WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

How do tornadoes end?

Posted May 20, 2008

MIKE MOSS SAYS:      Jaeda,       Tornadoes can dissipate when their circulations are interrupted due to cool, stable low-level air flowing into the tornado location, often having been produced as a downdraft from the thunderstorm containing the tornado or by a nearby storm. On a related note, the tornado's parent thunderstorm can weaken due to warming temperatures aloft, entrainment of dry air, cooling temperatures near the surface, and other factors, and the loss of strong updrafts that help maintain tornado rotation can cause the funnel to weaken and dissipate as well. All that said, the life cycle of tornadoes is a very complex process, and there is much detail that remains to be fully understood by atmospheric scientists.


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