Cool rain may cause tornadoes

April 5, 2006
A tornado moves through a small town
A tornado moves through a small town

A University of Alabama-Huntsville study suggests cooling rain preceding some hurricanes' landfall may produce conditions favorable for tornadoes.

Researchers said the cooling rain might cause the hurricanes to rapidly weaken as they move inland, but that same cooling rain might also cause shallow warm and cold "fronts" within a hurricane system. And that would make it more likely for tornadoes to develop as the storm weakens.

"It's almost a case of pick your poison," said Kevin Knupp, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the severe weather research team at the university's Earth System Science Center. Knupp's team of scientists and students has recorded seven hurricanes and tropical storms since 1998.

The results of the research appeared in the January edition of the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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