Whirlwind definition

How to define whirlwind? A whirlwind is a weather phenomenon in which a columnar vortex is made out of swirling air. The direction in which the air inside rotates may be either clockwise or counterclockwise. Whirlwinds happen all around the globe in every season – they are often associated with strong winds and storms.

Unlike tornados, whirlwinds are often smaller and less dangerous. They can be interrupted or just spontaneously end if they encounter a bigger obstruction on their patch. However, they should not be underestimated, as some of them have enough power to pose a threat to a human, as they can reach up to an EF1 rating on the Enhanced Fujita scale – a scale of tornado damage. This means that they are able to strip roofs, overturn mobile homes and break windows.


Types of whirlwinds

Additionally whirlwinds can occur in various environments and thus three major types are:

  • fire whirl, also known as fire devil or fire tornado, is a whirlwind created by a twist of wind or smoke inside a fire, made up of flames and ash.
  • waterspouts is a whirlwind created over a body of water; although there have been observed all over the world, they are most common in tropical areas.
  • tornadoes – a high column of air moving while maintaining the contact with the surface of the Earth.


Another way to categorize whirlwinds is to divide them by how they form:

  • major whirlwind is a much stronger whirlwind created by supercell thunderstorms – powerful spinning storms. Tornados are among many types of major whirlwinds.
  • minor whirlwind is a smaller whirlwind created when a regular wind spin, creating a funnel. This type of whirlwind is significantly less dangerous, typically able to carry only small objects, like leaves, dust or ash.


Weather Game App

Weather phenomena can be amazing and inconceivable. They have always been fascinating to people. Many people can predict weather on the basis of atmospheric phenomena. We would also like to be able to do it, which is why we created this game – a mobile weather application in which you can try yourself in predicting the weather.