Matt asked in Science & MathematicsWeather · 1 month ago

what is the difference between a tornado, waterspout, landspout, dust devil, cold air funnel,and gustnado?

What one is the strongest and the weakest. I've heard when tornadoes go over water they are called tornadic  waterspouts,  regular waterspouts that go on land are called landspouts.. etc

1 Answer

  • 1 month ago

    1- A tornado usually forms in a supercell thunderstorm, or a cluster outbreak ahead of a squall line! These tornados can range anywhere from very weak up to catastrophic, depending on the wind speed (65-350km/hour).

    2- Waterspouts are actually the same as landspouts, more so than a tornado! Waterspouts typically occur away from thunderstorms, they form from heavy wind sheer in the upper atmosphere, and they touch down over water. These are realtively harmless to people/infastructure, they would only have impact if boats, aircrafts or marine vessels got too close to the spout.

    3- A cold air funnel, is just that a funnel, not a tornado! These form again when you have strong windsheer, they don't form in any thunderstorm event. These types are found in the mid fall and early to mid spring, when the ground air is a lot warmer than say 20K up in the air. If these funnels touch down, they are referred to as a "landspout", they are usually weak, and don't do much damage.

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