Sometimes a storm can look visually quite mean, but it actually poses little threat to produce a tornado. If a storm is outflow dominant, then it’s odds of producing a tornado go way down.
This is the case no matter how mean a storm looks.
In today’s lesson, we’re going to take a quick look at a storm in Kansas on April 19, 2017 to discern if its got what it takes to produce a tornado.
This particular storm certainly looks quite mean. But is it going to produce a tornado?
Don’t read the next line if you don’t like spoilers.
So what gives? There’s some pretty mean structuring to this storm on the low levels. However, the storm is outflow dominant.
We need to make a video on this. Ahem.
Inflow is air being ‘sucked’ into a storm. Outflow is air being blown out and away from a storm.
Easy enough right?
How To Tell If A Storm is Outflow Dominant
- I’ve always found that the presence of cloud tags in the low levels either remaining still or blowing away from a precipitation core to be a sure sign of some outflow and stable air. These usually form and move away from an updraft when cool air from the storm’s core is blowing out and meeting warm/moist air of the ambient environment.
- The presence of a shelf cloud is usually a good sign there’s outflow going on with a storm. If you are confused about shelf clouds, I recommend starting here.
Check out our other storm anatomy diagrams to see more storms in motion and to learn storm structure and behavior.