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Virtual twister reveals possible source of tornado longevity

Storm simulation suggests rain keeps tornadoes spinning

By
7:00am, September 4, 2015
computer simulated tornado

CYBER STORM  The 60-kilometer-wide swirling thunderstorm in this simulation spawned the first digitally created long-lived EF5 tornado (bottom, right-center). The 700-meter-wide virtual twister may reveal why some real-life tornadoes linger.

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A rotating updraft within this 20-kilometer-high thunderstorm sired a violent tornado. The twister, which looks quite small  compared with the rest of the towering storm, packed winds at over 320 kilometers per hour and left behind a long trail of devastation. Or it would have, had the storm been real.

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