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EXPLAINER: What teamed up to cause a deadly tornado in Alabama

DENVER (AP) — La Niña weather patterns, warm, moist air from an unusually hot Gulf of Mexico likely driven by climate change, and years of eastward drift of tornadoes have combined to create an unusually early and deadly storm system that has made landfall, meteorologists say. , Thursday in Alabama.

And this could be the start of a bad tornado year, one expert fears.

Early signals that could change “indicate that the overall picture remains favorable for an above-average tornado year,” said Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Victor Gencini, who studies tornado patterns.

Jencini said his concern is largely based on historical patterns and changes in atmospheric conditions that occur when La Niña, the natural cooling of parts of the Pacific that changes weather around the world, is predicted to dissipate in a few months.

REQUIRED COMBINATION

Tornado formation requires two important ingredients that are often not high enough at the same time: wet storm instability and wind shear, which is the difference in wind speed and direction at different heights.

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