A Tornado is a swiftly spinning column of air that is produced by a severe thunderstorm referred to as a supercell. The revolving column is created within the storm cloud known as Cumulonimbus. It then proceeds downward until it reaches the ground. A tornado that is discernible but does not touch the ground is referred to as a Funnel Cloud. On the other hand, a Waterspout is a tornado that is in contact with a water body. The impact of a tornado is very detrimental since it is characterized by extremely high wind speeds that are confined in a compacted area. The damages brought about by a tornado include: buildings being shattered, river outbursts, damage of locomotives and destruction of infrastructure such as roads, and death of both animals and humans. The United States is the most affected by tornado menace (Simon 13).
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Tornados emerge from unusually aggressive thunderstorms when there exists adequate unsteadiness and wind shear current in the lower atmosphere. This instability and kind of wind normally exists prior to a low pressure and cold front system. The intense whirling of a tornado is partially the consequence of the downdrafts and updrafts in the thunderstorm, a result of air instability, coming into contact with the wind shear. This leads to the slanting of the wind shear to create a vertical tornado vortex. The formation of tornados mostly takes place in the Northern Hemisphere during the months of March all the way through June. The occurrence of tornados during this period is due to the availability of the right conditions to form thunderstorms. Basically, tornados originate from the formation and development of thunderstorms (Simon 19). There are several steps outlined in the formation of a thunderstorm that eventually leads to the formation of a tornado.
The first step involves the existence of an unstable atmosphere. This occurs when atmospheric temperature falls swiftly with altitude. This creates an unstable condition, which makes the air near the surface to rise. The rising air expands and cools but remains warmer as compared to its surroundings. The rising air acts in the same manner as a balloon since it is less dense compared to the surrounding air. After this, the warm air of the surface is separated from colder air by a sharp temperature boundary referred to as a front.
The cold air is then made to advance towards the warmer air by a low pressure center located near the surface of the earth. As the air moves, a wide vortex, known as the mesocyclone, is formed. This mesocyclone begins to develop vertically, increasing itself upwards all the way through the whole height of the cloud. As a result of this movement, the surrounding air pressure drops leading to more air getting into the expanding vortex. Subsequently, the periphery of the progressing cold air compels the warmer air in front of the front to ascend and chill. Since the atmosphere has been made so unstable, the dislocated air keeps rising while making the incoming air to cool hastily. As time progresses, the air chills to the dew point. In this state, the water vapor contained in the air condenses to create water droplets (Simon 23). The water droplets result to the release of latent heat, which further warms the air and compels it to ascend more strongly. This intensifies the storm.
Eventually, a Wall cloud which is a cloud shaped like a curtain, normally seen prior to the formation of a tornado, is developed. The mesocyclone goes on contracting while increasing from the foot of the storm cloud towards the surface. When this progresses for some time, the storm gathers enough force (Simon 26). The resultant mesocyclone, which is immersed beneath the wall cloud, is referred to as a funnel cloud due to its distinctive similarity to the shape of a funnel. In due course, the storm forms a tornado.
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