What exactly is a tornado?

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending between, and in contact with, a cloud and the surface of the earth.Tornadoes can come one at a time, or in clusters, and they can vary greatly in length, width, direction of travel, and speed. They can leave a path 50 yards wide or over a mile wide. They may touch down for only a matter of seconds, or remain in contact with the ground for over an hour.

How do tornados form?

Tornadoes are associated with large (supercell) thunderstorms that often grow to over 40,000 feet. A column of warm humid air will begin to rise very quickly.

1. Air Rotates Because of Wind Shear.
How the column of air begins to rotate is not completely understood by scientists, but one way the rotation appears to happen is when winds at two different altitudes blow at two different speeds creating wind shear. For example, a wind at 1000 feet above the surface might blow at 5mph and a wind at 5000 feet might blow at 25mph. This causes a horizontal rotating column of air.

2. Faster Spin Makes a Funnel Cloud.

If this column gets caught in a supercell updraft

3. The Funnel Rotates and Touches Down.

The rain and hail in the thunderstorm cause the funnel to touch down creating a tornado.

Big image

How it's effected our nation!

A massive tornado on monday afternoon tore across parts of Oklahoma City and its suburbs , flattening homes, flinging cars through the air and crushing at least two schools and killed at least 24 people and injured about 240. The injured flooded into hospitals, and the authorities said many people remained trapped, even rescue workers struggled to make their way through debris-clogged streets to the devastated suburb of Moore, where much of the damage occurred. Shawnee's wind speed ranges from 166 to 200 mph while the Moore tornado's wind speed was estimated at between 200 and 210 mph. Both of which ended up being classified as EF5 tornados according to the Fujita scale. The Fujita scale is used to rate the intensity of a tornado by examining the damage cause by the tornado. The EF rating system goes something like this.

EF0 65-85 mph usually cause some damage to chimneys, damage sign boards, and break branches off of trees and topple shallow-rooted.

EF1 86-110 mph peel surfaces off of roofs, push mobile homes off of their foundations or even overturn them, and push cars off of the road.

EF2. 111-135 mph can tear the roofs off of light frame houses, demolish mobile homes, overturn railroad boxcars, uproot or snap large trees, lift cars off the ground, and turn light objects into missiles.

EF3.136-165 mph tear the roofs and walls off of well-constructed houses, uproot the trees in a forest, overturn entire trains, and can throw cars.

EF4.166-200 mph level well-constructed houses, blow structures with weak foundations some distances, and turn large objects into missiles.

EF5. 200 mph lift and blow strong houses, debark trees, cause car-sized objects to fly through the air, and cause incredible damage and phenomena to occur.

States included in tornado alley!

Tornado Alley refers to the area of the United States affected most frequently by the strongest tornados.Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri are entirely within Tornado Alley. Northeastern Texas, Northern Louisiana, Northwestern Mississippi, Central and Southern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana are also included. Also small parts of far Western Tennessee and Kentucky are typically included

Fujita Scale

Big image
5/19/2013 Deadly Oklahoma Extreme Tornado Video


In conclusion Tornadoes are very dangerous storms. They strike

with very little warning. Most of the time they move in with a thunderstorm, and when they are finally seen it is too late.