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12 Tornado Facts That Will Blow You Away!

Take shelter as we enter the eye of an amazing fact storm!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  January 16th 2023

Whether you prefer to call them twisters, whirlwinds or spinning air beasts, tornadoes are one of nature's most dangerous storms and can reach great speeds and cause huge damage to anything in their path. How much do you know about tornadoes?

1. Some tornadoes move incredibly quickly!

Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than 100 mph, but extreme ones can reach speeds of over 300 mph. That's faster than any racing Formula 1 car!

2. There are approximately 1000 tornadoes every year!

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there are around a 1000 tornadoes every year. They're created from a band of clouds called 'supercells'.

3. Tornadoes are rated according to how much damage they cause!

Tornadoes are measured on a Fujita scale. It goes from F0 (light damage such as branches breaking off trees) to F5 (incredible damage such as cars flying through the air).

4. Tornadoes are gross!

Tornadoes are gross! The wind is full of bacteria-rich soil and fungus which can get deep inside wounds and cause serious infections. So, if you swept up in a tornado, make sure you have a good wash when you get home.

5. Tornadoes are clear to begin with!

A tornado is usually transparent until it starts to pick up dust and debris, then it becomes a spinning tower of muck!

6. Tornadoes spin in different directions above and below the equator!

In the southern hemisphere, tornadoes rotate clockwise, but in the northern hemisphere they rotate counter-clockwise. Whichever way they spin, it's best to stay well away.

7. One person was carried almost quarter of a mile!

Matt Suter, USA, holds the record for the longest distance a human being has been carried by a tornado. In 2006, a tornado picked him up and dropped him about a quarter mile away.

8. A tornado on water is called a waterspout!

A 'waterspout' is a tornado that is formed over water! They're normally smaller than regular tornadoes and are less dangerous. Sometimes two can happen at the same time. Can you guess what they're called? Yes, that's right: double waterspouts. Makes sense.

9. The first recorded tornado took place in Ireland!

The first recorded tornado in Europe was in Ireland almost 1000 years ago. It took place in Rosdalla near to Kilbeggan, County Westmeath on the April 30, 1054!

10. Tornadoes aren't fond of early starts!

Tornadoes are most likely to form between 3pm and 9pm. We wonder if tornados go to school beforehand?

11. Tornadoes have occurred on almost every continent!

Tornadoes have occurred on every continent except for Antarctica. So, if you're particularly afraid of tornadoes, it's best to move there. Don't forget to pack a coat!

12. There's an area in the USA called Tornado Valley!

In America, there is a 'tornado alley' – tornadoes occur here more often than anywhere else in the world! States which fall into this exclusive, windy club include Texas, Kansas and Nebraska!