Tornado Size and Vortex Spin Rate
Date: Spring 2012
Does a tornado with a smaller or larger vortex spin faster?
Unfortunately, this question cannot really be answered well,
partly because our measurements of tornado spin velocities are
primarily deduced from damage caused by the tornado in
comparison to damage produced in a laboratory setting by certain
It seems fairly clear from the many surveys of tornado damage in
comparison to reported or deduced tornado diameter that the
diameter is often not the deciding factor in the spin velocity.
The severity (intensity) and height of the thunderstorm that
the tornado was produced from seems to be most important.
David R. Cook
Climate Research Section
Environmental Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory
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Update: June 2012