RARE “Backwards Spinning” Tornado Hits Middle TN!

Severe storms hit our area hard last night, dropping nearly 2″diameter size hail, a half foot of rain, 70-80mph damaging wind gusts, and two tornadoes!  One tornado (an EF1) hit Perry County with wind speeds 86-110mph!  Another (an EF0) struck Lewis County, just west of Hohenwald, with winds 65-85mph.


Even though that EF0 was a small one (about as wide as the width of a football field), it was a BIG deal!  The reason — it spun clockwise….or as we say in weather, anticyclonically!  This happens in just 1% of all tornadoes!

Usually, wind in tornadoes (in our hemisphere) spins counterclockwise, as shows in the image below…


However, last night’s tornado spun the opposite way….essentially in the same direction wind flows around centers of high pressure.  Beneath areas of high pressure, weather is typically nice because there’s sinking air.


Last night though, the weather was anything but nice in Lewis County as that tornado barreled through.

FOR WEATHER GEEKS:  While it’s possible this tornado formed from the rotating column of air to the right of the thunderstorm updraft core, shown below (image source: NOAA)…


….it’s more likely it developed just as clockwise spinning dust devils do…..from winds around ground level conveniently converging in more of a clockwise pattern.

dt2  (image source:  NOAA)

Thunderstorms will avoid our area this weekend, but make a return next week!  Join us tonight on Channel 4 News at 10pm for a preview.


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