the devastating tornadoes in the South, Colorado State University is making several experts available to discuss how tornadoes form and research on improving systems for tornado detection. This tip sheet is for media use only and is not intended for publication.

Tornado detection and warning systems

V. “Chandra” Chandrasekar professor of electrical and computer engineering, has helped develop a critical network of radar systems for deployment across the country, including a system that has been tested for several years in Oklahoma’s tornado alley and is being installed this summer in a major metropolitan area (Dallas-Fort Worth) for the first time. Chandra has been a key CSU player in the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, or CASA – an Engineering Research Center that is developing the network. He is the leader of the sensing thrust of the project and also the deputy director for CASA. He is the co-principal investigator for the CSU-CHILL National Radar facility as well as a member of the remote sensing research team at NASA. To speak with Chandra, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.

How tornadoes form

Dan Lindsey, an atmospheric researcher with CSU’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, can talk about key forecasting factors with tornadoes such as moisture, low-pressure systems, clouds and supercells. To speak with Lindsey, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.

Weather observation and historical climate data

Colorado State University State Climatologist Nolan Doesken is available to discuss snow totals and impacts on drought, weather observation, historical climate data, precipitation and seasonal weather patterns. He also can address agricultural, recreational, hydrologic and industrial applications of climate information. Doesken’s 36 years of professional experience in weather research, climate studies, data acquisition, analysis and archiving provides him the expertise to address a wide variety of climate-related questions. He can also talk about the statewide volunteer network, called the Community Collaborative Rain, Snow and Hail Network, that improves precipitation monitoring and helps provide detailed storm analysis, drought, water supply and other water decision-making information to municipalities, homeowners, industries, utility providers, resource managers and educators. To speak with Doesken, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or