10 characteristics of tornadoes

A tornado is an extremely destructive and dangerous weather phenomenon. It is a rotating column of air that extends from the storm cloud toward the ground. Tornadoes can cause significant damage in urban and rural areas, destroying buildings, trees, and anything in their path. It is important to understand the characteristics of tornadoes to be prepared and take appropriate precautions.

Main characteristics of tornadoes:

  1. Wind speed: Tornadoes can reach extremely high wind speeds, exceeding 480 km/h. These wind gusts can uproot trees and completely destroy buildings.
  2. Funnel shape: Tornadoes are usually funnel-shaped, with a wide base and a narrower top. This distinctive shape is caused by the rotation of the air inside.
  3. Duration: The duration of a tornado can vary from a few minutes to several hours. More intense tornadoes usually last less time, but their damage is much more severe.
  4. Size: Tornadoes can vary in size, from a few meters wide to more than a kilometer. The largest tornadoes are generally the most destructive.
  5. Funnel color: Depending on lighting conditions, a tornado funnel may appear white, gray, black, or even have a greenish hue. This is due to the presence of debris and storm clouds within the tornado.

  6. Cyclonic rotation: In the Northern Hemisphere, tornadoes spin counterclockwise, while in the Southern Hemisphere they spin clockwise. It is this cyclonic rotation that gives it its strength and destructive power.
  7. Altitude: Tornadoes form from the base of storm clouds and extend downward to the ground. They can have different altitudes, from just a few meters to several kilometers.
  8. Frequency and location: Tornadoes are more common in certain regions of the world, such as the so-called "Tornado Alley" in the central United States. However, they can occur anywhere where atmospheric conditions are favorable.
  9. Training conditions: Tornadoes form when there is a combination of cold, dry air and warm, moist air. This creates instability in the atmosphere and can lead to strong storms and tornadoes.
  10. Warning systems: Tornado early warning and warning systems are critical to saving lives. Meteorologists and weather agencies use radar and prediction models to alert people about possible tornado formation and give them time to seek shelter.

Tornado Comparative Table

CharacteristicType A TornadoType B Tornado
Wind speed300km/h450km/h
Duration10 minutes30 minutes
Size100 meters500 meters
funnel colorGreyBlack

As can be seen in the table above, Type B tornadoes are generally stronger and larger than Type A tornadoes. However, this does not mean that Type A tornadoes are any less dangerous, as both can cause significant damage and endanger human lives.

In conclusion, tornadoes are extremely dangerous weather events that should be taken seriously. It is essential to understand their main characteristics and be prepared to face them. Education and public awareness are key to minimizing risks and protecting communities from tornadoes.

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ENCICLOPEDIA DE CARACTERÍSTICAS (2023) 10 characteristics of tornadoes, en 10caracteristicas.com. https://10caracteristicas.com/en/10-characteristics-of-tornadoes/ (Consultado el: 29-11-2023)

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