Interesting Facts about Tornadoes

May 23, 2013 | Interesting Facts, Weather

Oklahoma Tornado (Photo: Reuters)

All the continents of the world have experienced tornadoes except Antarctica.  Most of the reported tornadoes happened in the United States because it has the climate and geographical features conducive to massive storms.  Tornado is usually formed from intense thunderstorms. It becomes destructive and violent because of the strong rotating winds caused by its  upward movement.

Last Monday, a powerful tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma with a wind speed of up to 200 miles per hour. There were also lightning strikes during the wild weather condition. A total of 24 people are confirmed dead with more than 100 people injured.

Witnesses described the incident as a “horrific destruction” leaving behind buildings in ruins,  houses ripped, cars crashed or overturned and trees uprooted.  Incidents of fire were also reported.  The tragic event has been declared by  President Barack Obama as a “major disaster”.  In 1999, this area was also hit by a destructive tornado with a speed of 310 miles per hour.

Interesting facts about a tornado

  • Invisible when formed in dry areas but can become gray, white or red in appearance depending on the color of the debris or soil it picks up.
  • Sounds of a tornado have been compared to the noise from a freight train, jet engine or rushing rapids and waterfall.
  • Deadliest single tornado hit Bangladesh in 1989 and killed more than 1300 people.
  • In the United States, Texas has the highest number of tornadoes per year while Kansas, has the highest number of destructive storms
  • The peak season for tornadoes in the United States is from May and June and the peak time is in the late afternoon.
  • Tornado Alley is the name given to areas in the south-central United States where most tornadoes happen.
  • Strength of a tornado is measured from 0-5 using the Enhanced Fujita scale.

Here is a list of worst tornadoes to hit the United States according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration :

  • 18 March 1925 in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana (695 deaths)
  • 6 April 1936 in Gainesville, Georgia (203 deaths)
  • 5 April 1936 in Tupelo, Mississippi (216 deaths)
  • 9 April 1947 in Woodward, Oklahoma (181 deaths)
  • 22 May 2011 in Joplin, Missouri (158 deaths)
  • 24 April 1908 in Amite, Louisiana and Purvis Mississippi (143 deaths)
  • 18 May 1902 in Goliad, Texas (114 deaths)

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