Natural Disasters Information: Tornado

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by btrose
Last updated 8 years ago

Social Studies

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Natural Disasters Information: Tornado

A tornado is a windstorm that occurs over land. Like a hurricane, it is caused by the collision of a warm-air mass and a cool-air mass. However, tornadoes usually form over land. Tornadoes that forom over water are called waterspouts, and they are usually weak compared to the land versions. Tornadoes often ocurr with thunderstorms and can be caused by hurricanes.

A tornado is a funnel-shaped cloud that moves erratically (unevenly) across the ground. A tornado can move fast or slow, and it can "jump" from one area to another. Tornadoes can cause widespread destruction in a very short time. Winds in a tornado can reach up to 300 miles per hour. The typical tornado-gray or black in color - actually a combination of the tornado's winds (which have no color) and the debris that the tornado picked up along its route (dust, dirt, etc.

Because tornadoes are hard to predict and track, there is not a lot that people can do to prepare for them. Evacuating an area after a tornado has been spotted, or heading to a safe place such as a basement or "safe room" (a specially constructed tornado-proof room) are people's only options.

Tornadoes form over flat land where they can pick up speed. "Tornado Alley" is a term used to refer to the central plains states. This is an area extending from Nebraska southward through Kansas and Oklahoma into central Texas. States in this area are at the greatest risk for tornadoes. Tornadoes can occur anywhere in the world. However, the United States by far suffers the greatest damage from tornadoes each year. The largest tornado in U.S. history was the tri-state tornado of March 1825. It killed almost 700 people.



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