The Anatomy of a Tornado

Mar 04 2014

Tornado season is once again upon us. If you live in an area that has the potential to be hit by a tornado, make sure to be prepared. Taking the steps beforehand to ready your home will make a huge impact in what the outcome will be. In addition to this, take a moment to learn a little bit more about the anatomy of a tornado, and how they are formed.

How They Form

All tornadoes start out as an unstable mass of air that is not only warm and moist near the ground, but colder and dry in the air above. These differences counter against each other, causing something deadly. When the warmer air begins to rise, it changes the direction from a horizontal to a vertical level.

All factors must be just right for the tornado to form. The winds must be staggered against each other with enough speed to keep the force. With this they will begin to spin and show a visible sign of tornado. Inside the cloud that has formed, the winds spinning will begin to cause a tornado to form. Any wind that comes across the tornado will only add fuel, possibly increasing to a higher level. As it spins faster, it will create a low pressure area that is able to suck in more air and other objects it comes across.

The Strength

There are varying levels of intensity between different tornadoes. These are measured on the Fujita Scale, which was developed in 1971. This takes into account the anatomy of the tornado, how powerful it has become, and what is the potential for wind damage:

·         F0 and F1 – these twisters reach speeds between 40 and 112 mph. The wind damage that will be sustained with this type of storm is minimal in comparison with the higher levels. In most cases the problems will be limited to broken branches, young trees being uprooted, and cars blown slightly off the road.

·         F2 – this type takes it to a new level with winds reaching between 112 and 156 mph. get out of your mobile home when this storm comes your way as it will completely destroy it, along with ripping the roof off other homes.

·         F3 – these tornadoes reach up to 205 mph, a staggering number. Walls, roofs, and even whole forests have been known to be uprooted in these tornadoes.

·         F4 – here winds will reach 259 mph, bringing with them extreme storm damage. Homes will be leveled and large objects can and will be thrown around, causing a dangerous environment.

·         F5 – this is the highest amount of destruction a tornado can cause, reaching over 300 mph. Homes will be ripped straight from the foundation and good sized vehicles will be thrown about in every direction. Get far away and take cover when a tornado of this strength comes through.

Learning the anatomy behind a tornado can enlighten you as to just how dangerous they can be. If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes, recognize the signs and be aware of the warnings. Keep you and your family safe by being on the alert during this tornado season.


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