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 300 mph. They can destroy large buildings, uproot trees and hurl vehicles hundreds of yards. They can also drive straw into trees.
The intense spinning of a tornado is partly the result of the updrafts and downdrafts in the thunderstorm (caused by the unstable air) interacting with the wind shear, resulting in a tilting of the wind shear to form an upright tornado vortex.
Most tornadoes form from thunderstorms. You need warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cool, dry air from Canada. When these two air masses meet, they create instability in the atmosphere. ... Most strong and violent tornadoes form within this area of strong rotation.
The word tornado is an altered form of the Spanish word tronada, which means "thunderstorm". This in turn was taken from the Latin tonare, meaning "to thunder". It most likely reached its present form through a combination of the Spanish tronada and tornar ("to turn"); however, this may be a folk etymology.
Find an interior room, hallway or stairwell – the more walls between you and the tornado, the better. Stay under a sturdy piece of furniture and protect your head. Move away from windows, and be sure to keep them closed, as high winds and dangerous debris can enter if they're opened.May 26, 2011
There are several atmospheric warning signs that precipitate a tornado's arrival:A dark, often greenish, sky.Wall clouds or an approaching cloud of debris.Large hail often in the absence of rain.Before a tornado strikes, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.More items...
In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands.
Of course, the safest place to be when a tornado approaches is in a basement or storm shelter underground. But if you are not able to get to a shelter or basement, you need to find shelter that is available. If you have a cellar, storm shelter, safe room or basement available, go immediately to that area.
Do not be surprised if you see a clear, calm sky in the tornado's wake. This is also a good indicator that there are strong winds nearby. ... Remember, when a tornado warning comes, you won't have much time to prepare. If there is a tornado warning today, the time to prepare was yesterday.Mar 16, 2015