During this science experiment, WLTX Meteorologist Danielle Miller is focusing on tornadoes.
See this experiment, as well as several others, in action thanks to our friends at WLTX.
In order for a storm to be categorized as severe, one of three things need to happen:
Winds must be 58 miles per hour or greater
Hail must have a diameter of one inch or greater
There's a tornado
For a tornado to form, opposing winds must be present in the atmosphere, also known as wind shear. This wind shear creates a horizontal rotating column of air. Eventually, the updraft of a thunderstorm tilts that rotating column and makes it vertical, which could turn into a tornado.
In this experiment, our setup is a little different than in our atmosphere, but you will still be able to make a vortex.
glass jar with lid
glitter or sprinkles (optional)
Take a glass jar and fill it full of water, leaving about an inch of air free at the top.
Then put one tablespoon of dish soap into the water.
Put the lid back on your jar tightly and move your jar in a circular motion for a few seconds.
Once you stop spinning the jar, you should see a vortex or a tornado form in the center.
You can play around with your environment in the jar by adding glitter or sprinkles that can act as debris flying around your tornado.
South Carolina does experience tornadoes during severe weather season - some of which can be strong EF3 or EF4 tornadoes.
Typically, the best chance of seeing severe weather in South Carolina is between the months of March and May, but you should be prepared year-round for bad weather.
Danielle Miller is a meteorologist at WLTX-TV in Columbia, SC who provides regular weekend forecasts and digital content during the week. Learn more about Miller and how she got interested in weather by clicking here.