Tornado Questions What is a tornado? A tornado is a violent rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of up to mph.
Formation[ edit ] Waterspout filmed off Anglesey, Wales, on 12 November by an RAF Search and Rescue crew Waterspouts exist on a microscale, where their environment is less than two kilometers in width.
The cloud from which they develop can be as innocuous as a moderate cumulus, or as great as a supercell. While some waterspouts are strong and tornadic in nature, most are much weaker and caused by different atmospheric dynamics.
They normally develop in moisture-laden environments as their parent clouds are in the process of development, and it is theorized they spin as they move up the surface boundary from the horizontal shear near the surface, and then stretch upwards to the cloud once the low level shear vortex aligns with a developing cumulus cloud or thunderstorm.
Weak tornadoes, known as landspoutshave been shown to develop in a similar manner. As many as nine simultaneous waterspouts have been reported on Lake Michigan.
Tornadic waterspout on 15 July off the coast of Punta Gorda, Floridacaused by a severe thunderstorm. Waterspouts that are not associated with a rotating updraft of a supercell thunderstorm are known as "non-tornadic" or "fair-weather waterspouts", and are by far the most common type.
Fair-weather waterspouts occur in coastal waters and are associated with Waterspout tornado, flat-bottomed, developing convective cumulus towers. However, in some areas, such as the Waterspout tornadoAegean and Ionian seastornadic waterspouts can make up half of the total number.
A winter waterspout, also known as a snow devil, an icespout, an ice devil, a snownado, or a snowspout, is an extremely rare instance of a waterspout forming under the base of a snow squall.
Very little is known about this phenomenon and only six known pictures of this event exist to date, four of which were taken in OntarioCanada.
There are a couple of critical criteria for the formation of a winter waterspout. Very cold temperatures need to be present over a body of water warm enough to produce fog resembling steam above the water's surface.
Like the more efficient lake-effect snow events, winds focusing down the axis of long lakes enhance wind convergence and likely enhance their development. Four waterspouts seen in the Florida Keys on 5 June Though the majority of waterspouts occur in the tropics, they can seasonally appear in temperate areas throughout the world, and are common across the western coast of Europe as well as the British Isles and several areas of the Mediterranean and Baltic Sea.
They are not restricted to saltwater; many have been reported on lakes and rivers including the Great Lakes and the St. Waterspouts are common along the southeast U. Approximately waterspouts are currently reported per year across Europe, with the Netherlands reporting the most at 60, followed by Spain and Italy at 25, and the United Kingdom at They are most common in late summer.
In the Northern Hemisphere, September has been pinpointed as the prime month of formation. Initially, a prominent circular, light-colored disk appears on the surface of the water, surrounded by a larger dark area of indeterminate shape. After the formation of these colored disks on the water, a pattern of light and dark-colored spiral bands develop from the dark spot on the water surface.
Then, a dense annulus of sea spray, called a cascade, appears around the dark spot with what appears to be an eye. Eventually, the waterspout becomes a visible funnel from the water surface to the overhead cloud. The spray vortex can rise to a height of several hundred feet or more and often creates a visible wake and an associated wave train as it moves.
Eventually, the funnel and spray vortex begin to dissipate as the inflow of warm air into the vortex weakens, ending the waterspout's life cycle.
Stronger waterspouts pose threats to watercraft, aircraft and people. The United States National Weather Service will often issue special marine warnings when waterspouts are likely or have been sighted over coastal waters, or tornado warnings when waterspouts are expected to move onshore.
However, there have been several notable examples. The Malta tornado in was the earliest record of a deadly waterspout. It struck the Grand Harbour of Valletta, sinking four galleysnumerous boats, and claiming hundreds of lives.Once a waterspout hits land it is classified as a tornado.
Several people also took photos of the funnel cloud.
Waterspouts should not be taken lightly. Stormfax® Weather Glossary: Weather Words from Acid Rain to Wind Chill. Myrtle Beach, S.C. — Photographer Chris Rivers captured a waterspout that developed in Myrtle Beach Monday.
While they form in different ways, a waterspout that moves ashore is classified as a. Tornado: Tornado, a small-diameter column of violently rotating air developed within a convective cloud and in contact with the ground.
Tornadoes occur most often in association with thunderstorms during the spring and summer in the mid-latitudes of both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. These whirling. Jul 06, · The National Weather Service is investigating reports of a waterspout that formed shortly after 1 p.m.
Friday on the waters in Ocean County. Apr 19, · THE BASICS ABOUT TORNADOES. What is a tornado? According to the Glossary of Meteorology (AMS ), a tornado is "a violently rotating column of air, pendant from a cumuliform cloud or underneath a cumuliform cloud, and often (but not always) visible as a funnel cloud." The wording of other definitions may vary, but one constant is this: a tornado must must be in contact with .