WSAV NOW Weather: Tornado in a Bottle

WSAV NOW Weather

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Let’s talk about tornadoes!

A tornado is a rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm, reaching the ground from a cloud.

Tornadoes form when warm and cold air masses meet and create instability in the atmosphere. Air begins to spin horizontally due to the winds in a storm changing speed and direction with height. Rising air within the thunderstorm pushes the horizontal air to become vertical.

If the conditions are perfect, a wall cloud will form at the bottom of the thunderstorm and a tornado can possibly form.

May 4, 2019 – A tornado hit Whitemarsh and Wilmington Island. The tornado brushed Basil’s Restaurant…I was in that restaurant about to order food at the time of the issued warning. About 2-3 minutes later, the tornado came roaring through the restaurant and the Goodwill parking lot. I remember the winds were blowing all over the place – they weren’t from one direction. I also remember the walls…the walls looked like they were being pulled from the outside. Just like how you would open a bag of chips.


2 Bottles (bottles should be the same size)
Strong Tape

Food Coloring



1. Cut any labels off the bottles. This way you can see the tornado from top to bottom as it swirls in the bottle.
2. Add coloring or glitter to the water. (If you don’t want to do this, skip this step)
3. Fill one bottle with water. It should be about half full.
— Do not turn this bottle over just yet!!
4. Set aside a few long strands of tape.
5. Put the second bottle on top of the water-filled bottle – so the mouths of the bottles are touching. 
6. Carefully tape the mouths of the bottles together. Tape it as tight as you can – you don’t want any water to leak out. 
7. Flip the bottles over – the water-filled bottle should be on top. 
8. Grab the taped mouths and quickly swirl the taped bottles until you start to see the tornado form.

IMPORTANT: Do not shake the bottles – just twirl them. If you shake them, bubbles will form but a tornado won’t.  

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