NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tornadoes are a destructive form of severe weather that can happen at any time during the year. Much of the time, these violent rotating columns of air do little damage. However, some tornadoes leave a path of death and destruction in their wake. But, have you ever wondered what conditions lead to their formation?
First there needs to be a thunderstorm. Supercell thunderstorms are the most likely to produce a tornado. Around 30 percent of supercell thunderstorms produce a tornado.
Next, there need to be winds blowing at different directions from the surface to the upper levels. This is known as wind shear. Wind shear produces a horizontal rotation that can become stretched out and vertical when it meets up with the vertical motion produced by a thunderstorm’s updraft. When this happens, a tornado can form.
There are of course other factors at play when it comes to tornado formation, but this is the basic process in which tornadoes form.
Whenever atmospheric conditions are favorable for tornadic development, a Tornado Watch is put into place. On days where warm moist air at the surface is meeting up with cool and dry air aloft, that the atmosphere is primed for tornado development.
At News 2, we watch Stormtracker radar closely for any signs of rotation whenever conditions are favorable for tornado development. Our goal is to keep you safe. Having a plan in place is important. Go to the lowest level of your home, a room without windows is your best bet. Then, protect your head and neck.
Severe Weather Awareness Week in Tennessee is February 23rd – 29th. The News 2 Weather Authority has special reports for you all week. On Wednesday, Chief Meteorologist Danielle Breezy brings you the stories of Storm Survivors. You’ll meet people from across Middle Tennessee who came face-to-face with deadly storms, as they share the lessons taken away from their close calls.