The time between April and October is normally considered the tornado and severe weather season. But with widespread storm damage happening in the Twin Tiers recently, many residents have been wondering whether this year's tornado season is out of the ordinary. Our Melissa Kakareka has the answer.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. --Tornado. Microburst. These are terms that people in the Twin Tiers have been hearing a lot of lately, but what exactly do they mean? And what is the difference?
"Tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air. It sucks air in and pulls it up so the damage is often in a very convergent pattern. A microburst, on the other hand, is straight line winds, when a line of strong winds comes out of the thunderstorm, drops, hits the ground and spreads out in a divergent pattern," explained National Weather Service Meteorologist Dave Nicosia.
Both severe weather occurrences are capable of causing major damage.
"A microburst can be just as bad as tornado. I know people are upset when we rate something as a microburst and not a tornado, but we have had microbursts with winds of 100 miles per hour," said Nicosia.
So far in 2012, the National Weather Service says there has been a total of nine tornadoes in the Twin Tiers. Six of those were in New York and the other three were in Pennsylvania. That's in addition to several microbursts.
The National Weather Service says it's not that we are seeing an abnormal season. What is abnormal is that we saw so many tornadoes and microbursts happening on one day in populated areas.
"On the 26th of July, we had seven tornadoes that were rated anywhere from 80 to 110 miles per hour. We just had that one day where we had a major severe weather outbreak. That we don't see very often, once every three to four years, so it’s been a while. So really, if it wasn't for that day, it would be a normal season," said Nicosia.
Whether or not any more tornadoes or microbursts hit this year remains to be seen.