Tornado formation

Tornado formation

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Credit: JIM REED/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tornado formation. Tornados develop from intense thunderstorms that begin to spin because high- level winds are blowing faster and in a different direction to low-level winds. The rotation can be enhanced by the interaction of cold and warm air currents, causing a mesocyclone, which is a powerful air column moving upward at the centre of the storm. This mesocyclone has a rear-flank downdraft of air (pale blue area to the right of the funnel), which is thought to be important in the formation of tornadoes. From this stage, the spin will intensify and a rotating column of air will break through and hit the ground. Photographed in Kansas, USA.

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Keywords: adverse, alley, america, american, climate, clouds, column, conditions, extreme, kansas, mesocyclone, meteorological, meteorology, rear-flank downdraft, rotating, severe storm, storm, storms, thunderstorm, tornado, updraft, us, usa, wall cloud, weather, whirlwind, wind

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