Severe Weather 101: Comparing severe weather to baking a cake


WEST MONROE, LA (KTVE/KARD) Forecasting for severe weather events is a delicate and complex process, just like baking a cake.

In order to start baking a cake, you need ingredients, and a severe thunderstorm is the same way; you need certain ingredients for it to form.

In this case, the water, eggs, oil and mix represent moisture, lift, instability and a parent storm system to provide a sufficient wind profile. If the ingredients do not come together properly, this can result in a busted forecast.

Depending on what kind of ingredients you have in place will ultimately determine what kind of severe storms you see.

A hail producing storm goes heavy on the instability ingredient compared to other ingredients like wind. High amounts of instability allow hail stones to grow faster and larger within the storm before they eventually fall back to Earth

With a tornadic storm, instability is still important, but is not the main ingredient. Tornadic storms need wind shear, which is change of wind with height. This type of storm needs proper wind shear to produce tornadoes. Then instability comes into play to pull the rotating column of air near the surface into the updraft of the parent storm.

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