Tornadoes, on the other hand, are all but impossible. And although the conditions favorable for tornadoes are relatively easy to predict, it's impossible to predict which thunderstorm will produce a tornado until Doppler radar detects a rotating storm—which could be just minutes before the tornado forms.
Then, can you predict a tornado?
“When predicting severe weather, including tornadoes, a day or two in advance we look for the development of temperature and wind flow patterns in the atmosphere, which can cause enough moisture, instability, lift and wind shear for tornadic thunderstorms,” Edwards says. “But it is not as easy as it sounds.
How do you know if there is going to be a tornado?
There are several atmospheric warning signs that precipitate a tornado's arrival:
- A dark, often greenish, sky.
- Wall clouds or an approaching cloud of debris.
- Large hail often in the absence of rain.
- Before a tornado strikes, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
What tools do meteorologists use to predict a tornado?
A barometer measures atmospheric pressure, a thermometer measures the temperature, and an anemometer measures wind speed and direction. Weather radar detects precipitation in the clouds, and the Doppler radar takes measurements of winds in clouds in order to predict severe storms and tornadoes.