Weather School: Hurricane-Induced Tornadoes

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Recently I had a visit from Madelyn Tucker, a loyal viewer and prospective meteorologist. I gave her a tour of our facilities and explained the complexities of eastern North Carolina weather. She has a keen interest in hurricanes, and wanted to know why hurricanes often spawn tornadoes. One of the key ingredients in tornado formation is wind shear, which can be defined as a change in wind speed or direction over a given distance. In hurricanes, the vertical wind shear is very strong at low altitudes, increasing the chance of tornado formation. In 1967, powerful hurricane Beulah made landfall near the Texas border, spawning a record 115 tornadoes. While such a high number is not common, it does remind us that storm surge is not the only threat from a landfalling hurricane.

 

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