The difference between landspouts and tornadoes

June 2, 2023
While similar in appearance, landspouts and tornadoes differ in many ways
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 6:54 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - It’s been quite the busy afternoon with a few tornado warnings east of the Tri-Cities. But it may surprise you that these were not typical tornadoes, in fact, they were actually landspouts. While they are similar in appearance, their origins are different.

Photo by Jessica Gibson. Aurora landspout, June 2, 2023
Photo by Jessica Gibson. Aurora landspout, June 2, 2023 (KSNB)

Here are a few photos submitted to us by Jessica Gibson of Aurora. She took these photos of the landspout from her back deck with her phone as the landspout passed through the aurora area late this afternoon. You’ll notice that the structure with a landspout is not the same as a traditional tornado as the spinning motion originates near the ground.

Photo by Jessica Gibson. Aurora landspout,  June 2, 2023
Photo by Jessica Gibson. Aurora landspout, June 2, 2023(KSNB)

Landspouts form while the thunderstorm cloud is still growing. Traditional tornadoes originate in supercell thunderstorms and have a rotating updraft. While there is a spinning motion with landspouts, there is no rotating updraft or mesocylone associated with it. Supercall tornadoes are in most, if not all cases, stronger than landspouts and are rated by the national weather service using the EF scale. While landspouts may be weaker than tradional tornadoes, they can still cause damage as they spin along. As with any severe weather, be sure to take photos and videos from a safe distance.