Surprise Tornadoes form from the ground up

first_imgChris Machian/Omaha World-Herald/AP Photo Surprise! Tornadoes form from the ground up These findings have important implications for how weather forecasters issue tornado warnings, the researchers suggest. That’s because forecasters often rely on measurements of wind speeds high up in clouds. Because wind might already be swirling at dangerous speeds near the ground, weather warnings might be tardy in sounding the alarm for tornado-strength winds. By Katherine KorneiDec. 13, 2018 , 6:00 PM Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Call Dorothy—the formation of tornadoes has been knocked on its head. New measurements from tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas suggest these storms’ swirling winds first develop near the ground. That’s contrary to the long-accepted theory that tornado winds are born several kilometers up in clouds and only later touch down on Earth’s surface.Researchers analyzed four tornadoes, including a monster known as El Reno (shown above), which holds the record as the widest tornado ever measured, at 4.2 kilometers. They noticed something odd when they compared radar measurements that tracked wind speed with hundreds of photographs and videos of El Reno taken by storm chasers: The storm’s funnel was already on the ground several minutes before the radar data—taken roughly 250 meters off the ground—recorded any rotation.Out of curiosity, the scientists reanalyzed radar measurements taken near the ground. (A hilltop vantage point during the storm serendipitously allowed the team to scan close to the ground without the interfering effects of trees and telephone poles.) They found rapid rotation near the ground before it appeared higher up, a pattern that was confirmed in three other tornadoes, as they will report tomorrow at the semiannual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img

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