The severe weather season is well underway and we've had our fair share of it this year! Recently a viewer by the name of Bill Jones in Proctorville, OH asks "what's a gustnado and how is it defferent from a tornado?"
A gustnado is a short-lived, relatively weak whirlwind that forms along a gust front. A gust front is the surge of very gusty winds at the leading edge of a thunderstorm's outflow of air. Gustnadoes are not tornadoes. They do not connect with any cloud-base rotation. But because gustnadoes often have a spinning dust cloud at ground level, they are sometimes wrongly reported as tornadoes. Gustnadoes can do minor damage.
Below is a photo of a gustnado taken by the National Weather Service/NOAA.
The last gustnado that made headlines that I can remember locally was back on August 9, 2000. That Wednesday evening, an intense line of severe thunderstorms were racing south through Ohio. At about 8:00 PM a gustnado formed between Proctorville and Athalia in Lawrence County, Ohio. It moved across Route 7 and the Ohio River into Lesage on Route 2 in Cabell County, WV. It did produce damage to some homes and destroyed one barn as well as taking down some trees.
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Make it a great day!