Tornado and Hurricane Causes
Name: Kelley C.
Dear Sir or Madam, I am currently working as an intern
in a second grade classroom and I am planning on using this wonderful
website in my science curriculum. However, before i introduced this to
my students I wanted to test the waters for myself. So, our next
science lesson is concentrating on storms and the children have shown a
particular interest in what causes the formation of tornados and
hurricanes. Could you please enlighten me as to the causes of these
phenomenon? Thank you for time and the invaluable resources that you
provide, Kelley Crenshaw.
We would be most delighted to help. There is a search engine for just this
site found at:
For your first topic, type in tornado in the window, and about 30 hits
will come up. Do the same for hurricane. If the answer to your questions
are not there, then drop us a line and we will try to help. Another good
search engine is
Although I did not directly answer your question, I hope that this helps
you mine information from the NEWTON BBS Ask A Scientist service.
---Nathan A. Unterman
Go here on the Newton site:
Type "tornado" and/or "hurricane" into the search engine window. You'll
discover at least 40 references to tornadoes and hurricanes ready and waiting
for your perusal. Good luck. We are waiting for your questions.
You will probably receive a number of replies
on this subject.
Certainly an important point is
that tornados and hurricanes are formed by very
Tornados result from vertical wind shear in the
vicinity of a thunderstorm, often initiated by a
nearby jetstream; this shear, if strong enough,
becomes translated into a vortex of spinning air
(often the thunderstorm itself is also set into a
rotating motion). The tornado vortex often extends
well up into the thunderstorm.
Hurricanes are formed from the organization
of multiple thunderstorms into a large cyclonic
system that is fed by the warm waters of the equator
and/or gulf stream circulations in different parts of
the world (most notably in the Atlantic).
If you would like more specific information, you could
do a search on the internet and field a wealth of
information, statistics and photographs about
tornados and hurricanes. If your classroom has a
computer with an internet connections, this would be
a good exercise for your students.
David R. Cook
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory
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Update: June 2012