Can tornadoes form where there is a river valley and hilly terrain?
My wife maintains that in her Michigan hometown of Wolverine, about 40 miles south of the Mackinac Bridge, it is impossible to have a tornado because of the river valley and hilly terrain. I say that because tornadoes form from storm clouds down toward the ground, they might be unlikely, but not impossible. Who’s right?
— John Podulka, Winfield
There is no question that tornadoes can and have happened in that area. Your wife may be referring to the fact that there haven’t been as many twisters there as in many other areas of the Midwest — and their path lengths, as a general proposition, have often not been as long. It’s interesting that many folks believe local geography — from lakes to river valleys to hills — prevents tornadoes — but these storms have been observed rolling over hilly and even, on occasion, mountainous areas.
Tornadoes have been observed rolling over hilly and even, on occasion, mountainous areas