In the Eye of the Storm

Kelsey Ellis Tornado

Kelsey Ellis, assistant professor, is a physical geographer specializing in applied meteorology and climatology. In her research she uses a variety of statistical and spatial analysis methods in order to advance understanding of tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and human-environment interactions.

Currently, she is a collaborator on a project associated with VORTEX-SE (Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment-Southeast), administered by the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL),a federal research laboratory under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

VORTEX-SE’s research goals are to understand how environmental factors characteristic of the Southeastern U.S. affect the formation, intensity, structure and path characteristics of tornadoes for this region, to determine the best methods for communicating forecast uncertainty, and to evaluate public response.

Tornadoes in the southeast are more fatal than other locations. Professor Ellis will be using Tennessee as a case study to provide insight into the issue of tornado fatalities in this region. Due to the high number of nocturnal tornadoes, the wide range of tornado frequencies across the state, and great socioeconomic diversity, Tennessee provides a unique, yet representative, location to conduct this research.

Read more about Kelsey Ellis and her research.

Originally published in the 2016 issue of Place Matters, the newsletter of the Department of Geography