How Do Tornadoes Form?
Tornadoes are one of Mother Nature’s deadliest natural disasters and the most difficult to predict. If we could place the blame for the formation of tornadoes on countries, we could blame Canada and Mexico. When the cool dry air from Canada greets the warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, the atmosphere becomes unbalanced and unsteady. As the winds change direction and move faster, the rising air that blows along the ground gets tilted upwards.
Funnel clouds, also known as cone-shaped columns of air, can be seen extending downward from these massive storm columns. Only when the funnel cloud touches the ground can it be called a tornado. Supercell thunderstorms, which are long-lasting thunderstorms, create the strongest and most violent tornadoes due to the near-balance in their upwards and downwards drafts. Tornadoes formed in these supercells can easily exceed 200 mph winds and cause extreme damage and devastation.
Tornadoes are very chaotic and unsystematic, so it is very difficult to determine its path. Try to have a family safety plan in place before a tornado strikes. Whether a tornado is a mild EF1 or as extreme as an EF5, the most important thing you can do is to seek shelter, keep your head covered, and do not try to outrun it in a vehicle.