We all have heard of a tornado, but what about the slang term "gustnado?"
A gustnado is a short-lived, ground-based swirling wind that can form on the leading edge of a severe thunderstorm.
Although the name comes from "gust front of a tornado," and a gustnado almost looks like a tornado, it is not considered to be one. A gustnado develops in a different way than a classic tornado does.
Very strong thunderstorms produce a powerful downward push of air called a downdraft. The downdraft winds then spread outward upon hitting the ground, causing a strong rush of wind at the surface. If there is enough instability, rotation may develop and a gustnado might form.
The gustnado spins upward from the ground, extending between 30 to 300 feet above the surface. However, the rotating column of air in a gustnado is not connected to the base of a cloud, making it different from tornado.
The average gustnado lasts a few seconds to a few minutes, like a tornado does, but is relatively weak and brief. They may be accompanied by rain, but mostly just toss dust and small debris into the air. Gustnadoes can sometimes reach wind speeds between 60 to 80 mph, resulting in significant damage, similar to that of an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado.
This weekend will be one of the busiest travel weekends across the country as millions people head home from Christmas travels.
Just in time for Boxing Day and the weekend, a winter storm is set to dive into the United Kingdom and central Europe with rain and disruptive snow.
A system tracking over the Rocky Mountains will spread snow over the region and into the Plains through the remainder of the week.
While lacking across a large part of the United States on Christmas Day, arctic air is set to make a comeback during the final days of 2014.
On Christmas Day in 1776, George Washington led his troops across the Delaware River, in spite of treacherous weather, for a pivotal moment in the Revolutionary War.
While many areas across the country felt a milder Christmas morning, residents across Utah, Montana and Idaho woke to snow-covered ground in time for holiday celebrations.
The Northeast (2002)
First snowstorm to affect the region on Christmas day, since 1978. 30 inches fell in Cooperdtown NY, 21" fell in Tobyhanna, PA and 19.5 inches fell in Albany NY.
Trenton, NJ (1776)
Washington crossed ice clogged Delaware, marched on Trenton in driving sleet/snow- storm. 24" had fallen in Virginia, but heavy snow belt veered seaward. British surprised, captured - all recrossed river.
New England (1778)
The Hessian Storm at Newport commenced 0 degrees, 18" of snow, NE gales - 50 soldiers reported frozen or lost - all of New England suffered.