Ask Scoopy: Wind

Q: From 1950 to 2004, how many tornadoes formed in Sacramento County?

A: Four tornadoes. The strongest was an F2.

Q: From 1950 to 2004, what California county experienced the most tornadoes?

A: Los Angeles County experienced 41 tornadoes.

Q: What was the country's deadliest tornado?

A: The Tri-State Tornado killed 695 people.

Q: How many tornadoes form in California annually?

A: An average of four.

Q: How many tornadoes rotate clockwise?

A: About 1 in 100.

Q: Most tornadoes rotate which direction?

A: Counterclockwise.

Q: Which month spawns the most tornadoes?

A: The month of May. June is second.

Q: Tornadoes have not occurred on which continent?

A: Antarctica.

Q: Why do most tornadoes form in the afternoon and early evening?

A: Because they form from thunderstorms, a lot of solar heating is needed.

Q: Most tornadoes occur during which time of the day?

A: Most form in the afternoon and early evening.

Q: What percentage of the country's tornadoes are considered violent?

A: Actually, only about 5 percent are violent (EF3 or higher).

Q: Where is "Tornado Alley?"

A: Roughly from central Texas through eastern South Dakota.

Q: What is a gust front?

A: A boundary separating cool thunderstorm air and surrounding air.

Q: How much water escapes Earth each day due to the polar wind?

A: About 1,000 gallons escape each day.

Q: What is the polar wind?

A: Charged plasma that travels into space from the upper atmosphere.

Q: The Enhanced Fujita scale (EF) ranks what weather phenomenon?

A: The EF scale ranks tornadoes by wind estimates based on damage.

Q: What are tornadoes that form over water called?

A: Waterspouts.

Q: What is a veering wind?

A: A wind that turns clockwise with height.

Q: Are veering winds associated with warming or cooling?

A: They are associated with warm air advection.

Q: What is the opposite of veering?

A: Backing winds that shift counterclockwise.

Q: The average tornado moves in which direction?

A: From southwest to northeast.

Q: What state sees the most tornadoes?

A: Texas

Q: What is considered the windiest place on Earth?

A: Winds at Commonwealth Bay in Antarctica reach 74 mph every three days.

Q: 16,000 windmills provide power to how many homes in California?

A: Windmills provide power to 300,000 homes (1% of the state's power).

Q: The National Weather Service issues a wind advisory at what speed?

A: Sustained wind speed of 30 mph.

Q: How strong are the winds in a Category 5 hurricane?

A: 156 mph and greater.

Q: On a weather chart, what is stream line?

A: Steam line shows wind direction and trajectory

Q: What does chinook wind mean?

A: It means "snow eater" because of the warm nature of the wind.

Q: What is the term used for "foehn winds" in the lee of the Rockies?

A: Chinook!

Q: Should planes take off with a tail or head wind?

A: A head wind helps the plane get airborne.

Q: What wind reverses its direction seasonally?

A: The monsoon.

Q: A wind advisory requires that winds be how strong?

A: Wind advisories are for winds 31 to 39 mph.

Q: What is a multiple vortex tornado?

A: A tornado with mini-tornadoes inside it. This is different from multiple tornadoes.

Q: What is Beaufort Scale?

A: It is a system used to report wind speeds.

Q: What Beaufort wind scale is equivalent to hurricane force winds?

A: 12 to 17, which represents winds above 74 miles per hour.

Q: What is Katabatic Wind?

A: A wind that is created by air flowing downhill.

Q: In terms of wind, what is a knot?

A: 1.15 miles per hour, or 0.5 meters per second.

Q: What is a jet stream?

A: Relatively strong winds concentrated in a narrow stream in the atmosphere.

Q: Which center issues hurricane watches and warnings?

A: National Hurricane Center.

Q: What is a dust devil?

A: A tornado-like swirl of air that picks up dust off the ground.

Q: What U.S. city has been hit by the most tornadoes?

A: Oklahoma City.

Q: Where did the deadliest recorded tornado in the world occur?

A: Bangladesh. Estimates put the death toll at more than 1,300 people.

Q: Where do typhoons occur?

A: Typhoons occur in the western Pacific Ocean.

Q: What is the Fujita Scale?

A: It is a system of rating the intensity of tornadoes.

Q: What is the strength of a super typhoon?

A: It has maximum sustained winds of 130 knots (150 mph) or greater.

Q: What is upslope flow?

A: It is air that moves from lower terrain to higher terrain.

Q: What is a willy-willy?

A: A tropical cyclone of hurricane strength near Australia.

Q: What is a gust front?

A: The leading edge of gusty winds from thunderstorm downdrafts.

Q: Atlantic hurricane names recycle how often?

A: Hurricane names recycle every six years

Q: How many knots is a 10 mph wind?

A: 8.69 knots.

Q: What is the minimum wind in a hurricane?

A: 64 knots (74 mph).

Q: What is the range of wind speeds in a tropical storm?

A: 34 to 63 knots (39 to 73 mph).

Q: What is the maximum sustained wind in a tropical depression?

A: 33 knots (38 mph).

Q: What did Hurricane Ivan set a record for in 2004?

A: Most tornadoes spawned; Ivan unleashed 117 tornadoes.

Q: If chimney smoke descends rather than rises, what does this indicate?

A: Warm air aloft.

Q: What is the name of the scale to measure hurricane intensity?

A: The Saffir-Simpson scale.

Q: On average, how often do hurricanes hit Hawaii?

A: About once every 15 years.

Q: What is wind shear?

A: A variation of wind with height.

Q: Does wind shear help hurricane development?

A: It actually discourages it.

Q: What was Hurricane Rita's minimum central pressure?

A: Data indicate a pressure of 897 millibars on Sept. 22, 2005.

Q: Hurricane Katrina made landfall as what category storm?

A: It hit as a Category 3 storm.

Q: What was Hurricane Katrina's minimum central pressure?

A: A central pressure of 902 millibars was recorded on Aug. 28, 2005.

Q: What was the smallest recorded tropical cyclone?

A: Tropical Cyclone Tracy, which hit Darwin, Australia, in 1974, measured only 60 miles across.

Q: What is the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane?

A: Sustained wind speeds. Tropical storm: 39-73 mph; hurricane, 74 mph or greater.

Q: What is the lowest wind speed a hurricane can have?

A: 74 mph.

Q: Hurricanes can't form within how many degrees of the equator?

A: They can't form between the equator and roughly 5 degrees north latitude.

Q: Why can't hurricanes form within 5 degrees of the equator?

A: The Coriolis effect is too weak close to the equator.

Q: What causes a storm to spin counter-clockwise?

A: The Coriolis effect pushes motion to the right in the northern hempishere.

Q: Which solar phenomenon produces the aurora?

A: The solar wind.

Q: From where is the term "hurricane" derived?

A: From Huracan, the Carib god of evil.

Q: When does the North Pacific hurricane season begin?

A: It officially begins May 15.