When most think about a tornado, they probably picture the typical elephant shaped structure from the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. And indeed, there are classic tornadoes that look just like it. But there are more to that than just that one shape.
The most common shapes are noted as wedge, stove pipe, elephant trunk, rope, and cone. There are also other tornadic phenomenon that occur such as multiple vortex, horizontal tube, and satellite.
Many of these shapes, sizes and odd characteristics can be explained through the environment and storm dynamics of that day. However this is a pretty complex topic and I won’t discuss it in this short article. Perhaps I’ll write on it some other day!
To make a simple note: These tornadic structures are generally dependent on several variables such as wind fields, barometric pressure, temperature, and dew point. These will all affect the appearance of a tornado from it’s shape, size, and how “condensed” it appears.