WeatherSharon's Weather Blog


Difference between a landspout and tornado

Landspout formed near Driscoll Tuesday evening
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Posted at 4:05 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 17:05:57-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An isolated t-storm on the northwest side of Corpus Christi moved southwest past Driscoll and north of Bishop early in the evening on Tuesday, August 23rd. A landspout tornado developed to the west of Driscoll before dissipating. No damage was reported.

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There are different types of tornadoes and although a landspout is still a type of tornado, it is created differently than a supercell tornado.

A supercell tornado always forms from the top down as a funnel cloud that goes down to the ground. A landspout always forms from the ground up to the thunderstorm when there is converging air.

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Tornadoes form in supercell thunderstorms which are rotating updrafts. They are strong enough to stretch inside a thunderstorm, and form a spinning column of air that can reach the surface. Once it makes contact on the ground, a tornado forms.

A landspout does not form in supercell thunderstorms. The convergence of surface boundaries and thunderstorm updraft forms the circulation. The circulation is then pulled in an upward direction to the base of the thunderstorm.

A landspout is not a long duration tornado and tends to be weak that lasts only for a brief time. According to the EF (Enhanced Fujita) scale, landspouts are usually at EF0 level where the intensity of winds is low. However, in some cases, winds inside a landspout can reach 100 miles per hour.

A landspout tornado is difficult to forecast since doppler radar cannot detect them, unlike tornadoes which form in the supercell. Doppler radar can detect wind velocities and direction inside the storm, indicating rotation and a possible tornado.

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