TORNADO TWINS & TRIPLETS!!! Unusual Twisted Tornado Family of May 24, 2016

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Epic tornado outbreak video in 4K with several twins and even triplets touching down near Dodge City Kansas on May 24, 2016. To license video contact

On May 24th, 2016 a phenomenal tornado was born south of Dodge City Kansas and morphed through many dramatic shapes. But this tornado was only the first born of a family of a dozen tornadoes. Slow moving incredible tornadoes, often two and even three on the ground at the same time were battling for dominance as they tracked closer and closer to Dodge City. Several homes were damaged earning a couple tornadoes EF3 ratings, however most of the tornadoes tracked just west of the heavier populated areas of Dodge City. No fatalities were reported, however two critical injuries were.

A tornado family is a series of tornadoes spawned by the same supercell thunderstorm"

Storm rotations that spin counter-clockwise in the Northern hemisphere are said to be cyclonic. This motion is due to the earth's rotation setting up a force called the Coriolis force that pulls the winds to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. So when a low pressure starts to form north of the equator, the surface winds will flow inward trying to fill in the low and will be deflected to the right and a counter-clockwise rotation will be initiated. The opposite, a deflection to the left and a clockwise rotation, will occur south of the equator. Sometimes mesoscale features can force rotations going "the other way." These are said to be anticyclonic and are less common. So a tornado spinning clockwise in the Northern hemisphere is an anticyclonic tornado.

The first tornado of this family was choked to death by a newly formed competing rotating updraft on the east side of the storm. This new rotation is feeding off of unimpeded warm unstable air to the southeast while choking its sister with its cold downdraft. When this phenomenon occurs, we label the storm as a cyclic supercell. A cyclic supercell may cycle like this several times, with a new circulation forming and choking off the older downstream circulation.

But this cyclic supercell had a surprise... The newborn rotation appeared to split into two mesocyclones. At first I thought the Eastern rotation was anticyclonic due to the clockwise rotation but upon closer inspection you can see the wall cloud underneath it is spinning counter-clockwise or cyclonic. This leads me to believe that the anticyclonic rotation or clockwise rotation is RFD curl being fed back into the updraft of the western rotation. This is the first time I've observed an RFD curl in such a symmetric, close proximity to a tornado. A result of these splitting rotations was three tornadoes on the ground at once.

Extreme instability was in place east and southeast of a low centered over the western Kansas / eastern Colorado border. Near a dry line and outflow boundary triple point, strong heating, ML CAPE from 2500-3000 j/kg, dew points near 70 degrees F and very steep mid-level lapse rates set the stage for splitting supercells with significant tornadoes.
tornado, how tornadoes happen

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