In New Jersey, tornadoes are not as common as they are in other parts of the country, but the state does occasionally experience them.
The most recent event was in February, when a tornado touched down in Lawrence Township and displaced about 100 residents.
The weather this year has been more turbulant and dynamic than usual, and that could explain the unusual number of twisters in the Garden State. But the science remains unclear about whether the number of storms spawning tornadoes in the area will increase with climate change.
Wind shear is a term that meteorologists often use when talking about severe weather and tornado threats. It involves changes in wind speed and direction with height, according to FOX Weather.
Tornadoes are a type of severe weather that only occur when there is strong, unstable winds aloft in a thunderstorm. It requires that air in the thunderstorm is moving up and that it is changing its direction with height, according to the National Weather Service.
But it isn't always that easy to tell when a thunderstorm will produce a tornado. Scientists are still working to understand what makes a storm prone to tornado formation, but they say one key ingredient is instability.
As the planet warms, it's likely that there will be an increase in the kind of unstable winds necessary to generate tornadoes. But scientists don't yet know if that will increase the number of twisters in our area.
Tornadoes occur when convective systems develop. Cellular and linear storms are the main source of tornadoes, but these events can also be caused by nonlinear convective structures such as cumulus clouds.
A rare February tornado touched down in Mercer County Tuesday afternoon, leaving behind heavy damage in Lawrence Township. The twister was rated an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which is the strongest type of tornado, with peak winds estimated at 115 mph.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is investigating the storm, which smashed into several buildings and strewn debris across Mercer County. The tornado is the fifth to hit New Jersey in the month of February since 1950, according to NWS.
The occurrence of severe weather over the Northeast and other highly populated coastal regions may be modified by the coastal marine environment (Murray and Colle 2011). However, there has not been a systematic study of convective organizational structures and their associated ambient conditions along the densely populated coast region of the Northeast.
In the United States, tornadoes most frequently happen in the spring, when warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico collides with cold dry air from Canada.
But tornadoes can also occur in the summer and winter. And New Jersey has had a rare number of tornadoes this summer, almost a record amount for the state, and they’ve been severe.
One of the most powerful tornadoes in the state’s history hit Tuesday afternoon, leveling trees and damaging buildings. It displaced about 75 people in Lawrence Township.
Besides the strong wind, the tornado also produced large hail and damaging rain.
But while climate change can cause heat waves, floods, and other weather-related disasters, it’s not yet clear if it will increase the numbers or intensity of tornadoes. For now, scientists say the key to generating tornadoes is energy and unstable winds, both of which can be harder to produce as the world gets warmer.
Tornadoes are a type of natural disaster that can be dangerous. They are characterized by winds that travel from hundreds of yards to several miles, and can cause significant damage.
In New Jersey, tornadoes are rare. They occur in only a few instances each year, and they are generally short-lived.
When a tornado hits, it can destroy homes and cars, as well as other property in its path. This is especially true if it moves at high speeds and carries large objects such as trees or boulders.
The National Weather Service reported Tuesday that a tornado hit the Quaker Bridge area of Mercer County, leveling trees and damaging houses. It was one of the strongest tornadoes to touch down in New Jersey in decades, and it also displaced about 100 people.
The storm was a rare February twister for the state, but it's not unusual for this time of year. It's also possible that this outbreak is a sign that the region will experience more severe tornadoes as the climate warms up.