It’s the end of winter. You can feel springtime in the air. It’s getting warmer and warmer every day. The warm tropical air, from the Gulf of Mexico, mixes with the cold polar air, from Canada. This is what causes tornadoes to form, and if you live in what’s known as Tornado Alley, you may want to keep a lookout. This essay details how a tornado forms, lives, and dies. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds. The most destructive and deadly tornadoes occur from supercells which are rotating thunderstorms. Inside the supercell are mesocyclones which are areas of organized rotation in the atmosphere. Heavy rain, lightning, strong winds, and hail are also common in…show more content… This mixing of warm air from the updraft and this cool air from the downdraft will cause a rotating wall cloud to form. The RFD will focus the mesocyclone’s base which causes it to take the air from a smaller and smaller area on the ground. As the updraft gets stronger, it creates an area of low pressure on the ground. This pulls the mesocyclone down, in the form of a funnel. As the funnel descends, the RFD also reaches the ground, creating a gust front which can cause severe damage a good distance from the tornado. Usually the funnel cloud will begin causing damage within a few minutes of the RFD reaching the ground.
At first, the tornado has a good source of warm, moist inflow to power it, so it grows until it reaches the mature stage which can last anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour. During that time a tornado often causes the most damage, and in rare cases can reach more than one mile across. The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction. Meanwhile, the RFD, now an area of cool surface winds, begins to wrap around the tornado, cutting off the inflow of warm air which feeds the