Tornado season in the United States is generally from the spring to the summer and can happen anywhere. When people think of tornadoes, they think of destructive funnels of wind destroying small towns to nothing more than a flat surface and throwing cows from point a to point b. Most people don’t realize that there are actually a few different types of tornadoes.
The ones people know and think of most are the supercell tornadoes. This happens when warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico meets dry air from the deserts and Rocky Mountains in the west. When they meet each other it creates an unstable atmosphere great for long lived severe storms that are most of the time isolated. Tornadoes formed from these types of storms are long lived and can get up to more than 200mph.
Next is a landspout which is a lot weaker than a supercell tornado. Landspouts are usually formed under a cumulonimbus cloud and is a lot like the waterspout when it comes to its features. If forms on the edge of a cooler downdraft or the gust front of a thunderstorm.
Then there is a gustnado which is weak and very short-lived. They come from the gust front of the thunderstorm. They are the weak spins of wind that you see briefly spinning around small debris on the grounds, but don’t really cause any damage.
The dust devil is well known especially through the west of the United States in the desert areas. They don’t do much of anything but cause a sandy mess. It forms from a light desert wind that start swirling picking up the dust, they are usually under 25mph. Other names for these storms are dancing dervish, sand devil, and a desert devil. They can be big and small in size.
Then there is the waterspout which is a landspout, but made of water. Most of the time they are not very intense and don’t do much damage. They form over ocean waters, but are made of freshwater from condensation. When they reach land, they usually die out.
Last is the firewhirl, which is caused by strong fires and heat. A lot of the time, they are formed by major forest fire and/or an eruption from a volcano. It’s like a tornado, but of smoke and fire, and can get up to 100+mph.
Though some of the other types of tornadoes are less severe than a supercell tornado, they are all part of nature and should be taken seriously.