We explain what tornadoes are, how they form and what their consequences are. In addition, its general characteristics and classification.
A tornado is a cyclonic atmospheric phenomenon, of short duration and extension but great intensity , in which an air mass rotates on an axis at high angular velocity, having its lower end on the earth's surface and the upper end generally in contact , with a cumulonimbus cloud.
Tornadoes can come in different shapes and sizes , but they generally resemble a rotating tube of clouds, funneling from the sky to the ground and usually surrounded by a cloud of debris and dust, since its winds are so intense that they start and pick up everything in their path. They usually last between a few seconds and an hour.
Those who are in charge of anticipating and alerting about these climatic phenomena are called “tornado hunters”.
All tornadoes come from a storm cloud (supercellular or non-supercellular), a product of warm and humid air that is forced to rise, for example, when faced with a cold front.
This must coincide with a vertical wind shear , that is, a wind that gains energy by ascending into the atmosphere along six to eight kilometers in height.
Depending, then, on the type of storm cloud, we will have a really destructive tornado, or a more tame one , whether or not a mesocyclone is formed : an intense circulatory movement of air masses.
In principle, we can talk about two types of tornadoes, based on the type of storm cloud from which they formed: supercellular or non-supercellular .
The former are the most violent but unlikely of all and are easily identified because the base of the cloud rotates along with the cyclone.
Other types of tornadoes according to their nature and structure are:
The cause of a tornado has to do with the meeting of two air masses of different temperatures , which, trapped in a stormy climate , oscillate around a common axis.
These air masses push each other and gain with each greater turn and greater angular velocity , until they build a true spiral of wind that sucks everything in its path and lifts it up into the atmosphere or sends it flying in any direction like a projectile. .
The consequences of tornadoes are usually more or less devastating , depending on the energy that the cyclone acquires and how long it lasts.
They can generally uproot trees, roofs, lift smaller objects and throw them miles at high and dangerous speeds.
In addition, tornadoes are usually accompanied by a storm , that is, heavy rains , hail and hurricane-force winds.
It can serve you: Hurricane .
The usual life cycle of tornadoes involves the following phases, which are usually more or less brief:
Tornadoes have been observed on all continents except Antarctica , but they mostly occur in the region of the United States known as “Tornado Alley,” in the Northern Hemisphere, and in the “Corridor of Tornadoes” that encompasses in the southern hemisphere to the northwest, center and northeast of Argentina , southwest of Brazil , south of Paraguay and the whole of Uruguay .
It is also common to see them in south-central Asia , South Africa or Southeast Australia and New Zealand, and to a lesser extent in Southeast and Northwest Europe.
Forecasts in the event of a tornado indicate:
Most tornadoes have winds that reach speeds of between 65 and 180 kmph (450 kmph cases have been seen), can reach up to 75 meters wide (some 2 km wide have been witnessed) and usually travel a few kilometers before fading and fading.
The intensity of tornadoes is measured on various scales, generally based on the amount of damage it is capable of causing. Thus, there are the Fujita-Pearson Scale, the Improved Fujita or the TORRO scale .
The most disastrous and dangerous tornadoes in history have been:
Tornadoes are a fearsome force of nature that has inspired numerous films, especially in the Hollywood industry, such as: Hurricane (1979), Twister (1996), Perfect Storm (2000) , The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and Eye Hurricane (2012), as well as the unlikely Sharknado (2013) and its aftermath, in which a cyclone fills with hungry live sharks.
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