Start with summer heat, add a dash of humidity and a misbehaving jet stream and suddenly the Northeast is the new Tornado Alley.
A spate of tornadoes tore across the Northeast from New Hampshire to New York in the past several days, including one in Queens late Friday that ripped up trees, knocked down power lines and stripped the siding off several houses, according to the National Weather Service.
The instigator is the jet stream, said Bill Bunting, chief of forecast operations at the U.S. Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. The ribbon of high winds that circles the globe made a southerly dip into the eastern U.S., providing just the right push to get twisters spinning all the way down to Georgia. A similar pattern in May led to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Northeast.
Meanwhile, over in twister-prone Oklahoma, a buckle in the jet stream earlier this year, this time in the opposite direction, has kept the the U.S. tornado capital relatively quiet.
“The jet stream hasn’t been well behaved,” Bunting said.