The Anatomy of a Tornado

A gentle breeze floats softly atop your head, then picks up speed with each passing moment. Darkness ensues, accompanied by a whirling wind that shakes the otherwise solid ground that you stand on, sending shivers down your spine, and making the hair on your neck ripple. Some of us have heard them roar through the town, heck, some of us have even seen it. Some of us, have been left terrified, and homeless in it’s wake. A brooding funnel shaped cloud that twirls through miles of neighborhoods, parks and pastures, devastating anything that lies in it’s path. The tornado is a force to be reckoned with, and it can strike anytime, and anywhere.

It may not resemble the well recognized funnel shape that it is infamous for. Rather, it can appear as a regular severe thunderstorm, which is where it usually originates from. Warm weather, that suddenly, and quickly changes into a cool summer rainstorm may easily produce a tornado. Few people realize that tornado’s form in the sky, resulting when warm winds drastically change directions, and form an area where said wind begins to spin. The storm will then suck the spinning air up into the massive clouds, which then forms a rotational pull that gains speed as the wind picks up. The spinning usually will reach from the ground well up into the storm, which feeds the traumatic cyclone. The faster the winds, the bigger the eye of the storm, often reaching widths from 3 miles to 7 miles. Accompanied with severe weather, and horrendous attacks, tornado’s are made up of a number of clashing frightening moments.

~Dangers that follow tornado’s.
We focus so much attention onto what the tornado itself does in the way of disasters, that we fail to notice the other effects until they ,too, are upon us. Severe hailstorms, with hail that can be the size of a golf ball are often associated with tornado’s, and is the most probable effect. Rain can continue to fall at such a rate that flash floods are highly likely, and manage to cause more deaths than any other weather each year. The winds that hijack tornado’s can move up to 150 miles per hour, causing debris to fly at such a rate that the onslaught that hits buildings and automobiles is deadly, and causes more damage. Lightening will clash, and thunder will roar, hitting tree’s, killing wildlife and endangering lives for miles.

~What to look for.
A sudden change in weather will always be an indication of a slight storm developing into something far deadlier. If the warm weather shifts suddenly into much colder weather, that is a key sign that a severe storm is developing. Though, no time is a wrong time for a tornado, they do occur more frequently between March, and September. In the fall, though, they have been known to hit the North Eastern New England area’s. The sky will turn an odd shade of green, and a wall of clouds will develop. The thunder will be louder than usual, and noticeably so, resembling the sound of a freight train. A severe thunderstorm warning will be broadcast before it evolves into a tornado.

~Enhanced F-scale.
Since the original theories (the F-scale, based on the findings of Dr. T. Theodore Fujita and measures different intensities and aspects of the tornado) and wind measurements have no scientific proof or recordings, the scale has been improved. The F-scale measures the intensity of the wind, and ranges from F0 to F5 in speeds and intensity. For the full explanation of scale and the breakdown of it, visit this website:

Tornado’s range in three classes, also, weak tornado’s, strong tornado’s, and violent tornado’s. The weak tornado’s feature winds that are up to 110 miles per hour, and are the most frequent in occurrence. These usually last for about ten minutes, give or take. Strong tornado’s, have winds that reach 205 miles per hour, and are less frequent than weak tornado’s, and last for up to twenty minutes. Violent tornado’s are rare (about 2% of tornado’s are violent), with winds exceeding 205 miles per hour, and with a lifetime of over an hour or more.

Perhaps the most famous tornado occurred for us in Hollywood, when we watched, horrified as Dorothy and Toto got sucked into the violent vortex on ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Thus, we learned early on how deadly, dangerous and disastrous these forces of nature really are. At least we have come far enough in our technology that we can be aware and on the lookout for these terrible attacks from nature far before they reach us. Though we may never be in a position to stop them from happening, and they do far more harm than we hope, we at least know what to do, if we happen to be in an area where a fierce tornado may pop up.