When no one thought tornadoes could be predicted there was John Park Finley

When no one thought tornadoes could be predicted there was John Park Finley
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When no one thought tornadoes could be predicted there was John Park Finley
When no one thought tornadoes could be predicted there was John Park Finley

Listen to The Weather Network's This Day in Weather History podcast on this topic, here.

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On Mar. 10, 1884, John Park Finley led the first tornado prediction experiment. Many of his findings are still relevant today. This is how it all begun.

Finley received a Bachelors of Science in 1873 from Michigan State Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Michigan State University. He specialized in climate impacts on agriculture.

John Park Finley in 1913
John Park Finley in 1913

John Park Finley in 1913. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Finley joined the U.S. Army Signal Service and was assigned to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office. There, he started to become interesting in severe weather and tornadoes.

From Philadelphia, Finley was sent to Washington, D.C., where he was often told to survey nearby damage caused by tornadoes.

During this time, no one thought that tornadoes could be predicted. Finley disagreed.

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Finley studies the atmospheric parameters that occurred during tornadoes and published his findings in 1884. He shared five parameters; five very technical parameters. Listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History" to learn more about them, but here's a sample of one of them:

"The study of the relation of tornado regions to the form of barometric depressions seems to show that tornadoes are more frequent when the major axis of the barometric troughs trends north and south, or northeast and southwest, than when it trends east and west."

Finley's parameters illustrated that tornadoes could be predicted, but the word "tornado" was still banned in forecasting until 1952.

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Thumbnail: John Park Finley in 1913. Courtesy of Wikipedia

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