Like many of you, I was inspired by the movie The Wizard of Oz as a child and have always liked the tornado scene. The scene looks so real in the movie as the sky turns dark, winds begin blowing, quickly turning from a soft breeze to a daunting, frightening tornado snaking back and forth churning up the Kansas corn fields. When I think of the term tornado I inevitably think of that scene in the Wizard of Oz. Tornados are often referred to as the killer storms because a tornado is a violently rotating column of air that comes in contact with the ground. The violent swirls of air are located on the undersides of cumulonimbus clouds and in some cases the "funnel cloud" is not even observable.
Tornadoes usually develop in thunderstorms that develop in warm, moist air; more specifically in the turbulent air of a thunderstorm which develops when a cold front and warm front collide. The spinning air creates a tunnel, sometimes multiple tunnels which remain close to the clouds. In order to know if a tornado is forming one can observe the studded cumulonimbus cloud with little rounded bumps at the bottom of the cumulonimbus cloud, or Mammatus cloud; this is a true hint that a tornado is about to form. From these Mammatus clouds winds can cause the bumps to lighten downward thus forming a white column of air, not yet touching the ground. When the column of air sticks to the ground it becomes dramatically different and the funnel becomes darker as it picks up soil and whatever else is in its path. At this point a big sound comes from the tornado that is really horrible to the ear. After tornados roar on the ground for about 15 minuets destroying everything in their path, they dissipate back into clouds.
The tornados that occur in the Great Plains of North America usually develop when warm fronts from the Gulf of Mexico and cold polar air from Canada meet. Tornados are such normal occurrences in the central United States that this area has been...