Tornadoes, twisters – you name them – are huge spirals of dangerous wind that often cause a lot of damage and can even prove fatal. Many people love following tornadoes, as from a distance they can look amazing! However, it’s probably best to try and keep a strong tornado at more than just arm’s length. Take a look below for 15 crazy and weird facts about tornadoes.
1. Tornadoes don’t last long but can be devastating. In fact, it’s rare you’ll see a tornado spin for longer than a couple of hours.
2. There’s no real way of predicting a tornado through other weather. You will often feel rain or even see lightning alongside – but they are rarely connected to this spiralling columns of wind.
3. What’s the difference between a tornado and a vortex? If a vortex is tall enough to reach the clouds, as well as to touch the ground, it becomes a tornado.
4. Believe it or not, tornadoes often strike at specific times. You could experience one at any time of day, but you’ll generally spot them after 3pm, heading towards early evening. Waking up to a tornado in the morning, therefore, is pretty unlikely.
5. Tornadoes are generally transparent. How else can you see large gusts of wind? It’s what a tornado picks up, such as dust and dirt, which makes it visible.
6. Ever heard that tornadoes can’t travel across water? It’s a myth. In fact, once a tornado finds its way across a lake, for example, it turns into a waterspout.
7. Tornadoes may not last long, but they can cause miles worth of damage. You might see the effects and destruction caused by a tornado stretching up to 50 miles wide.
8. People have been trying to predict tornadoes for decades. However, tornado forecasting is only correct 30% of the time. Still, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry!
9. Tornadoes have a habit of appearing in clutches. The worst ‘outbreak’ of its kind occurred in 1974, over the course of two days in early April. Homes and businesses across 13 different states in the US found themselves at the mercy of 147 different high-power tornadoes.
10. Tornadoes, generally, seem to spin in the same direction, known as cyclonic.
11. It’s easy to spot a tornado in comparison to other devastating winds. A tornado is the fastest of them all – and it’s likely to cover a lot of ground, very quickly.
12. In March 1925, three US states saw the biggest fatalities from a tornado on record. Tragically, 695 people lost their lives in one single event.
13. How are tornadoes actually formed? Science states that they are born out of thunderstorms. They actually build up as vertical cloud columns, thick in water vapour and dust that they pick up along the way.
14. You’ll most commonly find tornadoes in what is known as ‘Tornado Alley’, a block of US states travelling from Iowa to Texas.
15. The only place where you won’t ever find a tornado is in Antarctica!