Spring has arrived in the midwest and that means that so has tornado season. Yes, we can get a tornado any time of year, but typically, the change of season seasons cause the ingredients to be just right for tornado causing storms.

Get our free mobile app

What weather elements cause a tornado?

My understanding is that it's the combo of cold air fighting hot air that causes severe wether instability. The SciJinks website, from NOAA, describes it like this,

Inside thunderclouds, warm, humid air rises, while cool air falls--along with rain or hail. These conditions can cause spinning air currents inside the cloud. Although the spinning currents start out horizontal, they can turn vertical and drop down from the cloud--becoming a tornado.

This video goes into even more detail about the causes of tornadoes.

How do we gauge the strength of tornados?

Tornadoes are judged by measuring short wind gusts and damage. Then, that info is rated on a scale.

...a scale for rating tornado intensity, based primarily on the damage tornadoes inflict on human-built structures and vegetation.

It's referred to as the Fujita Scale. 

scijunks.org/NOAA
scijunks.org/NOAA
loading...

To put the scale into perspective for us, the tornados that devastated parts of Kentucky in December of 2021 was an F4.

Experiencing a tornado

Living in the midwest, ]there have been several times, over the course of my life, that I have found myself directly in the path of a tornado. Most recently, crossing the Twin Bridges in Henderson, Kentucky, while on my way to work.

I had to stop and take shelter at the Ellis Park racetrack. A sat in an old, unused freezer with a security guard and prayed, a lot.

As we sat in the darkness, we could hear the wind, from the tornado, picking things up and throwing them around. The sound of the destruction outside the freezer was terrifying.

Incredible and dangerous moment captured by storm chaser

The video, taken on March 21, 2022, captures a red pick-up truck being thrown around in a swirling tornado. Shockingly, the truck hits the ground, turns onto all four tires, and drives away. Take a look.

Let this be a reminder to never drive during a tornado. Always take shelter in a safe place.

What happened to the driver and the truck? UPDATE

If you are driving, during a tornado, what should you do?

Travelers.com says to stay low. 

Stay in your car, secured into your seat belt, and put your head down below the window–covering it with your hands or a blanket if you have one. Or, if you can safely get lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.

KEEP READING: What to do after a tornado strikes

TIPS: Here's how you can prepare for power outages

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.