Photo courtesy of the NOAA at www.weatherstock.com
Photo courtesy of Warren Faidley at www.weatherstock.com
|“A tornado is a
violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground.”-
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Tornadoes form in a severe thunderstorm called a supercell. In a supercell an updraft can cause wind to rotate horizontally inside the cloud. As the wind speed increases within the storm the updraft blows harder forcing the wind to start rotating vertically. The area of the storms rotation spreads about 2-6 miles wide. Its in this area that a funnel starts to form inside the cloud and because of the winds low air pressure, more air can get sucked into the funnel faster. As the funnel grows larger it can hit the ground and move around on it, while its still attached to the supercell. The new tornadoes winds can reach speeds from 70 miles per hour to 250 miles per hour.
Tornadoes can basically be categorized into three groups, which are weak tornadoes, strong tornadoes and violent tornadoes. 88% of tornadoes that hit the ground are weak tornadoes, which only cause 5% of tornado related deaths. Weak tornadoes usually last for 1 to 10 minutes, but they have been known to last longer, with a wind speed of less than 110 miles per hour. 11% of tornadoes are strong tornadoes. These can last up to 20 minutes or longer and can have winds that are 110-205 miles per hour. Almost 30% of all tornado related deaths are caused by strong tornadoes. Only 1% of tornadoes are violent tornadoes, but 70% of all tornado related deaths are cause by these. Violent tornadoes can last up to 1 hour or longer and reach winds greater than 205 miles per hour.
In the U.S. an average of 1,200 tornadoes cause 70 deaths and 1,500 injuries. Which leads to the U.S. having the highest rate of tornado hits than any other nation in the world. However, the chances of a tornado hitting a building that you are located in are very slim and if you have a knowledge of different signs of a tornado and how to protect yourself if you are threatened by a tornado, the risk of you being injured by a tornado are even slimmer. To learn about the signs of tornadoes and how to protect yourself during a tornado click on the links below.
tornadoes last for such a sort time, scientists find it difficult to
study tornadoes and many myths are
made about them. A common myth about tornadoes is that they can’t
travel on land that is hilly or by mountains. This, however, is not true
and a tornado in Yellow Stone Park has even gone up a mountain that was
10,000 feet high. Another myth is that people should open their windows
when a tornado warning is issued to equalize pressure, which will in
minimize damage. Instead of opening up their windows when a tornado warning
is issued, its important for people to get to an area, such as their
bathrooms, or any other shelter structure that will protect them from
a tornado. Some people believe that the low pressure from a tornado can
actually cause building to explode, but actually most of a buildings
damage is due to debris flying into it and the tornadoes winds cutting
Tornado Related Games
Additional Information about Tornadoes