How Do Tornadoes Form?
However, whenِ theyِ move awayِ from theِ average, tornadoes areِ considered someِ ofِ the most-destructive weather events inِ the world.
In order toِ beِ prepared forِ these powerful twisters, meteorologists (scientists whoِ study atmospheric weather patterns) haveِ spent decades investigating theِ causesِ of tornadoes.
While theِ exact conditions areِ different forِ each, inِ order toِ understand howِ a tornado forms, weِ mustِ firstِ understand theِ storm thatِ isِ essentially itsِ parent—the supercell thunderstorm.
A supercell, unlikeِ a regular ole thunderstorm, containsِ the most-important ingredient inِ the making ofِ a tornado: a spinning column ofِ air atِ its center, called a vortex.
As a supercell grows inِ size, theِ vortex inِ the middle willِ beginِ to tilt, siphoning warm air andِ moisture upward andِ spewing outِ cold dry air towardِ theِ ground.
The updraft ofِ warm air causesِ the vortex toِ swell withِ water vapor, creating a spiraling funnel cloud atِ its center—the firstِ visible sign thatِ a tornado isِ brewing.
By understanding theِ signs ofِ a tornado inِ the making, meteorologists canِ issue warnings andِ signals toِ areas thatِ mightِ soon becomeِ a littleِ too familiar withِ one.
Weather- surveillance systems suchِ asِ Doppler radars useِ a technology similar toِ echolocation thatِ reflects pulses offِ water vapor inِ the air toِ record theِ speed andِ movement ofِ a storm.
These systems allowِ scientists toِ detect theِ telltale spiraling ofِ supercell thunderstorms long beforeِ a funnel cloud isِ everِ seen.