Tornado Formation: Tropical systems can develop tornadoes

Weather News

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts has been at risk of tornadoes Tuesday with several tornado warnings earlier.

Tornadoes and tropical systems typically go together. The area to the east and northeast of the center of Tropical Storm Isaias or the front right quadrant of any tropical system is usually where those tornadoes develop.

The reason there’s such a high chance of them coming ashore with a tropical storm or hurricane is because the winds higher in the atmosphere are very strong, but those winds get slowed down when they go over terrain or land so you get slower winds down near the surface and stronger winds higher in the atmosphere.

That changing wind speed with height is called wind shear and it helps to develop a rotating column of air. Any updrafts with a thunderstorm helps to bend that rotating horizontal column and flip it vertically that could lead to enough rotation to develop a wall cloud and tighten up to develop a tornado.

It’s all the wind shear, which is very high during a tropical storm or hurricane and that really increases the chances of tornadoes.

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