Ask Storm Team 11: Why do you find tornadoes within tropical systems?

Ask Storm Team 11

Tuesday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question is: “Why do tropical systems have tornadoes?”

Simply put, the extra spin in the atmosphere created by a tropical storm or hurricane makes for a better chance of tornadoes even several days after landfall. The remnants of Hurricane Laura even spawned a couple tornadoes in middle Tennessee.

Oftentimes the worst weather, including the best chance of tornadoes, occurs on the eastern side of the storm.

One of the primary reasons you’ll find tornadoes in some of the rain bands in tropical systems is the quick change in wind speed and direction with height. That is called wind shear. As hurricanes or tropical storms move over land, winds higher up remain quite strong while winds near the ground become weaker as the storm moves away from water, which is its energy source.

Wind shear helps to form a rotating column of air which can lead to tornadoes. 

Have a question for Storm Team 11? Click here to submit!

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