Hurricanes form out in the ocean when powerful storms meet up together and start swirling
around generating vortexes. Vortexes are also formed in
Tornado's, Whirlpools, and Dust
Devils.  In the experiment below you can make a Hurricane / Tornado in a bottle!

- 2 plastic Bottles (empty 1 liter water bottles work well)
- Water
- Colored Lamp Oil  (Optional)
- Food Coloring (Optional)
- Small Styrofoam Balls (Optional)
- Small Washer 1/4"
- Duct tape

Watch Video: Make Hurricane or Tornado In A Bottle

Process To Make A Hurricane or Tornado In A Bottle

1) Fill one of the empty bottles to the top with water.
2) Add a couple drops of food coloring if you want.
3) If you have small styrofoam balls put them in to simulate flying debris.
4) Put the 1/4 inch washer on top of the filled bottle.
5) Now invert the other bottle on top of it so they are connected. Use duct tape to make a nice
water tight secure connection between the bottles. One bottle should be empty and one should
be full.
6) Take a little extra time to ensure the bottles are snug / flush against the washer before duct
taping together. You want everything perfectly flat when you tape.
7) Turn the bottle with the water upside down so the water is on top. How long does it take for
the water to drain into the bottom bottle without squeezing it (a long time).
8) Now try this! Make a Vortex and watch how fast the water moves from the top bottle to the
bottom bottle. To make a Vortex put the bottle with the water on top. Hold the bottles with your
hand in the middle where the two connect. Then twirl the bottle around in a circular motion for a
few seconds and hold still. Wham!

The Science Behind Making A Hurricane or Tornado In A Bottle:
Twirling and swirling the bottle creates a vortex as the water moves down through the hole in the
washer. What you see is basically a Hurricane in a plastic bottle. When the vortex is generated,
air from the bottom bottle can more easily move to the top bottle and the water comes out
quicker. Try looking in the center of the bottle as you do the experiment and you will see the hole
in the middle also known as "the eye of the hurricane". It takes more time for the water to move
down when you let the bottle sit without making a vortex because the water and air must take
turns moving through the hole in a burping effect. Now grab some buddies and make a
hurricane or tornado in a bottle.

The air pressure inside the center of a tornado drops. A tornado starts when cold dry air coming
from the west catches up with unusually warm, moist air from the south. The result is whirling
wind with thick, black clouds and thunderstorms. Water vapor is swept upward as gusts of  
warm air rise in a spiral motion, When the air cools, it forms the tornado's twisting, funnel
shaped cloud.

The funnel shaped wind cloud whirls at enormous speeds and picks up dust, trees, animals,
water, cars, houses, and anything in its path. These objects are whirled upwards often at
tremendous speeds. The rapidly rising column of air within the funnel lowers the air pressure in
the funnels center as the tornado advances.

A house can be crushed in the midst of a tornado because the air pressure inside the tornado
is lower than the air pressure inside the house. The tornado spins, smashing and destroying,
until all the heated air that was near land has been squeezed up by the cooler , heavier,
inflowing air. Then the air stops flowing and the tornado dies.

Most of the destruction done by tornado's is caused by the massive wind speed, but lowered air
pressure can also reek havok
(see chart below). A tornado seldom lasts more than an hour and
usually covers about two city blocks. Only two percent of tornado's are classified as violent.
These violent tornado's can last much longer with winds up to 300 mph covering paths up to 30
miles long and 1.5 miles wide. They can be the most destructive storms on earth. Most deaths
and injuries caused by tornado's arise from flying objects whirled by the wind. Tornado's are
sometimes called twisters or cyclones.

The Science of Hurricanes

A hurricane is a violent storm that starts in tropical waters. In the middle of the swirling winds of
the hurricane there is a calm "eye". Centrifugal force plays a large role in hurricanes. Centrifugal
force pulls an object outward when its moving in a circle. Take a yo yo and whirl it around your
head. The yo yo seems to pull away from your hand holding the string. The faster you whirl it the
stronger the pull.

Like the yo yo, the winds of a hurricane tend to pull away from the center as their speed
increases. When the winds move fast enough, a hole develops in the center. This is the mark of
a full fledged hurricane. The eye of the hurricane is a cloudless hole about 10 miles wide, within
which all is calm and peaceful. But outside surrounding the eye howling winds swirl at speeds
up to 200 mph. Hurricane winds can cover an area up to 60 miles. They may rage for a week or
more. They can travel tens of thousands of miles over sea and land.

Hurricanes arise when moist warm air over tropical waters rises above 6000 feet. The water
vapor condenses, turns to raindrops, releasing heat energy. This in turn forces columns of air to
rise up quickly (updraft) to heights up to 60,000 feet. Fluffy cauliflower like cumulus clouds
become towering thunderheads.

The air from outside the storm area moves in to replace the rising air. It begins to swirl around
in an updraft due to the earth's spin. As it swirls over the surface area of the sea, it soaks up
more and more water vapor, which then gets pulled up into the updraft, releasing still more
energy as more of the water vapor condenses. The updraft then rises faster, pulling in larger
amounts of air and water vapor from the edge of the storm, and the air swirls even faster around
the eye.

Hurricane winds circulate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the
Southern Hemisphere. They are called cyclones in the Indian Ocean, typhoons in the pacific,
and willy willies in Australia.

Fujita Tornado Damage Scale
Tornado Tube
Tornado Tube
Tornado Tube
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Wind MPH
< 73
Light damage. Some damage to chimneys;
branches broken off trees; shallow-rooted
trees pushed over; sign boards damaged.
Moderate damage. Peels surface off roofs;
mobile homes pushed off foundations or
overturned; moving autos blown off roads.
Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame
houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars
overturned; large trees snapped or uprooted;
light-object missiles generated; cars lifted off
Severe damage. Roofs and some walls torn
off well-constructed houses; trains overturned;
most trees in forest uprooted; heavy cars lifted
off the ground and thrown.
Devastating damage. Well-constructed
houses leveled; structures with weak
foundations blown away some distance; cars
thrown and large missiles generated.
Incredible damage. Strong frame houses
leveled off foundations and swept away;
automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in
excess of 100 meters (109 yds); trees
debarked; incredible phenomena will occur.