Towers Can Predict Tornadoes


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According to the Wireless Research Center (WRC) in Wake Forest, North Carolina, cell tower readings could play a role in helping to predict tornadoes. As WRAL-TV reports, researchers have discovered that radio transmissions emitted by 4G and 5G antennas can merge their findings with humidifier readings, quickly noting subtle changes in humidity. This extra data could help meteorologists identify changes in weather patterns even more quickly, potentially saving lives.

Relying on data gathered from weather stations, commonly airports, the National Weather Service currently has about ten minutes to get a warning out before a tornado strikes. By tracking the changes in humidity, the radio transmissions could pinpoint trouble spots even sooner. A grant has been given to the WRC by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to further study the issue.  

“We tend to focus on the wireless technology,” said WRC Scientist Dr. Gerard Hayes. “But that’s the foundation we build on. It’s what makes us engineers,” he continued. “’How do we fix it?’ or ‘How do we make it better?’ are the things we’re always asking.”

“With the weather stations, you have a pixel here and a pixel there,” added WRC senior engineer, Dr. Mike Barts. “Now, we can look at a larger area with more pixels, if you will, so we get a better idea of what the humidity is doing.” Barts pointed out that with the ever increasing number of cell towers available, this radio RF behaviour analysis could be a relatively easy to institute addition to our weather prediction toolkit. 

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