Learn about the different types of tornadoes
How many types are there? Weather factsLearn all the different types of tornadoes that occur. The weather can produce many types of tornadoes such as wedge tornadoes, rope tornadoes, waterspouts, and more.
There are a variety of twisters that occur all over the world. You may be familiar with a few, but there may be several that you are not familiar with. No one knows what type of tornado will be produced during a severe weather storm ahead of time. You can only know after the fact obviously. So what are the different types? Let's begin...
You may have seen these frequently in weather videos/movies on television or on Youtube/weather sites. They are pretty common and are easy to recognize in the weather world. Of course they look like ropes which is where they get the name from. They are skinny and can elongate themselves into weird shapes easily. Sometimes the base of the funnel may be quite a ways away from the top and can sometimes form a sort of sideways S shape. Some good examples in movies would be the tornado in The Wizard of Oz or the very first tornado shown in the movie Twister.
One mistake people make sometimes is thinking that these types of twisters are always weak and can't do that much. Well sometimes that is true, but these rope tornadoes can cause a lot of loss although on a small and narrow path. Take shelter no matter what.
These can be very dangerous. The name wedge comes from their wedge shape. These types of tornadoes have a very wide base sometimes as wide as one mile. So you can imagine the radius of debris that these can cause. A distinct feature about these types of tornadoes is that it can be sometimes hard to even differentiate from the tornado and the thunderstorm itself.
The most powerful twisters on record have been wedge twisters and these are more rare than rope tornadoes. They are almost always the types of tornadoes that turn into EF5s. The last tornado in the movie Twister was an EF5.
Waterspouts are basically twisters that form over the water. They usually cause very little threat to anyone and are only about 50 yards wide. You can find many of these happening in the state of Florida where thunderstorms can pop up very quickly. Once waterspouts hit the land, they usually dissipate.
Other "cousins" of tornadoes
Dust Devils happen in the warm and dry areas such as deserts. They don't last very long and they don't come from thunderstorms like twisters do. Still
Fire swirls will happen in blazing infernos. They are swirling columns of fire and heat which happen when updrafts within the fire concentrates a weak rotation in the wind. Winds can get up to 100mph in some cases and are sometimes called firenadoes. Learn more about Fire Tornadoes.
Multiple Vortex Tornadoes
Sometimes multiple vortices will occur in and around the main tornado. Find out more about these multiple vortices
Safety is an important issue when it comes to twisters. Check out my page on Tornado Safety. Also check out the Severe Weather Fan Store for safety products.
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Lightning strike on the Renaissance Center
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