Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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This would work fine, except in terms of success.

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Tornado Tracking Balloons

Real time, real accurate.
 
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An expensive proposition: Utilizing exsisting telephone poles throughout Tornado Alley, bolt small rugged steel boxes on top or side of poles. Box will contain a small instrument package called a radiosonde. The radiosonde is a little larger than a can of soda, and consists of special sensors that take measurements of humidity, temperature, pressure, wind speed and wind direction For power, and two way communciations, tap either into the 24VDC of cable tv systems, or the 48VDC of the telephone lines. Set up your grid lines throughout the region. Data can be monitored back at HQ in the war room, lights, cameras, maps. If the stations conk out, you got problems. Sound the alarms, hell ring the phones, an SOS that can override all phones in use or not in a particular area? And now for the balloons. An F1 is wind speeds starting at 73MPH, mere childs play, at 100MPH or if the pole breaks, (detected by a mercury switch) the box will be triggered open and a small weather balloon will be inflated by a helium canister, lifting the radiosonde from the box to travel with the airmass. Having a battery, GPS and a transmitter, the radiosonde will provide tracking information, the more ballons released, the better. This, combined with modern forecasting and computer modelling, could provide a better warning for people in 'tornado prone areas'.
ty6, May 09 2003

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       I thought someone else had posted an idea for a large grid of pre-installed tornado monitors, but I can't find it now. Seems like a good idea, but there are a heck of a lot of telephone poles out there - are you sure you can do this cheaply enough?
DrCurry, May 09 2003
  

       This sounds an awful lot like a bunch of Dorothys (Dorothies?) from the movie Twister.
tekym, May 11 2003
  
      
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