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Tornados: Gallery (Click below)

What is a Tornado?

Dark, funnel-shaped cloud containing violently rotating air that develops within a heavy cumulonimbus cloud mass and extends to the earth. The diameter of a tornado varies from a few feet to a mile; the rotating winds reach velocities of 200 to 300 mph (320 to 480 km/hr), and the updraft at the center may reach 200 mph (320 km/hr). In comparison with a HURRICANE, a tornado covers a much smaller area but is much more violent and destructive. The atmospheric conditions required for the formation of a tornado include great thermal instability, high humidity, and the convergence of warm, moist air at low levels with cooler, drier air above. Tornadoes occurring over water are called waterspouts.

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