Do Tornados Really Sound Like Freight Trains??
What do you think after listening to the Xenia Tornado of April 3, 1974?
Winds can exceed 300 mph!!!
Around 1,000 occur on average each year in the U.S.
Kill 80, injure 1,500 people each year on average
Can have a path up to a mile wide!!!
Can occur any time of the year, but peak during the spring (March-June)
Occur most frequently in the central U.S. in a region nicknamed “Tornado Alley”
Violently rotating column of air (Vortex) extending from a thunderstorm to the ground
Actually, no one knows for sure!
But…We have a pretty good idea…
Before a t-storm, a change in wind direction and an increase in speed forms an invisible, horizontal spinning effect in the lower atmosphere (at the base of the storm)
Rising air within the t-storm (updrafts) tilts the rotating air from horizontal to vertical
Vertical rotation now extends 2-6 miles up into the t-storm. Now a tornado may form and extend from this area of rotation to the ground.
Same basic principle behind a tornado vortex (funnel; column of fire in this case)
Warm air moves up the vortex (updraft)
Cools and sinks as it funnels out of the top (downdraft)
The more air drawn in = faster and tighter spin
This is called a convection cycle
Strength is measured by the Fujita Scale .
F0 = weakest, F5 = Strongest
All tornados are potentially deadly, but most are actually relatively weak (74%)…!
Only 1% of all tornados fall in the F4 – F5 range