Tornadoes are associated with the strong thunderstorms that develop ahead of cold fronts. In the United States, these fronts typically move from west to east and the storms carry strong winds and hail as well. Right before a tornado, you may see a dark and greenish sky, see a wall cloud, or experience large hailstones. Tornadoes often take shape in what is called a “dryline,” which separates warm, moist air in the east and dry air in the west.
The formation of tornadoes is associated with the meeting of warm and cold air fronts (much like strong rain and thunder showers).
Tornado alley in North America has the highest frequency of tornadoes in the world. This is because of it’s unique geographical location. There is no east-west mountain range to block weather fronts as they travel across the continent, the rocky mountains send drier low pressure air eastwards while the Gulf of Mexico sends low level moisture-filled air upward toward the north of the continent. When these two fronts meet, there is the high potential for tornadoes.
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