How Tornadoes Form

The formation of a tornado can be broken down to 3 primary stages: 1) low level horizontal spin, 2) updraft tilting, and 3) vertical rotation.

Stage 1 (Low Level Horizontal Spin)


Before thunderstorms develop, winds change direction and increase in speed with altitude.? This creates an invisible, horizontal spinning effect in the lower atmosphere

Stage 2 (Updraft Tilting)

tornado-form-state2Rising air within the thunderstorm updraft tilts the rotating air (stage 1) from horizontal to vertical

Stage 3 (Vertical Rotation)


An area of rotation around 2-6 miles wide now extends through much of the storm.? Most tornadoes form within this area of strong rotation.

Looking for more Tornado Facts? Click here

Interested in getting tornado warnings sent to you by email or by text message? Click here

This entry was posted in Basic Meteorology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply