Environment

Don’t believe everything you hear about the weather.

On the latest episode of “Science Behind the Forecast,” we’re busting weather myths.

WAVE 3 meteorologist Tawana Andrew said one common weather myth is that rivers disturb large storm systems.

“A cumulonimbus cloud, the thunderstorm cloud, can climb up to 40,000 to 60,000 feet into the atmosphere. That’s about 7.5 to 11 miles,” said Andrew. “Thunderstorms are rarely affected by small features on the Earth’s surface like rivers, so that’s one big thing. There’s data that shows that even the Mississippi River, the largest of course in our country, doesn’t affect thunderstorms.”

Okay, so rivers don’t affect thunderstorms. But what about a river protecting a region from a tornado? You’ve heard that one before so it must be true, right? Andrew said that one is wrong, too.

“I’ve heard a lot of people tell me that Louisville was fine because tornadoes won’t cross over the river. That is definitely not true,” she said. “Tornadoes in general typically have an intermittent path so they’ll go up, they’ll come down, that’s entirely normal. And there’s plenty of data to show tornadoes crossing over rivers. The March 2, 2012 tornado – the one that destroyed portions of Henryville – that actually started in Washington County, Indiana, and went all the way through Henryville in Jefferson County, Indiana. Then it crossed the Ohio [River] into Trimble County, Kentucky.”

You can listen to the entire episode of “Science Behind the Forecast” with WAVE 3 meteorologist Tawana Andrew below.

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for WFPL News.