This past April, Scott Olson touched down in Bangladesh to become the country's first known storm chaser. On the other side of the world, back in Oklahoma, Tim Vasquez and a team of meteorologists worked tirelessly to put together accurate forecasts to help Olson get into the thick of the country's notoriously elusive thunderstorms.
Author and forecaster Tim Vasquez chronicles the team's journey in this year's first issue of Weatherwise magazine, delving deeper into this meteorological phenomenon that tends to wreak havoc on everything that crosses its path.
Vasquez explains that the South Asian country of Bangladesh, located between India and Burma (Myanmar), is a focal point of tornadoes in the Eastern Hemisphere. The country, along with much of eastern India, is traditionally known for its unusually violent thunderstorms.
The chasers faced multiple hurdles that stood in the way of their expedition, including the country's blinding haze and poor road networks, as well as a lack of accurate data to predict the weather patterns.
Vasquez is confident that Olson will not be the only person to journey to Bangladesh to learn more about their storms.
"I have no doubt others will follow in his footsteps as Bangladesh tornadoes become seen as the ultimate challenge," Vasquez said.
Vasquez hopes the growing notoriety of these storms will lead to better warnings and heightened safety and security measures that will aid in preparation for the powerful storms.
"The government mandate to warn the population is not quite in place because of practical and financial concerns," Vasquez explains. "More chase activity and publicity surrounding the storms of Bangladesh, and a better ability to get people out of harm's way with lots of lead-time may be what is needed to channel awareness and international funds into the Bangladesh tornado problem and begin saving lives there."
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