Large gustnado damaged two buildings in Solola, Guatemala

Large gustnado damaged two buildings in Solola, Guatemala

A large gustnado formed in Solola, Guatemala on February 13, 2019. Due to its large size and brownish color, the phenomenon was mistaken for tornado and quickly spread through social networks and media.

According to Tiempo, the whirlpool quickly gained strength and caused damage to two buildings but there were no reports of injuries.

Although some described the phenomenon as a tornado, the Guatemalan National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology confirmed it was, in fact, a gustnado.

A gustnado is a short-lived, shallow surface-based vortex which forms within the downburst emanating from a thunderstorm. The name is a portmanteau of "gust front tornado", as gustnadoes form due to non-tornadic straight-line wind features in the downdraft (outflow), specifically within the gust front of strong thunderstorms.

This phenomenon has little in common with tornadoes structurally or dynamically in regard to vertical development, intensity, longevity, or formative process, as classic tornadoes are associated with mesocyclones within the inflow (updraft) of the storm, not the outflow.

The average gustnado lasts a few seconds to a few minutes, although there can be several generations and simultaneous swarms. Most have the winds of an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado (up to 177 km/h / 110 mph).

They are not considered true tornadoes (unless they connect the surface to the ambient cloud base) by most meteorologists and are not included in tornado statistics in most areas. Sometimes referred to as spin-up tornadoes, that term more correctly describes the rare tornadic gustnado that connects the surface to the ambient clouded base, or more commonly to the relatively brief but true tornadoes that are associated with a mesovortex.

While injuries or deaths are rare from gustnadoes, strong ones can cause damage and they are hazardous to drivers. There is some speculation that a gustnado might have been responsible for the collapse of a stage at the Indiana State Fair on August 13, 2011 which killed 7 people and injured 58.

Featured image credit: Meteored

Register/become a supporter

Support us AD-FREE

Your support is crucial for our survival. It makes this project fully self-sustainable and keeps us independent and focused on the content we love to create and share. 

Monthly subscription

Subscription options

Yearly subscription

Subscription options

You'll receive your ad-free account for 20x faster browsing experience, clean interface without any distractions, ability to post comments without prior editorial check, all our desktop and mobile applications (current and upcoming) ad-free and with the full set of features available, a direct line of communication and much more. See all options.

Comments

No comments yet. Why don't you post the first comment?

Post a comment

Your name: *

Your email address: *

Comment text: *

The image that appears on your comment is your Gravatar