AZUZ: The U.S. which has the planet's most extreme weather is currently in the midst of tornado season. It generally runs from March to June, though meteorologists point out that tornadoes can form at any time of year.
Much of their research has been based on storms in the Midwest. But because the Southeastern U.S. has an excessively large number of deadly tornadoes, a U.S. government program called VORTEX Southeast is focused on that part of the country.
SUBTITLE: Storm chasing in the Southeast.
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: VORTEX Southeast is very different from chasing in the Plains. There's a lot of parameters that are going to be involved. For one, these tornadoes could fire up after dark.
Also, there's an element of danger because unlike the Plains, you can see from miles and miles. The terrain is very difference. You have a lot of hills and you have a lot of trees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as this warning convection clears out, we will try to cover very quickly.
GRAY: We had our morning briefing. So, we're fairly confident about what's going to happen this afternoon.
CHRIS WEISS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, TEXAS TECH: So, we think there'll be more thunderstorms. The question is, where exactly are they going to form?
We think there's some tornado potential as storms do form this afternoon out to our west.
GRAY: And so, we're about to head out to see what we can find. We have some important decisions to make about exactly where to go and what time we are going to deploy those instruments.
Well, here we are in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. And we're just waiting. And that's what happens a lot of times when you're storm chasing. We're waiting on these storms to fire up and then we're going to react to them. While we are waiting, the crew is back there, they're analyzing what's going on and trying to make the best decision of what to do next.
SUBTITLE: Crews decipher real-time weather data to make a decision of where to move.
WEISS: The question is what, say 45 minutes go by, and the storms look no bigger than it is right now and we have to make a decision to go east, give it more time, go south to try to catch more.
SUBTITLE: With enough information about the current environment, crews make the choice to deploy to the north.
Chasers deploy 8 sticknets ahead of the storm. It takes under7 minutes to deploy a sticknet.
GRAY: You can see the storm tht we're targeting right behind me. So, we rode out in front of the storm and we're putting out our sticknets.
They're basically weather stations. They're going to tell you temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, as well as pressure. And within minutes, we will have the data, not only to use today, but in the future to do research on these storms.
WEISS: What we're looking at here are actually, this is live data from the probes we just deployed over the last half hour, extending from our position back up to the north, so we can see the temperature, the viewpoints, as well as the air pressure, and the wind direction and wind speed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're headed out of here.
GRAY: This information is not only coming from the Texas Tech team, but from a host of field scientists. It will take months to go through the data, but in the end, the risk these storm chasers are taking will eventually help save lives.