Interesting and Important Facts About Tornadoes
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Interesting and Important Facts About Tornadoes

We are learning some important and interesting facts about tornadoes in this post. Tornadoes are nature’s most violent kind of storms. Tornadoes are usually known as twisters. Tornado is derived from Spanish word ‘Tronada’ meaning thunderstorm and ‘Tornar’ meaning to turn. Although tornadoes form all over the world, they are more frequent and stronger in US. Each year, about a thousand tornadoes occur in the United States, far more than any other country. 3 out of every 4 tornadoes in the world happen in the United States.

We are learning some important and interesting facts about tornadoes in this post. Tornadoes are nature’s most violent kind of storms. Tornadoes are usually known as twisters. Tornado is derived from Spanish word ‘Tronada’ meaning thunderstorm and ‘Tornar’ meaning to turn. Although tornadoes form all over the world, they are more frequent and stronger in US. Each year, about a thousand tornadoes occur in the United States, far more than any other country. 3 out of every 4 tornadoes in the world happen in the United States.

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and acumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as twisters or cyclones, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology, in a wider sense, to name any closed low pressure circulation.

A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but they are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.                          

Funnel clouds usually last less than 10 minutes before dissipating with many only lasting several seconds. On rare occasions, cyclones can last for over an hour as many were reported to have done in the early 1900's. They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.

More interesting and important facts about tornadoes:

  • A typical tornado only lasts for a few minutes.
  • Every tornado has its own color, sound and shape.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over a body of water.
  • When it forms over a desert, it’s called a dustdevil.
  • You need to step on the pedal of a car pass 70 miles per hour to outrun the fastest tornadoes.
  • The chances that a tornado is a F5, the highest classification for a tornado on the F-scale, is less than 0.1%
  • Tornadoes have been reported in every state in the US and also in every season.
  • A Tornado can occur at any time, but most often between 3pm and 9pm.
  • A strong tornado can pick up a house and move it down the block.
  • Nebraska, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas make up Tornado alley, where tornadoes strike regularly in the spring and early summer.
  • Some people have seen inside a tornado with their own eyes lived to tell about it.
  • Knives and forks have been found embedded in tree trunks flung from a tornado.
  • Usually a tornado starts off as a white or gray cloud but if it stays around for a while, the dirt and debris it sucks up eventually turns it into black one.
  • Tornadoes can occur in series (one after another) and more than one can form from the same cloud system.
  • Thunderstorms most likely to give birth to Tornadoes are called supercells.
  • Tornado winds are the fastest winds on Earth.
  • A Tornado in Oklahoma once destroyed a whole motel. People later found the motel’s sign in Arkansas.
  • A tornado can last from a few seconds to more than an hour. On average, they persist for about 10 minutes.
  •  It is a myth that a tornado cannot pass over features like valleys, mountains, lakes and rivers. When it passes over a lake or river, a tornado becomes a waterspout.                   
  • Twisters strike predominantly along Tornado Alley – a flat stretch of land from west Texas to North Dakota. The region is ideal for tornadoes, as dry polar air from Canada meets warm moist tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico.
  • A Tornado can sometimes hop along its path. It can destroy one house and leave the house next door untouched.
  • In 1928, a tornado in Kansas plucked the feathers right off some chickens.
  • In 1931 a tornado in Mississippi lifted an 83 ton train and tossed it 80 feet from the track.
  • The United States have an average of 800 tornadoes every year.
  • Usually, a tornado’s color matches the color of the ground.
  • Some tornadoes make a considerable amount of noise while others make very little. It depends on the objects a tornado might hit or carry. A tornado moving along an open plain may make very little noise.
  • Small tornadoes sometimes form on the edge of bigger tornadoes.
  • In Oklahoma, a small herd of cattle were sucked up by a tornado and carried across the countryside, before being set down unharmed.
  • In 1981, a tornado that swept through the Italian City of Ancona lifted a sleeping baby from its baby carriage and set it down unharmed on the ground.
  • The UK gets about 60 tornadoes a year, even with its moderate climate.
  • The deadliest Tornado happened in 1925. It swept through three states and killed 689 people and injured 2,000.
  • Tornadoes is from the Spanish word, tronada, meaning thunderstorm.
  • Dust Devils are strong tornadoes that pass over desert areas.
  • Some people in ancient times thought dust devils were ghosts.
  • The safest place to be during a Tornado is underground, which makes basements and cellars the ideal shelters to get away from Tornadoes.
  • Most of the world’s destructive tornadoes occur during the the summer in mid-western states of the US.
  • Sometimes multiple tornadoes form and travel together in swarms.
  • Rescue workers have compared the destruction left behind by a tornado to a bomb blast.
  • Cities have also been hit by tornadoes like Nashville and St. Louis
  • Tornadoes have hit places even in big cities like in Brooklyn.
  • Some people think the crop circles in the UK are the result of weak whirlwinds. About 60 of these small tornadoes are formed every year in Britain.
  • Tornadoes have been documented on every continent, except Antarctica (even there, a tornado occurrence is not impossible).
  • Scientists can’t rate or know how strong a tornado is until after it is over.

Reference: 'Tornado pictures at 'Tornedo facts' site

Useful links:

* 'Tornedo guide

 * 12 Twisted Tornado Facts

Additional resources:

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Comments (3)

For some reason I am not getting your newest articles when they are being published. I found this interesting and educational one by accident to promote and vote too.Well done.

Roberta! Thanks for encouraging comments. After converting to new platform it might be a site bug that you are not getting updated emails from 'knoji'. 

very good thank you