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Author Topic: Vortex wind speed  (Read 999 times)

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Offline pandadug

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Vortex wind speed
« on: February 27, 2021, 01:55:53 PM »
Here’s a noob question: where does vortexes in the tornado get their incredible speed? That 300mph can’t be flowing in from the surrounding area. So is there a downward spinning to the surface and an upward spinning suction at the same time? That sounds impossible.
Thanks!

Offline jwr2914

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Re: Vortex wind speed
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2021, 02:27:59 PM »
Not a noob question by any means. If you have ever watched a whirlpool form in your bathtub while draining the water out then you have witnessed the fundamentals of a tornado playing out in front of your very own eyes. This whirlpool (vortex) forms because of the "downdraft" that the drain creates in the body of water. The downward flow of the water into the drain begins to rotate. As the rotation speeds up, a vortex is born. The concept is generally the same for a tornado in theory. One of my college professors said all tornadoes have multiple vortexes. He said some were just harder to see than others because of debris condensation. The more violent the downdraft, the stronger the tornado.

That is what my college professor pretty much told us. We also made a tornado in a bottle that day which is a great project to do with kids and may help you visualize this concept better. You need two 2-liter bottles and a screw part. They sell them at Lowes I believe or you can get it off Amazon or Ebay. Add a splash of large glitter pieces to replicate debris.

I probably explained this is the noobiest way possible but that made it way easier for me to understand.

Offline Eric

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Re: Vortex wind speed
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2021, 02:57:17 PM »
Depends on several factors - some physical, some environmental.  Mesocyclone strength depends on atmospherics, like instability, wind shear, wind direction.  Updraft strength depends on mrsocyclone strength.  Centrifugal force plays a roll. 
#tSpotter Coordinator for Rutherford and Warren Cos. (@WarrenSevereWx and @RuthSevereWx)

Offline pandadug

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Re: Vortex wind speed
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2021, 04:09:23 PM »
Thanks for the replies. So the vortexes are spinning tendrils of downdrafts that circulate inside the body of the rotating tornado. The vortexes are the cause of the destruction, from their high wind speed and the resulting debris is pulled aloft by the updraft of the main rotating body of the tornado?

Offline Eric

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Re: Vortex wind speed
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2021, 04:36:18 PM »
Mini-vortices aren't downdrafts at all.  They're a part of the parent updraft.  Tornadoes are whirls of warm moist air.  Downdrafts in a thunderstorm are cold, wet, and heavy.  They tend to choke off a tornado.  Thats why you always hear about the RFD (rear flank downdraft) undercutting the updraft.  The mini-vorts can sometimes add up to 100mph of wind speed to a tornado. 
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