Storm Track 3 Digital Extra: Gustnado vs tornado

Weather Stories

Sunday evening we had some wild weather in western and central Kansas. Damaging wind gusts from 60 to 85 MPH were reported in many communities from the state line to just west of I-135.

KSN viewer, Andrew Homer captured this video of a gustnado. A gustnado is different from the typical tornado we have seen across the Kansas Prairie.

Here is a side by side comparison. A gustnado forms in the outflow of a line of storms where winds are strong and damaging. You have this tremendous rush of air that is blasting the ground. Once it hits the ground, you get a vortex at the surface that kicks up a lot of dirt and boy is it dry out in western Kansas!

There is typically no connection in a gustnado from the surface to the parent storm cloud. A tornado on the other hand is a rapidly rotating column of air that does make the connection from the ground to the storm base. Both can cause damage with a gustnado on the lower end of the Enhanced Fujuita Scale sometimes given a rating of EF-0 to EF-1.

–Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman

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