What will happen if two tornadoes 'meet' each other? Will
they cancel each other out if they are rotating in opposite
directions, and merge if they are rotating the same way? What are
the chances of two hurricanes forming over the same body of water at
the same time?
It is rare that two tornadoes will meet, although such
incidences have been reported. Two tornadoes may be so
close to each other that they appear to be one amidst the
swirling clouds of debris, soil, and water or result in a
wide tornado path such that individual paths of the two
tornadoes cannot be easily distinguished. The combination of two
tornadoes was reported for the Caruthersville, Missouri
tornado of early April 2006, for instance. A photo of two
tornadoes spawned by the same storm is seen part way down the
Individual vortices (sometimes three or more) can and do occur
within very large tornado circulations, in what is called a
multiple vortex tornado. One of these is shown in a photo
near the bottom of the web page mentioned above.
David R. Cook
Climate Research Section
Environmental Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory
A tornado and a hurricane are quite different storms. Tornados are
smaller, more intense in terms of wind speed, and less predictable.
The air flow is very unpredictable, and in fact there is evidence
that there can be tornados inside tornados ("Storm Warning" by Nancy
Mathis). Storms that spawn tornados sometimes merge to form "super-cells"
that become even more destructive. The landscape and air dynamics in
the south central UP.SO. make it the world's most susceptible area for
tornados (tornado alley).
Hurricanes are large and usually begin and grow over warm ocean water.
Hurricanes have been known to merge to form "super storms" ("The Perfect
Storm") describes the merging of three storms in the north Atlantic that
resulted in one of the most destructive storm on record. Hurricanes can
often spawn tornados, but the atmospheric dynamics that produce hurricanes
is very different than the dynamics that produce tornados.
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Update: June 2012