November 20, 2014
TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Once considered the stuff of science fiction and Hollywood flicks, the capability to send unmanned aircraft into the guts of a dangerous storm system is becoming reality.
The drones are being designed and built at Oklahoma State University.
The Kevlar-reinforced drones would be sent into the nation's worst storms to send back real-time data to first responders and forecasters about how fierce the storms might become - and whether they'll form tornadoes.
Designers estimate that they could be in operation in roughly five years.
Oklahoma is the heart of Tornado Alley and since 1950 has had seven EF5 tornadoes with winds over 200 mph. Two of those have hit the town of Moore, where 24 died in such a storm on May 20.
Alabama has also had seven EF5 storms.