Weather Wednesday: Fire Tornado

Weather Wednesday

Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) – A fire tornado, or firenado, sounds like something only the year 2020 could brew up. Before a year of change, fire tornadoes have been recorded before.

A fire tornado is exactly as the name says, a tornado on fire. Firenadoes occur during wildfires because intense wildfires can create their own weather.

A parcel of air, in a wildfire, under extreme heat will rise and during the climb, it begins to cool. As it cools condensation occurs and soon a cloud forms. The cloud can stretch through multiple layers in the atmosphere where the winds are moving in different directions. Soon a horizontal rotation occurs. Once the ingredient of ‘lift’ is involved, the rotation becomes vertical and can soon spin a tornado of fire.

Fire tornadoes also help fire spread as it throws embers on the dry terrain sparking a new flame. More commonly, fire whirls are experienced. A fire whirl is similar to a dust devil, but on fire.

In Michigan, fire tornadoes are not expected because wildfires are not experienced in the Great Lakes state. A tornado itself is possible and that is what to keep an eye out for.

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