Science with Sarah: Areas prone to tornadoes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Tornadoes over terrain is a popular question because of all the different elevations we have here in the natural state.

This week, Science with Sarah is tackling the tough explanation from the top of Petit Jean Mountain.

Very weak tornadoes, such as EF-0s or EF-1s might very well fizzle out when they get to a mountain.

Tornadoes with weak rotation that are also smaller in size can lose their structure over terrain.

Once they get up to an EF-2, tornadoes do not discriminate. We have seen many cases where they go up the hill, go down into the valley, and so forth.

A case that is still fresh for many people: the super Tuesday of 2008 in which an EF-4 tornado took 13 lives and injured 140 others.

That tornado stayed on the ground for more than 120 miles and it climbed plenty of hills.

Highway 167 and Interstate 30 are prone to tornadoes. It's not the actual highways that attract the twisters, but it's the layout of the land that steers the storms.

So while a weaker tornado may lose its definition over higher elevation, a stronger one is completely capable of making the climb.

Dynamically speaking, some storms can strengthen when coming down a mountain.

That's it for Science with Sarah this week- don't forget to keep your science ideas coming our way.


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