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Weather Wise: Twisters in Montana

Weather Wise: Twisters in Montana
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jun 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-27 11:18:44-04

Montana has been in one heck of a stormy pattern with heavy rain, flooding, and numerous funnel clouds and tornadoes.

A tornado touched down just recently near Laurel. Earlier in June, a tornado struck the northeastern town of Lustre. A potential tornado hit in Hill County. And funnel clouds, which become a tornado if they touch the ground, have been seen all over the state.

Recently above Three Forks, a funnel was spotted. Sun Prairie had a funnel that was visible from Great Falls. Manhattan saw one and of course, the funnel cloud in the Mission Valley near St. Ignatius that went viral and made news all over the country. There have almost been too many funnels to count in this stormy pattern that began back in May.

Meanwhile, several viewers have noted the clouds and storms coming in from an easterly direction which is the opposite of the normal westerly flow. The funnels and the flow from the east are related because of the synoptic pattern, where high and low pressure have consistently been positioned throughout this stormy stretch.

A big high pressure has been anchored over southern and central Canada. Low pressures, one after another, have come up toward Montana from the southwest. rotation around the low is counter-clockwise, while the high's circulation is clockwise. both systems have enhanced an east-to-southeast flow across Montana. As the lows have approached, the position has created increased spin or vorticity in the atmosphere above Montana and Wyoming, resulting in more storms and more funnels and twisters.