ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tornado facts, what causes them?

Updated on March 14, 2015
tornado
tornado

tornadoes

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms; having destructive winds in excess of 250 mph they can destroy anything in their path. Tornadoes are fascinating to watch and will almost mesmerize you like watching a fire, but they can be extremely dangerous to watch from close range. The wind speed of the tornado determines how the tornado is rated on the Fujita scale or EF scale.

EF-0 65-85 mph winds EF-1 86-110 mph winds

EF-2 111-135 mph winds EF-3 136-165 mph winds

EF-4 166-200 mph winds EF-5 over 200 mph winds.

Luckily over 95 % of all tornadoes are EF-2 or lower. Not that an EF-2 can’t do significant damage but people seldom die from EF-2 tornadoes, and the property damage is normally very isolated and light.

United States

The United States has by far the most tornadoes of anywhere in the world although they have occurred on every continent but Antarctica.  The United States gets between 1000 and 1400 tornadoes per year on average.  The highest risk areas in the United States are in the southern and middle plains states of Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and southern Illinois.  The highest risk cities in the country are Oklahoma City, Huntsville, Topeka, and Tulsa.

Europe

Europe gets some tornadoes but they are not as frequent and not normally as strong.  Because Europe does not have a large flat area with humid air clashing with colder air, tornadoes are not as likely.  The U.K has the most tornadoes in Europe and gets between 33 and 50 tornadoes per year; most of them are weak and do little damage.  Germany gets an EF-5 tornado every 150 years and an EF-3 tornado every 40 to 50 years.

Cold front
Cold front

The optimum conditions to create a tornado is a warm front moving northeast with a cold front trailing behind it, the area inside the upside down V is the most likely area for tornadoes to form. In the picture to the right, it is the area between the blue line (cold front) and the red line (warm front). 

This is a very simplified explanation of how tornadoes form.  As the warm humid air moves north and runs into the cooler drier air it creates a rotation horizontally in the air, this forms clouds and a thunderstorm.  As more and more of the warm humid air is pulled up into the thunderstorm the area of rotation is pushed to a vertical position which causes the whole thunderstorm to start to rotate.  Many times the rotation stays in the thunderstorm and does not come down to the ground.  When the rotation gets fast enough it moves down to the ground, and a tornado is born.

Science behind tornadoes

Tornadoes will generally come out of the southwest part of the thunderstorm cell and will move horizontally along the ground at the speed of the movement of the thunderstorm, this can vary greatly from 10 mph to over 60 mph.  A tornado can be behind the rain part of the storm or sometimes in the rain part of the storm, the ones that are in the rain are more dangerous because you can’t see them coming when hidden by rain.

Tornadoes can range in size on the ground from a couple of feet wide to over 1 mile wide.  The smaller ones can jump around and may not move in a strait line which makes them harder to know where they are going to go, the big ones are easier to track but unfortunately are much more dangerous.

These storms are very dangerous and can drop down right above you with no warning so if you are in the right conditions you should stay aware of the conditions around you and take cover to keep safe if conditions change.  They are fascinating storms and are somewhat mesmerizing like fire, but don’t get close, debris from a tornado can come back down miles away from the storm and can severely injure you.


Other Good Reading


What we get from a barrel of oil A barrel of crude oil refining consists of 42 gallons of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons.

What are earthquakes An earthquake is the sudden and sometimes very violent release of energy from the movement of the earth surface.

End of the world Will Dec. 21 2012 be the end of the world? There have been a lot of discussion on this topic. There are a lot of end of the world predictions and arguments saying that the world is going to end on this day.

Most beautiful place in the world to Canoe If you ever want to take a trip to a place to get away from it all. A place where you can experience something you can't experience almost anywhere else

Interesting earth facts  This is a collection of interesting facts about the earth and interesting details about the Earth.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • gusripper profile image

      gusripper 

      8 years ago

      How you American say it?holy shit ?Nice and scary hub mister

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)