Take shelter, gang – because here at National Geographic Kids, we’re entering the eye of the storm with ten tornado facts!

Check out our ten top facts about tornadoes…

1) Tornadoes – also known as “twisters” – are violently rotating columns of air that reach from a storm cloud to the earth’s surface.

2) The winds of a tornado can reach speeds of up to 480km per hour – that’s strong enough to peel the roofs off houses, uproot trees and hurl heavy objects, such as cars, hundreds of metres!

3) Tornadoes come in different shapes and sizes. Some may appear as wide funnel-shaped clouds, others as thin rope-like swirls stretching from the ground to the sky.

4) The duration of tornadoes, and the distance they travel, varies. Most last less than ten minutes and travel five to ten kilometres before disappearing. In extreme cases, however, they can last several hours and cross distances over 150km!

5) Tornadoes are measured using the Fujita Scale (or F-scale), ranging from F0 to F5, with F5 being the strongest and most destructive.

6) The deadliest tornado ever recorded was in Bangladesh in 1989. As it travelled through the Dhaka region of the country, more than 20 villages were destroyed and around 1,300 people were killed.

7) Most of the world’s tornadoes occur in the United States in what’s known as Tornado Alley. Stretching from west Texas to North Dakota, this area can see more than 200 tornadoes each year!

8) If a tornado occurs over water, it’s called a waterspout.

9) Not all tornadoes are easy to see. In fact, they can be invisible until they pick up dust and debris, or a cloud forms within the spinning funnel.

10) The formation of a tornado is so complex that scientists still don’t completely understand it. And what’s more, the unpredictability of tornadoes makes them difficult – and dangerous – to study. A tornado will demolish everything in its path, including measuring equipment. And so, the secrets behind this incredible force of nature are yet to be discovered…

Photos: Getty Images UK
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COMMENTS

  • Memelord

    Knew 7 out of 10 of these facts but there super cool

  • Hello

    Love you facts

  • SHARKY BABY

    HEY LOVE THE FACTS

  • M

    Awsome

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    i dont like it lol

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    Im glad id doesnt happen australia

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    wow thats really scary

  • Emily-G

    hopefully this info can help me with my project

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    I love learning about tornadoes

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    hi i love Tornados!

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    ????????????

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    i love this it helped me very much

  • Hahahha

    Amazing, I knew most of it but I learnt some

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    I am doing this for my project and i am so exited so thank you so much ngkids

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    Gig

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  • 2

    STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Darklord3333

    Glad this doesnt happen in the uk

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    cool!

  • bff101

    ef5 are the deadliest tornado ever and this website need to get ef5 facts now.thanksss

  • huhuihui

    i hat that

  • Darshzenmistry26

    I know how people survive tornadoes !!! When an American house is built near Tornado Alley , apart from a basement a bunker made out of 4-6 inches thick is made and in the houses security system a siren and detector for tornadoes are fitted so in case of a tornado about a hundred meters away the siren goes off in time for everyone to grab their prized possessions and other items and get into the bunker . Thats how people survive tornadoes without dying . If anyone has questions ask!

  • supersamuel99

    h

  • supersamuel99

    Tornados are EPIC!!! The way they form is sooooo coooool. They are vile beasts and thats what I like about them

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  • nomwa

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  • dtmoniu

    I was tring to write a report and you gave a lot of good info and nice pics

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    Cool!

  • Bonnie99

    I think this website is amazing because I use it for tornadoes.