Brian Smith: ‘The Tornado- A Complex Weather Phenomenon’

The Tornado- A Complex Weather Phenomenon

Brian Smith, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service-Omaha, NE

The tornado is a dangerous weather bi-product of a thunderstorm.  But there are many misconceptions and myths about nature’s most devastating phenomenon.  We will explore what is really meant by rating a tornado using the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale.  Is an EF 5 tornado mean the entire tornado had EF5 scale winds?  We will show that tornadoes are very changeable in structure and can change from a single vortex to a multiple vortex storm in a matter of seconds.  We will also explore how a tornado looks visually different from various directions and how this can lead to problems getting people to take cover in a warning.  We will use the recent Wayne, Nebraska EF-4 tornado as an example.

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