Tornadoes are violent and destructive windstorms that are characterized by a rapidly rotating column of air connecting the surface of the Earth to a cumulonimbus cloud. Most of us are familiar with the ferocity of a tornado's outer winds, which can reach speeds of up to 300 miles per hour, leaving a path of utter devastation in their wake. Yet, the interior of a tornado, known as the eye or the 'eye wall', presents an entirely different picture.
In the eye of a tornado, the winds are remarkably calm compared to the chaos just a few meters away. It's akin to being in the center of a whirlpool, where the water is calm while it spins furiously around the edges. However, it's important to note that this peace is relative. Even the center of a tornado is still fraught with danger, and falling debris from the surrounding winds can still pose a serious risk.
The eye of a tornado is typically clear or filled with a light dust haze. The air pressure is significantly lower than in surrounding areas, which can create an odd, heavy feeling in one's ears, similar to the sensation experienced when changing altitude rapidly.
From a visual standpoint, looking up from within the eye of a tornado can offer a surprising view. Some survivors have reported seeing blue sky or a 'stadium effect' of clouds arched upwards in the clear sky. This peculiar sight is due to the low-pressure center and the way the intense, inward-spiraling winds shape the clouds.
Another striking feature reported by some eyewitnesses is the 'sound of a tornado'. On the outside, tornadoes are often described as generating a sound similar to a freight train or a roaring jet engine. However, inside the eye, the noise is muffled, replaced by an eerie quiet.
It's important to remember that these observations come from a limited number of survivors and storm chasers. Being inside the eye of a tornado is exceedingly dangerous and not something one should ever attempt. The sudden calm should not be mistaken for the end of the storm, as the deadly winds will resume as soon as the tornado's eye passes.
In summary, the inside of a tornado, while calm and eerily beautiful, is a place of immense danger. It offers a unique perspective on these powerful natural phenomena but is a viewpoint best left to remote sensing tools and simulations. After all, the best place to be during a tornado is as far away as possible.