EXTREME WEATHER PAGE TORNADO ALLEY AND HERE
Tornado Alley's extreme weather is almost the same as the extreme weather here, but the only difference is the extreme weather here in the Seattle Area is not as severe as the tornados in Twister and in real life.
The heat waves that Tornado Alley gets in the summer are more severe with temperatures in the 100s. It's a hotter climate than we are and they don't have an ocean to toss an onshore breeze in or keep the heat waves slightly cooler like ours.
The heat waves here have extreme temperatures in the 90s to even 100 Degrees. A Thermal Trough (Heat Low) combined with an easterly flow is responsible for all of our extreme heat spells during the summer.
The windstorms in Tornado Alley have wind gusts of up 100 mph. The reason the windstorms are more severe is because they get massive bursts of wind from very strong storms known as Derachos (means intense windstorm)
The windstorms here have sustained winds anywhere from 45 to 65 mph, with gusts of up to 70+ mph. In the winter a strong center of low-pressure from a very strong storm moving right over us or just to our north is responsible for all of our windstorms during the fall, winter and spring months. The other thing that can cause the strong acceleration of wind is high and low-pressure colliding.
The snowstorms in Tornado Alley have storm totals of up to 35+ inches. The reason snowstorms in Tornado Alley are more intense than ours is because they are a lot colder in the winter than we are.
The snowstorms here have storm totals of 6 to 10+ inches. What makes snowstorms around here so severe is a very moist system coming from the north (Arctic Blast) and very cold air coming out of the Frasier River Valley.
The tornados in Tornado Alley reach the F5 Category. The reason the call the mid-west Tornado Alley is because, hence its name has very warm air and in the afternoon, something called (Latent Heat), which is pushed upward so far into the atmosphere that the biggest and most destructive storms known to man are produced, the Supercell Thunderstorms. With these storms is something we call a Dryline, which usually produces the violent tornados caused by colder air at the base of the storm and warmer air coming together to create the monster tornados.
The rare, occasional tornados we get here are F0s. We are not as warm as the mid-west and we do not have Latent Heat to rise into the atmosphere to help create Supercells.
The Cold Snaps in Tornado Alley have extreme cold temperatures in the single digits to even minus numbers. They are much colder than we are because there is no 40 to 50 Degree Ocean there to keep in just in 20s, so the rocket down into the single digits. Combined with no Warm Ocean and extremely cold air from the north, this creates trouble for people who are outside during these deadly Cold Snaps.
The Cold Snaps here have extreme cold temperatures in the 20s to even teens and in rare cases the single digits. Very cold air from the north or a snowstorm is usually responsible for the Cold Snaps we get around here in the winter months. The Warm Pacific Ocean keeps temperatures from dipping into the minus numbers.
The rainstorms sin Tornado Alley can bring rains of 12+ inches. Latent Heat and very strong updrafts are also the key along with a very strong low-pressure system moving through, this creates mammoth thunderstorms that unleash torrents of rain on the mid-west causing flash floods
The rainstorms here can bring rains of 1 to 5 inches. Very strong storms are responsible for all of our intense rainstorms we see in the fall, winter and spring months. Another is thunderstorms, which can unleash torrents of rain, causing flash flooding. Our fall, winter and spring rainstorms usually cause Local River Flooding.
Both Tornado Alley and Seattle both have flooding during heavy rains. Heavy rain causes flooding because it is falling to fast for the rivers to hold the water or the ground to soak it in.
Two of Our Worst Local Storms Windstorms and Snowstorms:
The Inauguration Day Storm of 1993, brought north to northwest winds to 70 mph to Western Washington, blowing down an entire line of trees and power lines on one city block alone (this took place on Forty Fourth in Mountlake Terrace. Thousands of trees and power lines were blown down. Gusts of 80 mph were recorded. Thousands of residents were left without power for many days. The cause of these winds was a very strong center of low-pressure coming out of the north combined with a very strong storm moving out of the north was the cause of the wind event.
The December Snowstorm of 1996, brought snow amounts of 10 to 24 inches to Western Washington (storm took place on 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30 and 31st of December. The heavy snow caused heavy damage to trees, structures, power lines and roads around the area. During this storm the South Puget Sound Region was hit by an ice-storm, which closed SEA-TAC Airport for many hours, 18 to 24 inches of snow in the South Sound Region and in the Central Puget Sound Area. Several thousands dollars in damage! Thousands of residents without power for many days. The cause of this particular snow event was a very moist storm system (Arctic Blast) coming from the northwest and very cold air coming in from the Frasier River Valley. On the 31st the pattern switched from a calm, snowy, cold pattern to a pattern very strong, warm, moist storm system from Hawaii, bringing with it south winds to 45 mph and extremely heavy rains, which caused flooding and record snowmelt all around the Puget Sound Area. The strong winds blew down trees and caused more power outages. By the end of the stormy pattern, millions were left without power and the stormy weather caused million of dollars in snow, ice, wind (from Pineapple Express) heavy rain also from the warmer system, which caused flooding and the record snowmelt. During the warmer storm temperatures warmed from the low-20s to the upper 40s in several hours.
Several other windstorms and snowstorms and summer heat waves, another weather extreme we get from time to time in summer months have struck our region over the years, such as the December windstorm of 1995, which had wind gusts of hurricane strength (78 mph) and sustained south winds of 60 mph.
Another major windstorm struck in 1999, bringing winds to 60 mph and gusts of hurricane strength.
The March Snowstorms of 2002 had snow totals of 9 to 10 inches.
A snowstorm after Christmas in 1993, brought snow amounts of 5 to 10 inches.
Storms like these are most likely in the fall and winter months.
The worst heat wave we've ever had was on July 30th, 1994, when Downtown Seattle reached 100 Degrees, with temperatures in the upper 90s in the north end of the Central Sound, highs of 105 Degrees were reported in Olympia, Washington on that day. The cause of the heat was a very strong ridge of high pressure and a very strong low-pressure area, containing a core of extremely hot air (thermal trough or heat low, which causes of our heat waves during the summer months.
Several other heat waves (thermal troughs or heat lows) have struck through the years, bringing broiling heat to Washington State (90+)
One day in July 1995, a record high of 96 Degrees was recorded.
The worst Cold Snap (Deep Freeze) was in December of 1998, high winds from the north occurred first then heavy snow (5 inches+) and record cold temperatures of 18 Degrees and lower occurred next.
Several other Cold Snaps (Arctic Blasts) have struck through years during the winter months causing temperatures to fall into the 20s and teens and bringing us our snowstorms a little ways through the Cold Snap.