www.whyville.net Jan 23, 2011 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Let's Talk Tornadoes

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Tornadoes are a very interesting part of nature. I have never seen a tornado in real life, but the pictures I see are usually breathtaking. Today you're going to learn about tornadoes.

What is a tornado?

The definition of a tornado is "a violently rotating column of air extending between, and in contact with, a cloud and the surface of the earth."

What causes a tornado?

Tornadoes are formed when cold, dry, high pressure air collides with warm, moist, low pressure air. When that happens a tornado is formed.

What is used to classify tornadoes?

Just like there is the Richter Scale for earthquakes, there is the Fujita Scale for tornadoes. The Fujita Scale looks at the damage caused by a tornado and then classifies it as one of the following:

F0 (light damage): 40-72 mph
F1 (moderate damage): 73-112 mph
F2 (considerable damage): 113-157 mph
F3 (severe damage): 158-206 mph
F4 (devastating damage): 207-260 mph
F5 (incredible damage): 261-318 mph

When do tornadoes occur?

A tornado can happen whenever, though more than 40% of the US' tornadoes happen between 2pm and 6pm.

When and where was the deadliest tornado in the US?

The worst tornado took place in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana (also called the Tri-State Tornado Outbreak). It happened on March 18, 1925. Several tornadoes took the lives of 747 and injured 2027 people. The largest tornado of the outbreak took 695 lives.

Has anyone ever seen the inside of a tornado?

Yes. On May 3, 1943 Roy Hall survived being inside an 150 yard wide tornado funnel.

What should you do if a tornado is happening where you live?

You should go into a basement. If you don't have a basement, go to the lowest floor and get under a piece of sturdy furniture. Make sure you stay away from windows. If you are outside lie in a ditch, ravine, or culvert. If you are in a mobile home get out. Even if it is tied down you don't want to stay inside it. The overall goal is to not be struck by debris.

There are still so many questions about tornadoes that can be answered. If you have any questions, please y-mail me or post them in the BBS.

Author's Note: Sources:


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