| Tornado Chasers

Tornadoes in Winter


I heard about the tornadoes last week. How is it possible for tornadoes to hit in Winter? I thought that they needed heat rising to “ignite” them.
Thanks for any info.


i don’t think that is possible b/c the tornado has to have warm air.


It/s very possible. It’s just that lately lots of warm moist air has been entering over the midwest. Also tornadoes can happen anywhere, at any time, at any year, and at any season.


Definitely possible. We’ve had numerous tornadoes during winter months in the Cincinnati Tri-State area.

A good example would be the March 2nd, 2012 outbreak, which produced at least 5 or 6 tornadoes in the ILN viewing area, most of which being of EF-3 or 4 strength, and one of which was a partially rain-wrapped wedge that passed within 40-50 miles of my house. I remember seeing debris flying through the sky that day.

Another more recent example would be from December 23rd in 2015. A supercell made its way into Northern Kentucky, prompting a tornado warning for multiple counties including Bracken, Pendelton, Campbell, and Kenton (my own), and spawning an EF-1 tornado that caused some decent roof damage to a church, uprooted a few large trees, and flipped a mobile home with two people inside at the time. Here are two videos I shot, one of which being the night of, the other being the damage:

And a final example: earlier this year on March 14 a squall line passed through up towards Dayton, OH, which ended up producing 5 tornadoes of varying EF-0 to EF-1 strength. One of these hit Phillipsburg, OH, and if you look it up on Youtube there is some really great footage.

So now you know, tornadoes can happen almost whenever, wherever.


Thanks for your reply. Very interesting footage!


So, tornadoes can occur during any season. Storms need 3 key ingredients: moisture, lift, and sheer. Winter storms generally tend not to be as strong as summer storms due to the lack of lift; however, especially in the south, temperatures do not generally get cool enough to inhibit severe storms( usually a few days of cold, then temps in the upper 60’s). In fact, last Christmas, southwest/central GA had severe storms move through that produced at least one tornado around 5:30. Tornado season is 365 days long; they are just less likely to occur. Hope this helps.


Great info here! Thanks!