When a weather person talks about a cyclone, they are speaking of a spinning, windy system that circulates around a low pressure, kind of like the way water spins around on its way out the bottom of your bath tub. A small but vicious cyclone is called a tornado. They may not be very large, but the wind speeds near the center of a tornado can be 300 or 500 miles per hour. If the spinning core touches the ground, the high winds destroy most structures in a narrow path. The basic ingredients for a tornado are similar to those for a bad thunderstorm: instability, high winds above the storm, and humidity. The humidity provides some of the destructive energy, as heat is released when water vapor becomes liquid.
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