Eye of Tornado
Name: Alan P.
I am Liz P., Alan's science teacher. He had this
question during a recent class discussion about storms. Alan would like
to know why the eye of the tornado is still and quiet.
The question about why the eye of the tornado is still and quiet, is a
good one... That is a true statement in a theoretical sense. If the
wind speed on one side of the tornado is at a measured velocity, say 100 mph,
and on the exact other side of the tornado, the velocity is the same, except
in the opposite direction, then at some point, at or near the center, the
velocity would have to be zero.
In actuality, this does not occur, because the funnel of the tornado is
constantly changing in size, wind velocity, and direction of movement, and
to observe or measure the calm wind would be very difficult.
Hurricanes have similar circulations as tornadoes, except on a much
larger scale. The eye of the hurricane can sometimes measure 10 to 20 miles
in diameter, and wind speeds have been measured inside the eye of the
hurricane, and they are very light, or nearly calm.
Wendell Bechtold, meteorologist
Forecaster, National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office, St. Louis, MO
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Update: June 2012