A busy 2018 tornado season prompts this weather Wednesday VERIFY: why do tornadoes typically travel southwest to northeast?

It's a follow-up to last month's VERIFY regarding why tornadoes typically spin counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere -- the coriolis effect.


We consulted Good Morning Show meteorologist Eric Chilton.


Chilton explained generally, tornadoes follow the movement of the thunderstorms that produce them.

"In most cases, in a cold front, our winds will parallel that front, meaning they come from the southwest to the northeast along a cold front, so the thunderstorms will follow suit as well."

Dr. Ted Fujita, the founder of the Fujita scale, studied more than 17,000 tornadoes after they hit and found 78 percent of them started in the southwest or west and came northeast or east.

This pattern was evident in the North Carolina tornado outbreak April 16, 2011. They followed the cold front tracks.

Chilton noted a small number of tornadoes can stop course and reverse direction, but that is rare. And, though scientists know how tornadoes form, they don't yet know precisely why.


The majority of tornadoes move southwest to northeast, but tornadoes are unpredictable. That is why it is crucial to have a preparation plan.

Tornado Trivia: