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How are tornadoes formed



Tornadoes can happen anywhere on earth. Being informed is one of the best ways to deal with them.

Here we offer you scientific data that will help you understand the exact conditions for its development. We also offer practical tips on how to get ready and other statistics.

Tornado formation

Everyone wants to know how tornadoes form. This knowledge is saving.

High instability in the atmosphere is required for a tornado to form.

In the first place, the collision of two air masses with different temperatures is required. One has to be humid warm air (lower density) and the other dry cold air (higher density).

When the two face each other, the warm moist air mass rises over the cold air. That is, the hot air rises violently. Like when you drop a small ball from the bottom of a pool. This movement is called a cyclonic upward movement.

Formation of the supercell

The crash (shear) always occurs at high altitude. There is the nest of the storm. The violent rise of warm humid air produces an explosive reaction (mesocyclone). A strong storm called a supercell or supercell is immediately generated.

The change in direction and intensity of the wind drives the supercell (cumulonimbus) clouds into a vertical rotation. This forms the vortices of the future tornado. And these vortices create, in turn, the funnel that gradually descends to the earth, from the base of the storm cloud where it was born. To learn about environmental curiosities click here

Tornado forming

Tornadoes form more in spring and summer than in winter Tornadoes can occur anywhere on earth

The hot air that continues to rise vertically through the center of the funnel sucks the air out of the ground. That is why its destructive power is concentrated in small areas. The funnel is visible because the water vapor condenses and carries dust and debris from the ground.

If the atmospheric instability of the storm continues, the tornado will continue to increase in size and power. It can travel several miles as long as it has power and can reach 300 or more km / h and 2 km wide. But if the instability dissipates, it has no more food in the cloud and disappears.

How are tornadoes formed. More conducive conditions

It is logical that tornadoes form more in spring and summer than in winter. The transition period between seasons (autumn-spring) promotes the formation of cyclones. Frontal systems are also created that withstand strong convective storms.

Time of day

Studies show that tornadoes are related to the levels of global warming. One can find them at any time of the day. But they are more abundant in the afternoon or at night. Time when the earth loses steam.

Tornado sweeping away everything in its path

Tornadoes can happen anywhere on earth

Many do not know how tornadoes form and at what times. This is one of the causes of fatality, since most people sleep.

Hurricane – tornado relationship

Another answer to how tornadoes form is the following. Tornadoes appear when cyclones or hurricanes make landfall. They are generally found in the right (north) section of the hurricane. They can also develop as a result of meso vortices in the hurricane’s eye wall. To learn more about this topic, click here


One of the basic differences between these two phenomena is forecasting ability.

Hurricanes set a course, but the tornado is unpredictable. Meteorologists assure that it can be forecast with a maximum of 6 hours in advance and at least 15 minutes.

Types of tornadoes

We have at least three types: tornado formation, waterspout and eddy formation.

· Multiple tornado

It consists of two or more cones that have a common center. Both can reach from 60 to 75 or more km / h.

· Tornado satellite

It is a weak formation that rotates around another much stronger and central one. As if orbiting around it. They generally rotate in the opposite direction to the main one.

· Waterspout

They do not always originate in water. They can start on earth. The latter are more dangerous because they acquire a higher intensity before reaching the water.

Tornado spread from the ground to the sky

(Cloud tail) They are short-lived and can cause more localized damage

· Land Barrage (Cloudtail)

These tornadoes are not that intense. They are short-lived and can do more localized damage. They hardly ever touch the ground.

· Dust swirl

They have a single vertical air column. They can be formed even with cloudless skies. They produce minor damage to homes.

· Fire swirl

They form in the middle of forest fires. They are not considered tornadoes (unless they connect to a cloud over them). They can cause a lot of damage although they are less intense and shorter than actual tornadoes.

· Steam swirl

They are not common. They form around clouds of smoke and steam, such as: smoke from industrial chimneys, hot springs, deserts, etc.

Where the most tornadoes occur in the world

Regardless of knowing how tornadoes form, it is necessary to discover the areas of greatest development.

Everyone knows that the United States tops the lists of countries with incidence of tornadoes. There are 75% of the world’s tornadoes. But the obvious question is why?

Only in Antarctica these types of phenomena are not reported. But they are common in Europe, South Africa, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, New Zealand, and many areas in Asia.

You know how tornadoes form. We explain that tornadoes need atmospheric instability. But not only this condition matters. A tornado can occur anywhere there are wide plains. Hence, the countries or areas that we mention are those with the largest plains in the world.

Now, the answer to how tornadoes form in the United States is this: There are great desert plains. In them are the cold and dry air masses that descend from Canada and those of warm and humid air that rise from the Gulf of Mexico. This deadly zone is called the “Tornado Corridor”. It includes states like Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States reports more than 1,250 tornadoes annually in that country. Another statistic shows that a tornado is more likely to form at night than during the day.

  formation of a whirlpool and at the same time a lightning falling

Tornadoes usually form on large plains

How to prepare for a tornado

Although deadly, the damage from a tornado can be avoided. Here we offer you practical ways to deal with them.

1. Prepare a survival pack. It consists of not waiting for the alarm to sound and then running to look for things. You should already have things ready. Find a suitcase or backpack and gather new batteries for lamps and radios, drinking water, medicines, cell phone, etc.

2. information. Since the preparation time you have is relatively short, you should always keep one eye closed and one open. You must also develop forecasting skills, that is, you must recognize clouds and discover real possibilities.

3. Refuge. This aspect is essential. A good underground shelter is the most recommended. Large tornadoes rip buildings away. Beware of objects that fall from above. Many people die from this cause. Take refuge in very strong and heavy buildings.

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