Twisters in the Pacific Northwest – Part 5: simulating a tornado

Weather

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Are you ready to have a little fun? This is going to be a hands-on lesson to wrap up our “Twisters in the Pacific” Weather Kids series.

Today we are going to simulate a tornado in a bottle. Make sure to check out the story and then go and watch the video above. There a few ways to do this, but you can use the version below and in the video.

Before we get into the construction of the tool you will use and the theory behind the tornado in a bottle, let’s think back through some of the previous lessons.

TWISTERS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST SERIES

PART 1 – TORNADO INTRODUCTION (Do you remember how tornadoes develop?)

PART 2 – TORNADO HISTORY (Can tornadoes in Oregon and Washington happen?)

PART 3 – TORNADO ALERTS (What should you do when there is a tornado alert?)

PART 4 – TORNADO HUNTING (This is what it looks like to be a storm chaser!)

Tornado in a bottle with chief meteorologist Natasha Stenbock

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE

Ultimately, you’re going to create a tornado with the use of water and centripetal force (we have a lesson about that). It is going to look like the photo to the right. You’re going to create a scenario where you encourage wind shear and the result of that will be a tornado. Now is a good time to get your ingredients ready and to make sure you understand the steps.

CHECK OUT THE GRAPHIC NOW

INGREDIENTS

Get two 2-liter bottles, water, 1 washer to match the size of your bottle top, and flex tape! You can use food dye or glitter if you want to add color to your experiment, but it’s not a necessity.

STEPS

Fill the bottom bottle with 2/3 of water. Place the washer on top of the bottle with water, line it up with the opening, turn the empty bottle upside down and place directly onto washer, and secure with tape. Make sure to give this step a lot of attention because if it isn’t secure, it may leak. After this step, you ultimately have the final product.

GIVE IT A TEST! Now is the time to turn it over and give the contraption a circular motion guide. Don’t shake it like you want it to explode. Don’t spin it on the ground horizontally. You’re going to hold it upright and move it in a circular motion. Watch the video for help.

How did it turn out? Did you create a tornado in a bottle? You can flip it over and do it again and again. Now that you have created the circulation of a tornado, think about how that looks on a large, life-size scale. The true power of a tornado is something we’ll admire from the safety of our home-made bottle.

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