Ask Storm Team 11: What is wind shear?

Ask Storm Team 11

Today’s Ask Storm Team 11 questions is, “What is wind shear?” 

Wind shear is a change in speed or direction of winds as you go up into the atmosphere. Wind shear is a key factor when forecasting severe weather.  

When strong wind shear is present, it aides in the development of tornadoes or even hail. On the flip side, strong wind shear actually suppresses tropical development. 

Directional wind shear can interact in a way to cause rotation horizontally. With the help of updraft winds from thunderstorms, the horizontal rotation can turn vertical. This is how wind shear can produce tornadoes. 

Speed wind shear can assist in disorganizing tropical systems. It is vital a hurricane remains vertically aligned, but wind shear can ruin that and weaken a tropical system.  

Ask Storm Team 11 your questions!

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