Most Wyoming Twisters This Spring Were Actually NOT Tornadoes
That might not be a tornado that you saw.
While it looks very much the same, it might be a "landspout."
Many funnels that have been seen, reported, and posted on social media in and around Wyoming are actually landspouts.
Land spouts move slow, from the ground up, and typically have a top wind speed of 60mph.
That means that the twister did not start up in the sky. It actually began spinning on the ground and worked it's way up.
In 1985, a meteorologist named Howard B. Bluestein coined the name “Landspout.” Landspouts are similar to waterspouts in their mechanism and resemblance. That is the reason so many people get confused in differentiating a Landspout tornado from a waterspout tornado. They both include in the category of tornadoes. However, there are specific characteristics that distinguish Landspout from other tornadoes. As it gets clear from its name that it emerges near the land or surface where the winds are converging. These tornadoes have flat bases and fluffy, cotton-like appearance. (Tornado Facts & Information).
While they look impressive they don't usually cause much damage.
EMS radar will pick up and track tornadoes.
Tornadoes start from the sky and drop down, with wind speed of 70mph or more.
In the formation, Landspouts are similar to waterspouts except they occur over the land surface.
They also formed when there is no sign of a thunderstorm.
Tornadoes are made up from supercell thunderstorms. The thunderstorms have mesocyclones, which are rotating updrafts. They are strong enough to stretch inside a thunderstorm, a spinning column of air that can reach the Earth surface.
Once it makes contact on the ground, a tornado forms.
Whereas, a Landspout is not made up of supercell thunderstorms.
The convergence of surface boundaries and thunderstorm updraft forms the circulation.
The circulation then pulled it in an upward direction to the base of the thunderstorm. (Tornado Facts & Information).
This has been a very active spring.
That's not a complaint, we really do need the rain.
But the colder air has helped form many of these land spouts that you've seen appearing on social media.
While land spouts do little damage they can still toss loose debris around.
It's not uncomon to have hail in the area.
So some precautions should be taken.
But for the most part you can just sit back and enjoy the show.
A land spout will not last as long as a tornado, so get your videos and photos while you can.