A whirlwind is a weather phenomenon in which a vortex of wind(a vertically oriented rotating column of air) forms due toinstabilities and turbulence created by heating and flow(current) gradients. Whirlwinds occur all over the world and inany season.
Whirlwinds are subdivided into two main types, the great (ormajor) whirlwinds and the lesser (or minor) whirlwinds. The firstcategory includes tornadoes, waterspouts, and landspouts.The range of atmospheric vortices constitute a continuum andare difficult to categorize definitively. Some lesser whirlwindsmay sometimes form in a similar manner to greater whirlwindswith related increase in intensity. These intermediate typesinclude the gustnado and the fire whirl. Other lesser whirlwindsinclude dust devils, as well as steam devils, snow devils, debrisdevils, leaf devils, and shear eddies such as the mountainadoand eddy whirlwinds.
A major whirlwind (such as a tornado) is formed from supercellthunderstorms (the most powerful type of thunderstorm) or otherpowerful storms. When the storms start to spin, they react withother high altitude winds, causing a funnel to spin. A cloud formsover the funnel, making it visible.
A minor whirlwind is created when local winds start to spin on theground. This causes a funnel to form. The funnel moves over theground, pushed by the winds that first formed it. The funnel picksup materials such as dust or snow as it moves over the ground,thus becoming visible.
Major whirlwinds last longer because they are formed from verypowerful winds, and it is hard, though not impossible, to interruptthem. Minor whirlwinds are not as long-lived; the winds that formthem do not last long, and when a minor whirlwind encounters anobstruction (a building, a house, a tree, etc.), its rotation isinterrupted, as is the windflow into it, causing it to dissipate.
Associated weather Edit
Supercell thunderstorms, other powerful storms, and strongwinds are seen with major whirlwinds. Wind storms arecommonly seen with minor whirlwinds. Also, small, semi-powerful"wind blasts" may be seen before some minor whirlwinds, whichcan come from a wind storm. These wind blasts can start to rotateand form minor whirlwinds. Winds from other small storms (suchas rain storms and local thunderstorms) can cause minorwhirlwinds to form. Like major whirlwinds, these minor whirlwindscan also be dangerous at times.==How to Cite This Article==
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