Totable Tornado Observatory: Cheat Sheet

Stuff You Need to Know

  • Because of an unusual phenomenon known as dryline, the United States is nearly the exclusive setting for tornado activity in the world.
  • In 1979, two NOAA scientists stuffed a 55-gallon (208-liter) steel drum with thermometers, pressure gauges, an anemometer and a dew point sensor. This was the first TOTO.
  • TOTO weighed 400 pounds (181 kilograms) but could be deployed in 30 seconds.
  • After six years of near-misses and one bull's eye, TOTO was retired from service and sits in the lobby of the National Weather Service building in Norman, Okla.

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