How the Totable Tornado Observatory Worked

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.

Now, test your knowledge with these quizzes!

  • The Ultimate Thermometer Quiz
  • Fact or Fiction: Tornado Quiz
  • Fact or Fiction: Hurricane Quiz
  • The Ultimate Rainbow Quiz

Check out these image galleries!