Formation: Tornadoes form within severe thunderstorms when warm, moist air near the ground interacts with cold, dry air aloft, creating a conducive environment for the development of rotating columns of air.
Vortex: The rotating column of air, known as a vortex, extends from the base of the thunderstorm cloud to the ground, forming the tornado.
Enhanced Fujita Scale: Tornado intensity is measured using the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, ranging from EF0 (weakest) to EF5 (strongest), based on estimated wind speeds and associated damage.
Characteristics: Tornadoes exhibit a characteristic funnel shape, with a narrow, often visible condensation funnel connecting the vortex to the base of the thunderstorm.
Wind Speed: Tornado wind speeds can range from less than 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) for weaker tornadoes to over 200 miles per hour (322 km/h) for the most powerful ones.
Path of Destruction: Tornadoes can leave a path of destruction, causing damage to buildings, uprooting trees, and tossing debris over considerable distances.
Duration: Tornadoes can last from a few seconds to several hours, with their lifespan influenced by the dynamics of the thunderstorm and the surrounding environment.
Tornado Alley: Certain regions, such as the central United States, are more prone to tornadoes and are commonly referred to as Tornado Alley due to the frequency and intensity of tornado activity.