Does topography affect the likelihood and path of tornadoes?

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by Jeff Renner

Bio | Email | Follow: @Jeffrennerwx

KING5.com

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Does topography affect the likelihood and path of tornadoes?

Rugged terrain doesn't prevent tornadoes from forming; occasionally, weak tornadoes do develop over western Washington and Oregon. However such terrain does influence both the strength and likelihood of tornadoes. It can interfere with the flow of warm, moist air near the ground and colder, drier air aloft that leads to the instability (and rising motion) that can lead to the severe thundershowers that in turn can produce tornadoes. Rough terrain can also interfere with the wind shear, or change in wind speed and/or direction with altitude that leads to rotation.

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