How does a tornado form?

WEATHER: Like It or Not!

Larry Mowry Image
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
WEATHER: Like It or Not? How tornadoes form
Meteorologist Larry Mowry explains why weather conditions need to be just right in order to form a tornado.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Have you ever wondered how a tornado forms? Well, conditions have to be just right to get a tornado.

When you look at a strong thunderstorm, there are wind patterns that come together to make the storm stronger.

First, you have a warm inflow of moist air that fuels the storm itself. In a strong storm, you have cool air rushing out of the rear of the storm called the rear flank downdraft.

When these two wind patterns come together at the right alignment, a wall cloud can form. A wall cloud is a lowering of the cloud base where the air is rising up into the thunderstorm.

That wall cloud will rotate if the wind field is favorable for it to spin. If that rotation tightens up, a tornado could form from that wall cloud.

But again, the wind pattern has to be just right to get a tornado to form.


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