by:grace ferrara

what is a tornado?

A tornado is a violent rotating column of air connecting from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of intense damage with wind speeds of up to 300 mph. They can destroy large buildings, hurl vehicles, and uproot trees. Damaged paths of a tornado can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. In an average year 1000 tornadoes are reported nationwide.

how do tornadoes form?

Most tornadoes come from thunderstorms. You need hot, wet air from the Gulf of Mexico and cold, dry air from Canada. When these two air masses clash, there is instability in the atmosphere. A change in wind direction and an increase in wind speed with increasing height creates an horizontal, invisible spinning effect in the lower atmosphere. Rising air within the updraft tilts the rotating air from horizontal to vertical. An area of rotation 2 to 6 miles wide then extends through much of the storm.


►It can come from clouds such as cumulonimbus, wall or funnel.

►Can be referred to as twisters or cyclones

►Most have wind speeds slightly less than 110 miles per hour(177 km/h)

►The most extreme tornadoes can attain 300 mph(483 km/h)

waterspout tornadoes

►A waterspout tornado is a large funnel shaped wind current connecting to a large cumulus or cumulonimbus cloud

►Generally classified as non super cellular tornado that develops over bodies of water

►Usually in tropical areas near the equator

land spout tornadoes

►The official name for it is “dust-tube”.

►Form as a growing convective cloud ingests and tightens a rotating boundary layer during intense updraft.

►Usually takes the form of a translucent and highly luminal helical tube.


►Occurs on a gust front which is the leading edge of gusty winds that are produced by the downdraft winds in a thunderstorm.

►They may appear at the edge of a squall line (a line of thunderstorms) as a swirling debris cloud.

►Is not connected to the base of a cloud.

dust devil

►Form on hot sunny days unlike a regular tornado which forms on a thunderstorm.

►Also form on mars.

►More than 10 meters wide and 1000 meters tall.

multiple vortex

►They contain multiple suction vortices.

►Can do more damage since it has multiple vortices.

►The theory of multiple vortex tornadoes was proposed by Dr.Ted Fujita.

fujita scale

Fujita Scale F0 40-72 mph Light damage: Branches broken off trees; minor roof damage. EFO 65-85 mph F1 73-112 mph Moderate damage: Trees snapped; mobile home pushed off foundations; roofs damaged. EF1 86-110 mph F2 113-157 mph Considerable damage: Mobile homes demolished; trees uprooted; strong built homes unroofed. EF2 111-135 mph F3 158-206 mph Severe damage: Trains overturned; cars lifted off the ground; strong built homes have outside walls blown away .EF3 136-165 mph F4 207-260 mph Devastating damage: Houses leveled leaving piles of debris; cars thrown 300 yards or more in the air .EF4 166-200 mph F5 261-318 mph Incredible damage: Strongly built homes completely blown away; automobile-sized missiles generated EF5 over 200 mph

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Comment Stream

3 years ago

could you encoulde more facts