Vortices of air constantly surround us, invisible to the naked eye until something physical gives them shape. While tornadoes are the most well-known, destructive form, some aspects of tornado formation still pose a mystery for meteorologists studying the dynamics of a thunderstorm.
Unlike tornadoes, vortices animated by snow, leaves and even insects are often the result of wind which is deflected by natural geology or solid objects, which cause the air flows to whirl, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell said. Other vortices made of fire, dust and steam are often the result of thermal uplift caused by variations between the surface temperature and the temperature of the atmosphere.
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These variations in temperature or fluctuations in air pressure trying to reach an equilibrium can give rise to enormous vertical, columnlike structures depending on varying weather conditions, Ferrell added.
An area of low pressure off the coast of Africa became Tropical Depression Six on Saturday night.
Ignacio has rapidly strengthened into a major hurricane as it tracks toward the Hawaiian Islands.
A strong storm system moved into Washington on Saturday, delivering powerful winds that lead to widespread damage and power outages.
While Erika has weakened to a tropical rainstorm, Florida will still become the target of potentially flooding downpours during the final days of August and start of September.
The 2015 US Open Tennis championships begin Aug.31 and heat and humidity will return for to the Big Apple for the tournament's first week.
As many as seven tropical cyclones were churning throughout the world this past week, while smoke from wildfires across the Pacific Northwest led to poor air quality across the region.
East Coast (1954)
Hurricane Carol hit with the single greatest property loss to date.
Raleigh, NC (1965)
46 degrees -- coldest ever in August.
Three inches of snow fell in parts of the state; record lows were set in 31 northeastern U.S. cities and towns.