Tornado Facts

Tornado Facts

Posted by Admin / in Science Facts

tornado facts

Tornado Facts

  • A tornado is a funnel-shaped concentration of powerful wind.

  • Wind speed inside a tornado can reach 300 miles per hour (483 km per hour).

  • Tornadoes occur on every continent in the World except Antarctica.

  • The most tornadoes occur in the United States each year. Scientists believe that the Rocky Mountains and cool air from Canada and warm air from the Gulf of Mexico are the reason so many tornadoes occur in the U.S.

  • tornado map

    Tornado Probabilities - map from NOAA

  • The average tornado lasts less than 15 minutes.

  • A tornado that forms over water or moves from land to water is called a water spout.

  • Tornadoes are known by other names including a twister or a vortex.

  • A tornado is formed when dry cold air is above warm air. A strong wind, caused by a weather front, can cause the warm air to rapidly push a hole through into the cold air. The heavier cold air also tries to push through the opening similar to when a drain is opened in the bath tub. A vortex can result, as the pressure opening between the air masses gains energy.

  • Tornadoes are measured using the Enhanced Fujita (EF) rating method. The original F-rating was created by Dr. T. Theodore Fujita who was a meteorologist at the University of Chicago in 1971. Tornado ratings vary from EF-1 to EF-5. An EF-5 tornado is the most dangerous.

  • The tornado that lasted the longest was in 1925 when a tornado formed in Missouri and traveled over 200 miles to Indiana. This tornado also resulted in the most lives lost of any tornado in the United States (695).

  • The tornado with the widest recorded width was 2.6 miles in El Reno, Oklahoma in 2013.

  • Alaska is the only U.S. state to have less than 5 reported tornadoes over the last 60 years.

  • Tornadoes are very dangerous to people and animals. The safest place to be in a tornado is in a basement that is below the ground level.

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tornado facts author

posted by Allen Douglas - Allen is a profession engineer, achieving a Master of Science in Engineering. He has taught at the university level, but enjoys helping younger students to learn about math and science. Mr. Douglas has been writing technical papers for over 20 years, and writing online articles since 2008

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