Whichever way the wind blows, scientists and engineers try to find ways to protect people and property


  • Randy Showstack


Timothy Marshall, a failure and damage consultant with the Haag Engineering Company in Dallas, Texas, possesses a passion for storm chasing. On the afternoon of May 3, 1999, with atmospheric conditions creating a potentially explosive situation, Marshall drove several hours north to central Oklahoma to spot tornadoes. A storm started blowing up near Lawton and moved parallel to Interstate 44, with Marshall ahead of it in his Chevy pickup. He parked on the Newcastle overpass bridge, videotaping the long-tracked twister for later study At 7:04 p.m. local time, with the vortex now just one mile away and moving straight toward him, it started appearing three-dimensional, debris and projectiles flying about, the tornado roaring like freight trains, wind howling, red mud raining down, and things “getting a little out of hand,” Marshall recalled. He drove out of its path, only to watch the tornado tear through the suburban streets and houses of Moore, on its way to Oklahoma City.