Unique Weather Systems Produce Strong Storms, Tornadoes

26 Aug Unique Weather Systems Produce Strong Storms, Tornadoes

A tornado touched down near Imperial Drive in Kokomo, causing damage to trees and property nearby.

Photo: Annie Ropeik

A tornado touched down near Imperial Drive in Kokomo, causing damage to trees and property nearby.

A high pressure system over southern Indiana and a cold front over the north caused the two large tornadoes that struck central Indiana on Aug. 24.

But storms of that size are fairly uncommon for Indiana, especially this time of year.

Storms covered the central third of the state, where two weather systems collaborated to produce funnel clouds high in the atmosphere.

National Weather Service Science and Weather Officer John Kwiatkowski says those systems then produced thunderstorms, which made the problem worse.

“The analogy I would use is when you see an Olympic skater pull in her arms, they spin faster,” says Kwiatkowski.

In effect, the thunderstorms pulled in the arms of smaller funnel clouds forming in the sky to make the EF-3 and EF-2 tornado’s that hit Kokomo and Montgomery County.

The National Weather Service confirms at least eight tornadoes hit Indiana Wednesday, and is trying to assess how many other smaller tornadoes hit the central portion of the state.

Nine different counties reported funnel clouds and tornado touchdowns.

Kwiatkowski says storms like this are fairly unusual, for a lot of reasons.

“The intensity of the tornado we got in Kokomo is something you might see within our service area once every couple of years,” Kwiatkowski says.

Kwiatkowski says it’s also strange to see tornados in August anywhere in the state. Tornado season typically lasts from April to July.

No serious injuries were reported.

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