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Tornado Probe (TP-01)


Figure 1. Tornado Probe (TP-01) Schematics.

In 2023 a prototype ‘probe’ was developed and built to sustain tornadic winds. The probe is mounted with a weather station to measure wind speeds, wind direction, pressure, temperature and humidity (RH) with a 360-degree array of 4k high-resolution action cameras attempting to capture data inside supercells. The tornado probe or “TP-01”, will be deployed to attempt to measure the first pressure drop inside a Canadian tornado, inspired by the work of Samaras et al. (2004) in the United States. However, previous work was taken measurements directly at ground level, while TP-01 will measure the atmospheric variables at a one-metre height AGL. To do so, TP-01 will have 9” spikes going into the ground for anchoring. The calculated estimated wind speed failure of TP-01 is 238km/h (EF2 tornado). TP-01 will also be equipped with four (4) high-resolution 4k waterproof action cameras, which will provide a 360-degree view inside the tornado. The prototype is designed to be transported into a small pickup truck (Figure 2) by via a custom-built transportation / deployment device mounted in the truck bed. Since the prototype is 6ft tall, it needed to be engineered in a way that the instrument is foldable (to adhere to transportation safety laws), while maintaining the integrity of the instrument and with the ability to deploy it quickly in-the-field (deployment time is ~45s with two people). The flexible legs and spike system is designed for the user to simply apply minimal force by stepping on each leg to penetrate the ground and the spike system applies outward force on the ground, locking it in place. This design allows the prototype to be in the form of a tower and equipment to be mounted in a camera tripod fashion, to give a one-metre-high view of the desired project outcome. Therefore, unlike previous camera array systems, which only provided ground level recordings, TP-01 can be deployed in any terrain and at any location, and be free of obstructions such as crops, tall grass, fences, cars, debris, flash floods, etc, meanwhile having a design that minimizes wind load failures. The prototype is versatile, easily deployable and can hold a multitude of different scientific instruments at various heights.


Figure 2. Tornado Probe (TP-01) transportation system.

Project Goals

Primary Goals
Secondary Goals
Tertiary Goals
  • efficiently construct and deploy a probe in-the-field in 2023

  • record a direct “hit” by a Canadian supercell

  • record a direct "hit" by a Canadian tornado

  • collect meteorological data from instruments on probe(s)

  • be the first researchers to get a tornado “hit” on an instrument probe in Canadian

  • be the first Canadian researcher to measure a significant pressure drop inside a tornado

Project Documentation

We understand that TP-01 and/or project outcomes such as the collected field data may have interest to the scientific community. Therefore, in an effort to encourage and promote scientific advancements, we are proud to provide all our project documentation and data in an open-source format. The data is made available in the folders below. As is standard, please credit the principal investigator and inventor of this project in your research 'Francis Lavigne-Thériault' and use images that contain the NZP Chasers™ logo. Interested in collaborating or have any questions? Please email

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