Tornadoes part of storm pattern dating back to big snow - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Tornadoes part of storm pattern dating back to big snow

A severe weather expert said this has been an unusually strong year for strong storms.

It's a pattern that produced the tornado in Missouri, the outbreak in Alabama on April 27th, and the large snowfall in the Tennessee Valley in January.

A professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville said the Alabama tornado outbreak was fueled by the same weather pattern that since has shifted westward, to where tragedy struck in Joplin, Missouri.

"The strong forcing, strong winds aloft, high moisture contents at low levels have been over eastern Oklahoma into southwestern Missouri," said Atmospheric Science Professor Kevin Knupp.

Knupp said the large scale storm pattern that spawned those tornadoes isn't new.

One of those storms produced our heavy snowfall back in January. And that same pattern has persisted into our spring months and given us some early spring severe weather as well," Knupp said.

Knupp said the strength of the flow that produces strong storms and tornadoes here is weakening, and the summer heat will push that flow to the north.

UA-Huntsville has applied for a grant for their atmospheric scientists to take a closer look at the historic tornado outbreak. A major reason is to know more about how the public reacts to tornado warnings.

Copyright 2011 WAFF. All rights reserved

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