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Rare Clockwise Tornado

Rare Clockwise Tornado

What happens when a tornado spins in the opposite direction

Rare Clockwise Tornado

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 08:30

Emilie Lorditch, Staff Writer

(Inside Science) -- Tornadoes usually rotate counterclockwise but what happens when one is spotted turning the opposite direction?

“A tornado is a usually violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm. And that's the general definition of it,” said Davis Nolan, a broadcast meteorologist at WKRN-TV, in Nashville, Tennessee.

A tornado -- in the Northern Hemisphere -- usually spins counterclockwise but on rare occasions it can twist clockwise and is called an anticyclonic tornado.

“Well, it all started with actually video -- we got a video in our TV station from a lady that lives in the neighborhood where it went through. It did damage,” said Nolan.

You can also see the anticyclone here on the radar. Red indicates winds moving away from the radar and green show winds moving toward the radar creating a circle.

“That's how you find the tornado, red next to the green. Well, you look to the red next to the green -- it was flipped opposite to a clockwise, sure enough. So, then I made an animation. The very next day, the National Weather Service went down and surveyed the damage and said it was a rare anticyclonic, or clockwise in our hemisphere, tornado that touched down just southeast of Shelbyville, Tennessee. And the way they described it was a rare and unique EF1 anticyclonic,” concluded Nolan.

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