SOURCE: Tempest Tours, Inc.

Tempest Tours, Inc.

February 11, 2009 13:45 ET

Storm Chaser Believes Global Warming Responsible for Early Activity in Tornado Alley

ARLINGTON, TX--(Marketwire - February 11, 2009) - 22-year veteran storm chaser Martin Lisius tracked the supercell thunderstorm that produced tornadoes in the Texas-Oklahoma Red River area yesterday. He believes that global warming is causing earlier severe weather activity on the US Southern Plains.

"Over the past several years, I've seen an earlier arrival of spring, particularly in North Texas and Oklahoma," Lisius said. "March used to be what we considered the start of tornado season here, but February is looking more like March did. I'm even planting my tomatoes a little earlier each year."

Lisius believes global warming is responsible for warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico, the fuel that drives severe weather in Tornado Alley each spring. He says yesterday's outbreak of violent weather was caused by an intense upper level system that clashed with Gulf air that was warmer and moister than usual for February.

Lisius was waiting for storms to form northwest of Dallas-Ft. Worth yesterday afternoon. "It was just a matter of time before a storm developed east of the dryline and moved into moist air that had pooled along the Red River," he said. "The storm I intercepted tracked northeast toward the river where it produced a tornado near Belcherville. It then crossed the Red River into Oklahoma and produced a killer tornado near Lone Grove."

Lisius says that citizens of Tornado Alley need to be prepared for an earlier severe weather season in the coming years. "We live in an environment that experiences a high frequency of dangerous weather," he says. "We simply have to be ready for it whenever it threatens." Lisius is not committed to either a natural or man-made cause for the current global warming trend but says both are plausible.

Lisius is founder of Tempest Tours, a company that specializes in storm chasing expeditions. Guests from around the world sign up for tours that typically sell out, a result of the company's success intercepting tornadoes (90 since 2003). Lisius also serves as chairman of the Texas Severe Storms Association (TESSA), a non-profit dedicated to severe weather education and host of the annual National Storm Conference. In addition, Lisius created StormStock, the world's largest storm footage library, in 1993.

Persons interested in storm chasing with Tempest Tours can register on-line at the company's web site, www.tempesttours.com.

Photos available for use with this press release at www.tempesttours.com/media_resource_center.html or upon request.

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