Weather and Meteorology - Glossary
Included in this glossary you'll find terms related to our public forecasting program, weather observations and unique terminology that is of Environment Canada's hurricane centre and ice service products.
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a cumuliform cloud to the surface. The pressure deficit in a tornado often results in the formation of a funnel cloud that extends fully or partially from the cumuliform cloud to the surface. A tornado is typically also made visible by rotating debris near the ground or a spray ring near the water surface.
A tornado can be tens to hundreds of metres wide and have a lifespan of minutes or hours. In terms of size and area, it is one of the least extensive of all storms, but in terms of how violent storms can be, it is the world's most severe.
Canada has the second highest tornado occurrence rate in the world, behind the United States. In Canada, tornadoes occur mostly on the Prairies and in southern Ontario with a peak frequency in late June and July.
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