How Do Tornadoes Form? A Comprehensive Explanation of the Mechanisms, Dangers, and Peak Season


The Mechanism of Tornado Formation

Tornadoes form when intense updrafts and downdrafts collide beneath a cumulonimbus cloud. As these updrafts and downdrafts begin to rotate and a stronger updraft is introduced, a funnel-shaped cloud is formed. The following conditions must be met for a tornado to occur:

  • The presence of a cumulonimbus cloud that creates strong updrafts
  • Wind shear, which is the difference in wind direction and speed between the upper and lower atmosphere
  • The collision of cold and warm air masses

It is believed that tornadoes form when these conditions intersect.

What Happens if You Get Caught in a Tornado?

Being caught in a tornado is extremely dangerous. Tornado wind speeds can exceed 100 km/h (60 mph), and the debris that is picked up can cause significant damage. If you find yourself in the path of a tornado, you may face the following risks:

  • Blunt force trauma and lacerations from flying debris
  • Being thrown by the strong winds
  • Being crushed or suffocated by collapsing buildings
  • Fires caused by the tornado

To protect yourself from a tornado, it is essential to seek shelter in a sturdy building and stay away from windows.

Peak Tornado Season

In Japan, tornadoes primarily occur from spring to autumn, with the peak season being September to October. During this time, the atmospheric conditions become unstable due to the approach of typhoons, making it easier for tornadoes to form.

However, tornadoes can occur year-round. They can form during the summer months due to the development of cumulonimbus clouds or during the winter months due to the influx of cold air.

In Conclusion

Tornadoes are natural phenomena that form when updrafts and downdrafts collide beneath a cumulonimbus cloud. If caught in a tornado, you may face dangers such as flying debris, strong winds, building collapse, and fires. Tornadoes are most likely to occur from spring to autumn, with the peak season being September to October in Japan.

To protect yourself from tornadoes, it is crucial to stay informed about weather forecasts and promptly seek shelter when tornado warnings are issued. Take refuge in a sturdy building, away from windows, to ensure your safety. Understanding the fearsome nature of tornadoes and taking appropriate action is key to minimizing damage and staying safe.