What is the difference between straight line winds and a tornado?
In one way these are similar both contain very strong winds associated with thunderstorms. There are several differences though between the two.
A tornado is a rotating column of air that extends from the base of the thunderstorm. They are usually a funnel shape with the narrow part near the ground.
Straight line winds are very strong winds that produce damage that shows a lack of a rotational damage pattern. Straight line winds are common with the gust front of a thunderstorm or originate with a downburst from a thunderstorm.