With parts of the South and Midwest reeling from a devastating tornado outbreak, we wanted to bring you a bit of the science behind these powerful storms.

The first ingredient is wind shear. When the air at the surface is moving in different directions or at different speeds then the air higher up in the atmosphere, it can create rotation.

Add in strong updrafts – upward motion of air from the surface – that occur with thunderstorms, and that rotation can become vertically oriented, producing a tornado.

In parts of the country, weak spin up tornadoes are relatively common. But to see such intense and long lived tornadoes this time of year is truly rare. We’ll bring you more coverage of the aftermath of this outbreak on air and online – stay with News10 for more.

Have a weather question? Email Matt to see it answered on our Sunday morning shows: mmackie@news10.com