© Copyright Gene Moore
I think this configuration of tornado is the lest likely to be persistent. The cone shape is generally part of the life cycle the tornado goes through on its way to another form, block, wedge or tube. This tornado kept the cone shape for about 5 minutes then changed to a dusty block of clouds on the ground. Shortly after this image was taken the tornado hit a small tank farm in open country igniting one of the tanks. Chaser Chuck Robertson captured the flame in the tornado as he shot video 2 miles north of my position.
Small tornadoes like this tube are only about 50 to 75 meters wide,
but also cause destruction. So far I know of no relation of size related to
strength.. That is, a big tornado is not necessarily a strong tornado and rope
tornadoes have been known to do F-4 damage. Some small tornadoes may be hard to
see if they ride along the southern rain wall of a thunderstorm like the one
pictured here. This tornado is kicking up dirt and mud in a plowed field
southeast of Plainview, Texas. One of the chaser hot spots for tornado action.
This was the second of three tornadoes we would photograph from this storm.
Plainview would suffer damage on this day to the grain elevator and other
buildings on the south side of town.
| This tornado causing F-2 damage just
north of Lubbock, Texas is a good example of how good the visibility can get on
a tornado chase. The long funnel came out of a cloud base 6000 feet above the
ground and was seen for many miles. Rain did occur during the tornado, but it
was in back of the funnel in the form of a thin curtain and did not impede
Tornadoes like these are most common during dryline days on the high plains. More can be learned about this tornado by visiting Caprock Magic.
Well, who could say what the quintessential tornado should look like. I'll end this tour of different tornado types with one much like the one Dorothy saw in the movie and it's from Kansas. It's certainly stirring up lots of dust just like in the movie. Fortunately, we don't see any houses in it, not even hers.
Another thing about this tornado, look at how wide the debris circulation is compared to the actual condensation funnel. Obviously the tornado's circulation can be somewhat to much wider than the parent funnel. That may be important to remember if you're ever close to a tornado, especially one over wet grass where there is little or no dirt to kick up.