– Why can we not predict tornadoes the same way we can hurricanes?

169 views

It seems we can monitor hurricanes weeks out before most even form and pinpoint their rough destination. Why can we not monitor the winds and temperatures in land and know tornadoes are likely to form in a certain area; outside of 30 minutes before hand?

In: 3

3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

(Its been a minute since I took an extreme weather course) but bottom line is, we kinda do. As best we can.

Tornados form when hot and cold air mix together at abrupt extremes. We can watch hot and cold fronts and can tell when they may mix dangerously, as well as monitor wind speeds. If conditions are right for a tornado to form, a tornado watch is issued, as in “hey, watch out for a tornado”. A tornado *warning* occurs when a tornado is confirmed to have actually formed and made in existence.

There are too many factors involved to be specific with timing or location, so we can’t yet “count down” to a tornado’s formation. And even if we could, some tornados only touch down for a moment or two before dissipating.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Hurricanes and tornadoes are completely different phenomena. Hurricanes are very large storms that take days to form The conditions that spawn tornadoes are much more immediate and transient.

Anonymous 0 Comments

> Why can we not monitor the winds and temperatures in land and know tornadoes are likely to form in a certain area; outside of 30 minutes before hand?

I mean, we can. Tornado watches are a thing–they’re advisories put out by the weather service that indicate that a weather system passing over an area is producing conditions that either potentially can or are likely to produce tornadoes. (A tornado “warning”, on the other hand, means that a tornado has actually formed).

But the thing is, tornadoes are quick. Not every storm capable of producing them is going to produce them, and most of them last for a few [minutes](https://www.britannica.com/question/How-long-do-tornadoes-last) before going away. Even the longer-lived ones only last for about an hour, though rarely up to three.

Hurricanes, on the other hand, are very slow. We can see them forming out over the ocean for days or weeks before they get close to land and they move relatively predictably. So our ability to forecast them and prepare for them is significantly better.