Damaging winds can occur in previously overlooked places within a thunderstorm, according to a Purdue University earth scientist. The finding could help meteorologists save lives and reduce injuries by issuing more accurate storm warnings.
Based on new data on the behavior of winds in developing storms, Purdues Robert J. "Jeff" Trapp has found that the north side of a storm front can host cyclonic winds that are more intense than those at the storms "apex," or leading point, which is generally thought to usher in the strongest winds. These newly found whirlpools of wind can be miles wide and create gusts reaching 100 miles per hour.
"On average, whatever lies in the path of the apex suffers wind damage," said Trapp, who is an associate professor of earth science in Purdues School of Science. "However, its not the whole story. Meteorologists should be aware of these other vortices in order to present the full picture of a storm front."
Chad Boutin | Purdue News
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