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Subject : L6) Are TC tornadoes weaker than midlatitude tornadoes?

Contributed by Bill McCaul (USRA) and Bart Hagemeyer (NWS)

In general, it appears that TC tornadoes are somewhat weaker and briefer than midlatitude tornadoes. During the period 1948-1986, the percentage of TC tornadoes that reached F2 or greater intensity on the Fujita scale was 26% (McCaul et al., 2004), while during a roughly comparable period (1950-1976), the corresponding percentage for all U.S. tornadoes was 36% (Kelly et al., 1978)(Gentry 1983; McCaul 1991) .

In Florida, in particular, the most significant tornadoes tend to occur with "hybrid" cyclones or tropical cyclones with some hybrid influence. This usually means greater westerly shear in the storm environment which is believed to be favorable for stronger, long-lasting tornadoes. Hurricane Agnes in 1972 was a minimal category 1 hurricane with considerable hybrid influence and it produced the most F2 and greater tornadoes in a single day in Florida history (Hagemeyer 1997; Hagemeyer and Spratt, 2002).


Last updated October 4, 2006

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