If your question is not answered below, check this excellent, comprehensive list of tornado FAQs from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center. There have been reports of tornadoes blowing dirt and creating a trench 3 feet deep, but it is very uncommon. Today, the development of Doppler radar has made it possible, under certain circumstances, to detect a tornado's winds with a radar (see our section on Tornado detection).
We're not really sure what the highest wind speed might be inside a tornado, since strong and violent tornadoes destroy weather instruments. A gully could actually make a tornado more intense, just as an ice skater spins faster when he or she stands up tall and stretches their arms up straight over their heads. People who have been in a tornado say it sounds like a jet engine or a freight train and is very loud.
You have to consider that the tornado is part of something bigger: the supercell thunderstorm. A tornado watch defines an area where tornadoes and other kinds of severe weather are possible in the next several hours. The very center of the tornado is probably almost calm, but may have some downward motion in it. We receive literally hundreds of ideas for observing, controlling, or stopping destructive storms. Unfortunately, government regulations make it impossible to accept offers from the public to do volunteer field work for any tornado intercept programs. The most common and practical way to determine the strength of a tornado is to look at the damage it caused. Straight-line winds can also destroy a mobile home as easily as a tornado, especially one that is not anchored.
A tornado is a small-scale cyclonic circulation, and in the past, has been referred to as a cyclone. As far as scientists understand, tornadoes are formed and sustained by a purely thermodynamic process. The National Weather Service in Tulsa is forecasting a tornado outbreak for Oklahoma tonight, May 24, 2011. Don't forget to plan for your pets, and remember that high winds and large hail can cause a great deal of damage as well. Thunderstorms and hail are the main weather associated with tornadoes however the damage is very severe and diverse.
As powerful as they are, tornadoes account for only a tiny fraction of the energy in a thunderstorm. It is generally believed that tornadic wind speeds can be as high as 300 mph in the most violent tornadoes. Although the process by which tornadoes form is not completely understood, scientific research has revealed that tornadoes usually form under certain types of atmospheric conditions.


Every major river east of the Rockies has been crossed by a significant tornado, and high elevations in the Appalachians, Rockies, and Sierra Nevada have all experienced tornadoes. Unless you disrupt the supercell thunderstorm itself, you would likely have another tornado, even if you were able to destroy the first.
It means that you need to be alert, and be prepared to go to safe shelter if tornadoes happen or a warning is issued. Any wind gust that is sustained for 3 seconds over 50 mph can cause damage to mobile homes. The problem of warning and sheltering mobile home residents has become the biggest obstacle to continuing to reduce death tolls from tornadoes. This can be because of more strength or because of greater opportunity for targets to damage, or a combination of both.
The term cyclone was used to describe anything that rotated counterclockwise, so often tornado (a small-scale cyclonic circulation) and cyclone were interchangeable. The idea was to be able to use your TV as a lightning detector to detect the radio waves emitted by a lightning flash, with the assumption that tornadic thunderstorms were very active lightning producers. It is more about what the surface temperature is in relation to the temperature higher up in the atmosphere.
Atmospheric conditions are ripe for "strong, long-track tornadoes" of the sort that hit Joplin on Sunday evening, the sort that can rip a long half-mile-wide swath across a city, the sort that hit Moore, Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Stroud, and Mulhall on May 3, 1999.
Not only should you make a safe place ready for you and your family, but you should plan to be where you can get to it before the storms hit this evening. The NWS office in Norman says severe thunderstorms, possibly accompanied by large hail and tornadoes, could begin as early as 3 p.m. Tornado alley doesn't quite reach Indiana or Illinois but we occasionally experience tornadoes or storms that may produce them. Army Corps of Engineers, for example, knew long before Hurricane Katrina came ashore in 2005 that New Orleans was susceptible to a storm that size. Ordinary citizen volunteers make up what is called the SKYWARN network of storm spotters, who work with their local communities to watch for approaching tornadoes, so those communities can take appropriate action in the event of a tornado. When forecasters see those conditions, they can predict that tornadoes are likely to occur. NSSL tried for several years to put it in the path of an oncoming tornado, but had minimal success. Plus tornadoes or their evidence have to be observed by someone, and the Arctic Circle has few residents! In this way they can review, and if necessary, replicate the results, which then will suggest the next step to move the science forward. Mobile homes are, in general, much easier for a tornado to damage and destroy than well-built houses and office buildings. However, the size or shape of any particular tornado does not say anything conclusive about its strength.


They have spent a lot of time modeling the formation of a tornado and measuring many parameters in and around a tornado when it is forming and going through its life cycle.
Even if it is cold near the surface, as long as it is colder higher up, the winds are right to set up low-level wind shear, along with other necessary ingredients, a tornado is possible. The odds that an announced tornado warning will result in actual damage within a mile of me seems pretty low. Not all tornadoes are the same, of course, and science does not yet completely understand how part of a thunderstorm's energy sometimes gets focused into something as small as a tornado. The biggest threat to living creatures (including humans) from tornadoes is from flying debris and from being tossed about in the wind. No one has tried to disrupt the tornado because the methods to do so could likely cause even more damage than the tornado. The EF-Scale takes into account more variables than the original Fujita Scale (F-Scale) when assigning a wind speed rating to a tornado, incorporating 28 damage indicators such as building type, structures and trees.
Well, the strongest winds in a tornado occur when air from outside the tornado can flow closest to the center of the vortex. Once a tornado is formed and has been detected, warnings can be issued based on the path of the storm producing the tornado, but even these cannot be perfectly precise about who will or will not be struck.
Detonating a nuclear bomb, for example, to disrupt a tornado would be even more deadly and destructive than the tornado itself.
A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted, or that Doppler radar shows a thunderstorm circulation which can spawn a tornado. For each damage indicator, there are 8 degrees of damage ranging from the beginning of visible damage to complete destruction of the damage indicator. They are often built with lighter-weight materials, which do not hold up well in tornadic winds. Lesser things (like huge piles of dry ice or smaller conventional weaponry) would be too hard to deploy in the right place fast enough, and would likely not have enough impact to affect the tornado much anyway. In this case, INCREASING the surface roughness helps get these blobs of air closer to the center of the tornado, where they rotate even faster than before. An F5 tornado rated years ago is still an F5, but the wind speed associated with the tornado may have been somewhat less than previously estimated.
So occasionally we see in tornado videos the vortex increasing in intensity when it travels from one type of ground surface (say a field) into a grove of trees or a housing subdivision. Some experts even believe there could be fewer tornadoes as Earth’s climate continues to warm because of dynamic, complex changes to wind shear or velocity. Many televisions and computers are dependent on power, satellite reception, or cable lines which often are knocked out by tornadoes.



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