Back home and in this alternate scenario, the Ozarks are all that remains of a Proterozoic mountain range hundreds of millions of years ago.

Back home, the Ozarks look like this, highlit in lime:

enter image description here

The tallest point is Buffalo Lookout, standing 2561 feet above sea level. In this alternate scenario, both the Appalachian Mountains and the Black Hills are absent, and the Ozarks look like this, highlit in black:

enter image description here

Not only are they bigger, they are also taller--tallest point, 7242 feet above sea level.

With this kind of detailed information, would these Ozarks be the barrier that northeastern Nebraska (42.4649° North, 96.4131° West) needs to reduce its probability of tornadoes to the bare minimum?

  • $\begingroup$ Hello John, I believe that the result a tallest point of 7242 feet will not significantly differ from one where the tallest point is 7241 feet, or 7243 feet. For that matter, it won't differ from the outcome at 6000 feet. Likewise, the position at 42.4649° North will not significantly differ from 42.4648° or 42.4650° or 43°. $\endgroup$
    – o.m.
    Nov 14, 2016 at 6:14
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I don't have answer, but I can point you to a place that probably does: CAPS, Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms at U. of Oklahoma. E-mail: [email protected] They research effect of geography on weather patterns, specializing in Midwest tornadoes. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Nov 14, 2016 at 6:29
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know if it helps but may I know what do you do for a living or perhaps what kind of hobby you have? I'm just curious where you dig up all these crazy information, I'm still awestruck despite having seen it so many times already! $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Nov 14, 2016 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't enough substance for an answer - but consider the directions besides from the southeast that tornadoes could come in from. The answer is probably not. $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Nov 14, 2016 at 9:53
  • $\begingroup$ No, 7000 feet isn't tall enough to seriously affect motion of weather fronts. Try more like 12000 feet. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Nov 14, 2016 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


No, sorry

This question is fairly simple, can mountains stop tornadoes, but sadly, this is only a myth.

enter image description here

While tornadoes are slowed by mountains (as seen above) they do still appear in considerate amounts.

enter image description here

Above is the second problem. In black is your mountain range, in red is the state of Nebraska and in blue is an area of roughly equal height to you mountain range. The key here is that comparing nearby states of the blue area show that the mountain do not stop tornadoes and those mountains are higher, plus they are far away from the tornado alley of the Gulf.

Will it reduce the amount of tornadoes in that area? Yes. Will they be less severe? Most likely, but they will still occur.

One problem here is that your stipulation of reducing tornadoes to a bar minimum is a problem, what is the bare minimum? No tornadoes ever? A couple a year? I assume that you mean either of these.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Ehm I think the red is Nebraska, not Maine $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Nov 18, 2016 at 1:46
  • $\begingroup$ Either "no tornadoes ever" or "no tornadoes greater than EF0". This question also does not take the alternate Rockies into account. $\endgroup$ Nov 18, 2016 at 1:55
  • $\begingroup$ Calling this a "myth" is an overstatement, when the expression is really just slight hyperbole. Common sense is right. Tornados are dramatically less common and less severe in the mountains, even though freak weak tornados can occur there. Calling the frequency of tornados in the mountains "considerable" is really more misleading. And, severity does matter. When someone asks about tornado frequency, the reason for the question is generally an attempt to evaluate the risk of harm to person and property from tornados (perhaps inartfully). Lower frequency and lower severity both shrink this risk. $\endgroup$
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 19, 2016 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra typo, sorry $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Nov 21, 2016 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnWDailey then my answer is still the same, that is never going to happen. Also the Rockies being there was just to show the equivalent area in our timeline $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Nov 21, 2016 at 16:12

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