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Can someone explain, using as many layman's terms as possible, what a tornado is and how it forms?

I'm interested in Meteorology, but the Wikipedia article on the subject is hard to understand and doesn't do that great of a job explaining it to those who aren't familiar with weather-terms. I'm interested in Meteorology, but the Wikipedia article on the subject is hard to understand and doesn't do that great of a job explaining it to those who aren't familiar with weather-related terms.

Asked By: Snadboy21 - 8/19/2008
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
I have used this description a couple of times on here. It is in my own words and I am pretty sure I simplified it well... More
Answered By: Tami - 8/20/2008
Additional Answers (5)
If you can get a copy of Donald Piston's book titled, "Meteorology" then you should get it and read it. He explains most all cyclonic wind patterns and how they develop. This is done with the physics of his time (this is about 1950) but I feel the rules still hold. Many, many great facts are given and he even delves... More
Source(s):
Answered By: andyg77 - 8/19/2008
 
A tornado, Spanish "to twist or turn", results from a cold air mass butting up against a warm air mass with the jet stream most likely steering the whole mess. It is a very localized event but can travel hundreds of miles undiminished. Winds can exceed 300mph... More
Source(s):
Answered By: Terry R - 8/19/2008
 
A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air produced when wind shear aloft creates a horizontal, spinning cylinder of air lifted toward the vertical due to a strong, persistent updraft. Anthony
Answered By: Anthony S - 8/19/2008
 
To expand on what Anthony said... More
Source(s):
Answered By: real life meteorologist - 8/19/2008
 
A tornado is a violent, rotating column of air which is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. Tornadoes come in many sizes but are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often... More
Answered By: Storm Chaser Michael Vinther - 8/20/2008
 
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