Why Are Tornadoes So Rare Around Here?


By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - One of the blessings of living in the Northwest is the lack of tornadoes. And for that, we can thank living next to the Pacific Ocean.

Water takes much longer to heat and cool than air does, so the ocean temperature near us only varies between about 50-58 degrees through the year.

That has a tremendous moderating effect on our weather. The ~55 degree ocean temperature keeps us milder in the winter, and cooler in the summer.

Tornadoes are usually formed from storms stemming from areas experiencing large temperature extremes -- i.e. a cold front between maybe 60 degree weather on one side and 90 degree weather on the other. But the marine air keeps those extremes from happening around here.

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