Thunderstorms can spawned tornadoes and landspouts. But what's the difference?
Landspouts are still a kind of tornado, but there are some key differences in how they form versus tornadoes.
The main difference between these types of tornadoes is the thunderstorms that produce them. A "typical" tornado usually comes from a supercell storm, while landspouts are not produced by supercells.
A "typical" tornado forms from rotating thunderstorms that have a well-defined mesocyclone, or rotating updraft. This is a supercell thunderstorm. Tornadoes usually occur over land and are often accompanied by strong winds, hail, and heavy rain.
Landspouts form over land but are generally smaller and weaker than tornadoes produced by supercells. Landspouts form from the ground up, rather than from a mesocyclone, and are associated with shallow, low-precipitation thunderstorms.
They are less destructive and have a different appearance from tornadoes, with a narrower funnel and a more diffuse cloud base.
Waterspouts are atmospheric vortices that form over water. They can occur in both tropical and non-tropical environments and are often associated with thunderstorms, but they can also form in the absence of thunderstorm activity.
Waterspouts can be either tornadic or non-tornadic, with the tornadic variety being more destructive. Like landspouts, waterspouts are generally smaller and weaker than tornadoes, but they can still be dangerous to boats and other vessels.