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Where do tornadoes come from?
Question Date: 2013-02-27
Answer 1:

Tornados come from thunderstorms and they can occur whenever and wherever conditions are right! Tornadoes can occur in every state in the United States, on any day of the year, and at any hour. They also have been seen on every continent on Earth except Antarctica. However, while tornados can occur everywhere, there are certain places that are tornado hot spots. In the United States, there is a band of states that experience more tornados and stronger tornados than any other part of the country - this area has been termed Tornado Alley and it includes South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, northern Texas, and eastern Colorado. So why are there more tornados here? Well, as you now know, tornados come from thunderstorms, but not just any type of storm with thunder and lightening.

There is a special class of thunderstorms called supercells from which tornados are far more likely to develop. Supercells contain mesocyclones, which are areas of high-speed wind rotation. When typically form when the following happens: increasing rainfall causes raindrops to quickly carry air from storm clouds down to the ground; this downward falling air accelerates as it approaches the ground, which causes the high- speed wind rotation of the mesocyclone to fall towards the ground with it. This is why tornados stretch from the ground into the sky.

Answer 2:

That’s a tough question! Atmospheric scientists still don’t know exactly how tornadoes form. The most destructive tornadoes tend to form from massive thunderstorms called supercells


Supercells have large masses or rotating air called mesocyclones, and these seem to cause tornadoes, this might be how tornadoes get their spin. Temperature and pressure gradients across different parts of the mesocyclone might play a role. When there is a temperature or pressure gradient (differences in temperature or pressure over a volume of air), air moves (causing high winds) to even out the gradients.

Answer 3:

Nobody knows exactly what causes tornadoes, but they form in powerful storms, usually thunderstorms although other storms have been known to create them. Tornadoes are too small to be created by the Coriolis effect, which is what causes the spin in most weather systems. It is possible that it is due ultimately to the Coriolis effect, but concentrated somehow, but I'm pretty sure we don't exactly know.

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