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.
Severe thunderstorms rumbled through the Northeast on Monday, lashing the region with damaging winds while also unleashing heavy downpours that triggered flash flooding.
A stifling heat wave will remain entrenched across the Northeast this week, despite a brief reprieve in humidity for some.
Dangerous heat will surge northward and send temperatures rising across the northwestern United States this week.
Downpours will spread from the lower Mississippi Valley to eastern and central Texas early this week, delivering needed rain but raising the concern for flash flooding.
A renewed risk of severe weather will threaten portions of the north-central United States early this week.
Thousands of structures, including a wildlife refuge home to more than 400 animals, are threatened by the Sand Fire in Southern California.
Chester County, PA (1994)
1.5" of rain in 30 minutes.
Wildwood, NJ (2000)
More than 4" of rain.
New Holstein, WI (2007)
Strong thunderstorm winds blew two airplanes into one another at the local airport.