"Gustnado", or "gust-front tornado," is a low-level rotating cloud that is short-lived. It can sometimes form within a severe thunderstorm. Reports say that the average gustnado lasts just seconds to a few minutes.
According to the National Weather Service, gustnadoes are wispy, and their wind speeds could reach up to 80 mph. Gustnadoes have less in common with tornadoes, and have more in common with whirlwinds.
Deaths and injuries are not typically associated with gustnadoes. However, strong gustnadoes can bring extensive damage to an area.
Just yesterday, 12 tornadoes were reported in western Wyoming, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. This was accompanied by severe flooding and baseball-size hail. The intense weather activity has sparked interest in lesser known weather terminology like, "derecho", and "gustnado".
A number of people in the Midwest reported seeing gustnadoes within the past few days.
Dramatic footage of gustnadoes in action
Yesterday, NBC News erroneously tweeted a warning at 7:30 a.m., stating that "Severe storms, destructive winds and a 'gustnado' threaten millions today." Gustnadoes cannot threaten millions. As the video footage reveals, gustnadoes are comparable to whirlwinds. However, there have been instances where winds destroyed property, and caused deaths.
Nonetheless, much of the areas highlighted in red did not even get rain.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 4, 2014
Other reports stated that over 35 million Americans were affected by destructive winds of yesterday's storm in the Midwest. Late Tuesday, the National Weather Service recorded 1.08 inches of rain at the Omaha Airport over the span of 8 minutes—about 8 inches per hour. As a result, the airport closed.
Although "gustnado" has not yet been accepted as official weather terminology, the term is widely used in the Midwest of the United States, where sightings of the phenomenon are most common.
What Is A Gustnado?
Image via YouTube