Gale vs. Tornado

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Gale and Tornado is that the Gale is a strong wind and Tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the earth’s surface and a cumulonimbus cloud in the air.

  • Gale

    The U.S. National Weather Service defines a gale as 34–47 knots (63–87 km/h, 17.5–24.2 m/s or 39–54 miles/hour) of sustained surface winds. Forecasters typically issue gale warnings when winds of this strength are expected.

    Other sources use minima as low as 28 knots (52 km/h; 14 m/s; 32 mph), and maxima as high as 90 knots (170 km/h; 46 m/s; 100 mph). Through 1986, the National Hurricane Center used the term gale to refer to winds of tropical force for coastal areas, between 33 knots (61 km/h; 17 m/s; 38 mph) and 63 knots (117 km/h; 72 mph; 32 m/s). The 90 knots (170 km/h; 46 m/s; 100 mph) definition is very non-standard. A common alternative definition of the maximum is 55 knots (102 km/h; 63 mph; 28 m/s).

    The most common way of measuring winds is with the Beaufort scale, which defines a gale as wind from 50 kilometres per hour (14 m/s) to 102 kilometres per hour (28 m/s). It is an empirical measure for describing wind speed based mainly on observed sea conditions. Its full name is the Beaufort wind force scale.

    On the Beaufort scale, a gale can be classified as:

    7: moderate gale (32–38 miles per hour),

    8: fresh gale (39-46 mph),

    9: strong gale (47-54 mph), or

    10: storm/whole gale (55-63 mph).

    A gale is a type of Wind Description preceded by:

    0: calm,

    1: light air,

    2: light breeze,

    3: gentle breeze,

    4: moderate breeze,

    5: fresh breeze, and

    6: strong breeze;

    and succeeded by:

    11: violent storm and

    12: hurricane

    on a Beaufort Wind Scale. There is a unique Beaufort scale number and a unique arrow indication for each type of wind description mentioned above.

    The word gale is derived from the older gail, but its origin is uncertain.

  • Tornado

    A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. The windstorm is often referred to as a twister, whirlwind or cyclone, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology to name a weather system with a low-pressure area in the center around which, from an observer looking down toward the surface of the earth, winds blow counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, and they are often visible in the form of a condensation funnel originating from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud, with a cloud of rotating debris and dust beneath it. Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour (180 km/h), are about 250 feet (80 m) across, and travel a few miles (several kilometers) before dissipating. The most extreme tornadoes can attain wind speeds of more than 300 miles per hour (480 km/h), are more than two miles (3 km) in diameter, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles (more than 100 km).Various types of tornadoes include the multiple vortex tornado, landspout, and waterspout. Waterspouts are characterized by a spiraling funnel-shaped wind current, connecting to a large cumulus or cumulonimbus cloud. They are generally classified as non-supercellular tornadoes that develop over bodies of water, but there is disagreement over whether to classify them as true tornadoes. These spiraling columns of air frequently develop in tropical areas close to the equator and are less common at high latitudes. Other tornado-like phenomena that exist in nature include the gustnado, dust devil, fire whirl, and steam devil.

    Tornadoes occur most frequently in North America, particularly in central and southeastern regions of the United States colloquially known as tornado alley, as well as in Southern Africa, northwestern and southeast Europe, western and southeastern Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh and adjacent eastern India, and southeastern South America. Tornadoes can be detected before or as they occur through the use of Pulse-Doppler radar by recognizing patterns in velocity and reflectivity data, such as hook echoes or debris balls, as well as through the efforts of storm spotters.

    There are several scales for rating the strength of tornadoes. The Fujita scale rates tornadoes by damage caused and has been replaced in some countries by the updated Enhanced Fujita Scale. An F0 or EF0 tornado, the weakest category, damages trees, but not substantial structures. An F5 or EF5 tornado, the strongest category, rips buildings off their foundations and can deform large skyscrapers. The similar TORRO scale ranges from a T0 for extremely weak tornadoes to T11 for the most powerful known tornadoes. Doppler radar data, photogrammetry, and ground swirl patterns (trochoidal marks) may also be analyzed to determine intensity and assign a rating.

  • Gale (verb)

    To sing; charm; enchant.

  • Gale (verb)

    To cry; groan; croak.

  • Gale (verb)

    To talk.

  • Gale (verb)

    To call.

  • Gale (verb)

    To sing; utter with musical modulations.

  • Gale (verb)

    To sail, or sail fast.

  • Gale (noun)

    A very strong wind, more than a breeze, less than a storm; number 7 through to 9 winds on the 12-step Beaufort scale.

  • Gale (noun)

    An outburst, especially of laughter.

    “a gale of laughter”

  • Gale (noun)

    A light breeze.

  • Gale (noun)

    A song or story.

  • Gale (noun)

    A shrub, also called sweet gale or bog myrtle (Myrica gale), that grows on moors and fens.

  • Gale (noun)

    A periodic payment, such as is made of a rent or annuity.

    “Gale day – the day on which rent or interest is due.”

  • Tornado (noun)

    A violent windstorm characterized by a mobile, twisting, funnel-shaped cloud.

    “A tornado is a rotating column of air, pendant from a cumulonimbus cloud, and nearly always observable as a funnel cloud or tuba. Its vortex, meters in diameter, rotates counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere, and clockwise in the southern hemisphere, with wind speeds of 160 to more than 480 kilometres per hour.”


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