Name: Teresa I.
I have a question from a student, 8 years old, named Veronica.
She cannot find out how a tornado stops, or what makes the winds stop swirling.
The tornado motion is produced by vertical wind
shear in the thunderstorm. Shear means that the
wind direction (and sometimes the wind speed)
is different at different altitudes. This is
probably made more severe by the strong upward
and downward winds inside the different parts of
When the storm starts to lose its strength or when the
wind shear disappears, the tornado slows down and
David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory
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Update: June 2012