Landspout: This tornado cousin isn't built like rest of family


EXCERPTs: There are several types of well-known tornadoes — waterspouts, snowspouts and supercell tornadoes come to mind — but the landspout is unique because it borders the line between a full-blown tornado and a dust devil. A meteorologist named Howard B. Bluestein dubbed these twisters landspouts in 1985. [...] Landspouts are commonly weak; however, in rare occasions, a landspout can be as strong as an F4 tornado. ... Landspouts are rarely detected by Doppler weather radar.

[...] In the formation, landspouts are similar to waterspouts except they occur over the land surface. They also formed when there is no sign of a thunderstorm. Not all landspouts are visible to people. Moreover, landspouts are thin, and rope-like in appearance instead of funnel shape like waterspouts does. People often confuse landspouts with other tornadoes.

A landspout is classified as a tornado type but certainly, it is different from a tornado. For example, tornadoes are made up from supercell thunderstorms. The thunderstorms have mesocyclones, which are rotating updrafts. They are strong enough to stretch inside a thunderstorm, a spinning column of air that can reach the Earth surface. Once it makes contact on the ground, a tornado forms. Whereas, a landspout is not made up of supercell thunderstorms. The convergence of surface boundaries and thunderstorm updraft forms the circulation. The circulation then pulled it in an upward direction to the base of the thunderstorm. In simple words, the tornado always formed from top to down, funnel cloud goes down to the ground but the landspout always formed as the bottom up. When there is a converging air on the sides of the boundary, a landspout starts forming.

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