June 8, 2023

What is a Tornado? | Weather Science | SciShow Kids

Published May 25, 2023, 4:20 p.m. by Violet Harris

What is a tornado?

A tornado is a rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. tornadoes can occur anywhere in the world, but they are most common in the United States, where about 1,200 occur each year.

tornadoes are one of the most destructive weather phenomena. They can cause extensive damage to buildings, uproot trees, and toss cars and other debris through the air. tornadoes can also cause injuries and fatalities.

Most tornadoes in the United States occur in the spring and early summer months. The peak tornado season is from April through June.

tornadoes form when warm, moist air rises and meets cooler, drier air. This creates an updraft, or a rising column of air. If the updraft is strong enough, it can start to rotate.

As the rotating column of air rises, it starts to spin faster and faster. The column of air can eventually extend from the thunderstorm all the way to the ground, forming a tornado.

tornadoes are classified according to their wind speed and damage they cause. The Fujita Scale is used to classify tornadoes by wind speed. The most powerful tornadoes are classified as F5, with wind speeds over 200 mph. These tornadoes can cause catastrophic damage, with entire neighborhoods being leveled.

Fortunately, most tornadoes are not that powerful. In fact, most tornadoes are classified as F0 or F1, with wind speeds between 40 and 72 mph. These tornadoes usually cause only minor damage, such as broken windows and downed tree limbs.

Despite their relatively weak wind speeds, even F0 and F1 tornadoes can be dangerous. That’s because they can occur without warning and can be difficult to avoid. If you are in an area that is prone to tornadoes, it is important to be prepared.

The best way to protect yourself from a tornado is to take shelter in a sturdy building, such as a home or office building. If you are caught outside, try to find a ditch or culvert to take shelter in. You should also avoid being near large objects, such as trees or power lines.

If a tornado is headed your way, the best thing to do is to take shelter immediately. tornado warnings are issued when a tornado has been sighted or when radar indicates that a tornado is likely to form.

If you hear a tornado warning, take cover immediately. Go to the lowest level of the building you are in and get away from windows. A bathroom or closet is often the best place to take shelter.

If you are driving, do not try to outrun a tornado. If you see a tornado, pull over and take shelter in a ditch or culvert. Do not try to shelter under an overpass or bridge. These structures can collapse if a tornado hits them.

tornadoes can be unpredictable and dangerous. But if you are prepared, you can help keep yourself and your family safe.

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the weather is a funny thing one day it

can be sunny and warm perfect day for

sunglasses and flip-flops but the next

day it can be cold and rainy most of the

time the weather doesn't give us

anything that we can't handle with maybe

some sunscreen or an umbrella or a snow

shovel but sometimes and in some places

there can be extreme weather like big

thunderstorms or hurricanes or snow

storms and one of the most powerful

kinds of extreme weather out there is a

type of a storm that scientists pay

close attention to tornadoes a tornado

is a fast spinning column of air that

stretches all the way from a

thunderstorm cloud in the sky down to

the earth's surface because tornadoes

turn and twist as they move they're

sometimes called twisters they form

inside really big thunderstorms when

cold dry air moving from one direction

bumps into warm wet air coming from a

different direction because the cold air

is heavier it slides down under the warm

air and pushes it up really fast all

this fast-moving air rushing up and down

can create a sort of spinning

thunderstorm and it can eventually keep

going to form a tornado and when a

tornado forms it can be one of the most

powerful forces in nature tornado winds

are the strongest in the world even

stronger than hurricanes in some

twisters we know that the wind can blow

to almost 500 kilometers an hour strong

enough to lift heavy things like cars

and trucks into the air and they're loud

too people who have seen them or even

been in them say they sound like giant

roaring trains but they don't move as

fast as a speeding train usually

tornadoes travel across the land at

about 50 kilometers an hour slower than

most cars go now weather can be really

unpredictable which means that you just

can't predict or know what's going to

happen before it happens and that's

especially true for tornadoes these

windy storms can speed up slow down

change direction or even stand still and

they can last anywhere from a few

seconds to as long as an hour while

tornadoes can happen all over the world

they're most common in the united states

about two-thirds of all the tornadoes in

the world happen right down the middle

of the country from the dakotas down to

texas especially in the late spring and

early summer because tornadoes are so

powerful and so unpredictable

meteorologists spend a lot of time

studying them they want to understand

more about exactly how and when

tornadoes can form and hopefully predict

when they'll show up there are even

people called storm chasers who follow

big storms around the middle of the u.s

hoping to spot one as it turns into a

tornado so we can get a better picture

of what really happens when a twister

forms scientists still don't know for

sure when a tornado is going to happen

but they have gotten better at

predicting which thunderstorms might be

strong enough to create one and if they

spot a bad looking storm early enough

then they can give people who live

nearby a warning that a twister might be

coming that's one of the most important

jobs that a meteorologist has helping

people get ready for extreme weather so

the more they learn about tornadoes the

better we can prepare for them and the

more they can help us understand how our

weather works

even when it's not so extreme i hope the

weather is nice where you are and if you

have any questions for any of us here at

the fort about weather animals space or

anything just let us know by leaving a

comment or emailing us at kids at the

scishow.com thanks for joining us and

see you next time



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