Tornadoes are formed when hot air and cold air meet in a powerful storm, and the warm air begins spiralling upward, creating a funnel cloud. This funnel cloud forces objects on the ground and in the air around and upward, and can be strong enough to uproot trees, move cars and tear apart buildings. This extremely energetic air current is part of a special, very tall storm called a supercell.Know More
The supercells that make tornadoes form when a large mass of cold air moves over a large mass of warm air. This situation is highly unstable, because the warm air is lighter than the cold air. The greater the temperature difference, the more unstable the situation. Winds are generated as the warm air moves up and through the cold air and the cold air moves down and around the warm air. If the warm air contains a large amount of water vapor, it tends to condense into clouds as it moves up and cools.
When this movement of warm air upward is energetic enough, the moving air starts to twist on its way up, creating the potential for a funnel cloud. These funnel clouds are the effect of rapidly moving and spinning warm air and condensing water vapor going upward and spiraling.Learn more in Storms
A tornado path, or the width of the tornado on the ground, can range from as small as 10 yards to in excess of a mile. Widths can vary greatly even over the life of a single tornado, as each individual twister often undergoes rapid changes.Full Answer >
Tornadoes have wind gusts of 65 miles per hour to over 200 miles per hour. Tornadoes are classified by strength and estimated wind speed, according to the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which assigns a rating of between EF0 and EF5.Full Answer >
Strong winds, hail and flying debris make being inside a tornado dangerous, but those who survive the experience claim it to be surprisingly calm and quiet. Near-constant lightning reportedly gives the interior of tornadoes a glow.Full Answer >
An isolated tornado is a term used by meteorologists to warn the public that an occasional tornado is possible with approaching storms. When this term is used, forecasters do not expect a widespread outbreak of tornadoes to occur. A tornado watch may or not be issued when isolated tornadoes are mentioned.Full Answer >