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What is an isolated tornado?

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Quick Answer

An isolated tornado is a term used by meteorologists to warn the public that an occasional tornado is possible with approaching storms. When this term is used, forecasters do not expect a widespread outbreak of tornadoes to occur. A tornado watch may or not be issued when isolated tornadoes are mentioned.

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Any severe storm is capable of producing a tornado with no warning, even when weather conditions are not favorable for the development of tornadoes. In order to keep the public safe from rapidly changing conditions, meteorologists will sometimes mention the possibility of an isolated tornado anytime severe weather is expected.

A tornado is a column of air that rotates violently, and with winds sometimes in excess of 300 mph, it is considered the most destructive localized weather phenomenon. Most tornadoes form inside rotating supercell storms, which are severe storms that produce hail, high winds, and heavy rain. In the United States, a portion of the Midwest is called "Tornado Alley" because of the numerous tornadoes that occur in this area. Although tornadoes can occur anywhere and anytime of the year, the peak season is in May for North America. The more vigorous and complex a storm system is, the more tornadoes it typically produces.

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  • Q:

    What is a tornado?

    A:

    According to The Weather Channel, a tornado is "a violently rotating column of air that stretches from a cloud to the Earth's surface." The source also states that tornadoes are "the most destructive of all storm-scale atmospheric phenomena." Often forming from a thunderstorm, tornadoes also result from hurricanes.

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  • Q:

    What is the biggest tornado that ever happened?

    A:

    According to the Washington Post, the widest tornado ever recorded was the El Reno tornado that touched down west of Oklahoma City on May 31, 2013. The twister reached a maximum width of 2.6 miles.

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    How big can a tornado get?

    A:

    It is unknown how large and strong a tornado can get. As of 2013, the strongest wind speed recorded in a tornado was 318 mph in 1999 Moore, Oklahoma, by Doppler on Wheels (DOW), and the widest tornado on record occurred on May 31, 2013, near El Reno, Oklahoma.

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    How fast is a tornado?

    A:

    Tornadoes have wind gusts of 65 miles per hour to over 200 miles per hour. Tornadoes are classified by strength and estimated wind speed, according to the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which assigns a rating of between EF0 and EF5.

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