Texas Tech Tornado Expert Comments on Rare Twin Twisters

Chris Weiss researches the process by which tornadoes form.

Oklahoma 2012

Weiss observed similar phenomenon near Cherokee, Oklahoma. (April 14, 2012)
Click to enlarge.

Rescuers are sifting through the rubble of a northeast Nebraska town Tuesday, searching for victims trapped after a deadly pair of tornadoes touched down there Monday.

Christopher Weiss, associate professor of atmospheric science at Texas Tech University, can speak to the current scientific understanding regarding why tornadoes form and intensify, and how the structure of the tornado relates to the observed damage seen on the ground.



  • “That was quite an event. I think this is a great demonstration of what we refer to as cyclic tornadogenesis (process by which a tornado forms).”
  • “While this cycling process is fairly common in supercell storms, having two robust tornadoes occurring simultaneously (under these conditions) is fairly rare.”
  • “I observed a similar phenomenon on April 14, 2012, with the Texas Tech field crew near Cherokee, Oklahoma.”
  • “You may have heard of the term ‘tornado family’ before, which describes a sequence of multiple cyclic updrafts that form from the same parent supercell thunderstorm over a long track. Some believe the ‘Tri-state tornado’ of 1925 may have indeed been such a family.”


Chris Weiss, associate professor of atmospheric science, Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University, (806) 834-4712 or chris.weiss@ttu.edu.

Oklahoma 2012

Radar images from Oklahoma tornadoes. (April 14, 2012)
Click to enlarge.