Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A different side to tornados


I've seen plenty of 'dust devils' in Africa, and a few in the South of this country and on the plains, but I've never seen an actual tornado 'in the flesh', so to speak. (Quite frankly, I'll be perfectly happy to perpetuate that record until I die!) By the same token, I've never seen a waterspout.

This video clip was taken near Sydney, Australia by a news helicopter. It shows multiple waterspouts approaching the city, which apparently caused some damage when they came ashore. I don't know why waterspouts appear so much longer and thinner than most of the tornadoes I see in news reports, but they're strangely pretty . . . albeit deadly!







Peter

6 comments:

skreidle said...

Probably has to do with angular momentum--the moment of inertia of a cylinder of water is much higher than a comparably sized column of air, so if you have a waterspout and a tornado of equal energy, the waterspout is going to be much narrower in diameter.

skreidle said...

Incidentally, my wife and I saw half a dozen simultaneous waterspouts while honeymooning in a pop-up camper at Cape Hatteras--quite an addition to breakfast! Fortunately, they didn't come ashore--and in that location, apparently, they rarely do.

skreidle said...

One more thing--Google 'fire tornado' sometime!

Annie said...

Lots of these in the water around Florida.

Noons said...

Seen my fair share of these on a boat trip from East Timor to Singapore, around 40 years ago. Was told the Navy used to "kill" these things by using them as target practice: a shell right through the spout about a third of the way up and they suck up in a flash.

Some of these came over our house in the Northern beaches in Sydney after hitting the shore, Monday very early morning. A lot of rain and wind but no damage, they were on the way out. Scary, though.

Old NFO said...

Skriedle is correct... Also, there are no 'big' pieces to disrupt the air column.