Good Question: Explosions To Stop Tornadoes?

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

On this week’s Good Question, viewer Jimmy asks, “Is it possible to stop tornadoes from forming by launching a small missile into the storm, setting off an explosion to stop the rotation?” It sounds silly, but that’s a good question.

Is it possible to stop a tornado? Even one of those EF5 ground scrubbers like the ones that ripped Oklahoma and Kansas last month?

Could the military launch a missile into the heart of a storm, using the explosion to disrupt the rotation, perhaps stopping the formation of tornadoes?

I took this question to KAKE managing meteorologist Jay Prater, who tells me that as crazy as it sounds, it’s been discussed before.

“Not by anybody credible,” Jay said, “but it’s been discussed.”

“The theory is that if you can explode something in a tornado, then it will go away,” Jay said. “You must remember that a tornado is the result of a process. If you disrupt a tornado, it could just reform again.”

But is it possible? Jay said “never say never” but adds that there is one little problem with the method.

“If you took an EF5 tornado, the brute force needed to overcome the thunderstorm producing it, you would need a nuke,” he said. “I don't think it's a good idea.”

If you have a good question, send it to me at or find me on Twitter.

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