Tornadoes are a natural disaster that should be an essential consideration when making your plan for emergency.  Understanding how a spiral, violent wind forms into a tornado, shattering anything in it’s path, will help you know what you need to be prepared for and what weather conditions precede a tornado.

Tornadoes, also known as twisters, are usually a by-product of strong thunderstorms, although not all thunderstorms have tornadoes.  When a thunderstorm forms, the winds within the thunderstorm increase and change direction, a process called wind shear.  Wind shear creates an invisible horizontal tunnel of air.  If this horizontal tunnel of air, the wind shear, gets caught in the upward energy of the thunderstorm it begins to strengthen and speed up.  This upward energy then tilts this rotating air from horizontal to vertical.  As a result a funnel cloud is produced and it’s the rain and the hail from a thunderstorm that causes the funnel cloud to touch the ground and form a tornado.

In the AccuWeather.com video above, Expert Senior Meteorologist, Henry Margusity, explains that most tornadoes form in the late afternoon or early evening hours during the maximum heating of the day. The most powerful tornadoes measure two miles in width, can reach wind speeds of more than 300 miles per hour, and demolish the ground for dozens of miles.