Tornadoes are the most powerful, unpredictable and destructive weather systems on Earth. The National Weather Service (NWS) defines a Tornado as a violently rotating column of air in contact with the earth’s surface (land or water) and commonly associated with a severe thunderstorm. A tornado generally occurs when high winds within a low pressure system (such as a thunderstorm) cause water vapor in the air to condense in to a condensation funnel cloud. Many less severe tornadoes are not even visible to the human eye. Major tornadoes usually become more visible when the strong winds within the funnel lift up dirt and debris off the Earth’s surface. Tornadoes are generally classified as either a land spout (a tornado on land), a water spout (a tornado that forms over water) or a gustnado (a small tornado caused by a strong downburst of wind from a thunderstorm). The average tornado has maximum wind speeds of about 112 mph or less, measures around 250 feet in width and travels approximately one mile before falling apart. Some of the most catastrophic tornadoes in recorded history have had winds in excess of 300 miles an hour (twice that of a category 5 hurricane), have measured more than 2 miles in girth, and have carved devastating paths of destruction miles and miles in length.
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Terrifying Tornado Clusters on the Rise
October 16th, 2014
Tornadoes are touching down in clusters more often than 50 years ago.
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Enormous Tornado-Blocking Walls: Could Wild Idea Really Work?
Rubble in Moore, Oklahoma, where a tornado struck in May 2013.
June 30th, 2014
Never mind the huge cost, ecological consequences and engineering difficulties involved in a newly proposed scheme to make tornado-blocking walls, weather experts say the idea is too crazy to work.
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Moore Rebuilds to Be More Resilient and Tornado Ready
Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers and Airmen respond to a devastating tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., May 20, 2013.
May 19th, 2014
The May 20, 2013, tornado has the people of Moore working to restore what was demolished, and this time the city is rebuilding stronger.
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Tornado Season Peaking Earlier Than Ever
Supercell Storm
September 19th, 2014
The busiest part of tornado season is happening up to two weeks earlier than it did 55 years ago, reports a new study on Tornado Alley, located in the heart of the central and southern U.S. Great Plains.
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Schools Need Better Tornado Protection, Scientists Say
Childress High School Tornado Damage
June 24th, 2014
School hallways provided scant protection during the 2013 EF5 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. Now, state and school officials are trying to make schools safer places to be during extreme weather.
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Journeying Man, Dog Strive to Bring Hope to Tornado Victims
Tornado North of Fort Scott, Kansas
May 8th, 2014
Often after severe weather strikes, people are left to pick up the pieces, but one man and his dog are on a mission to provide comfort to tornado victims.
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32 Tornadoes in a Day! Twister Clusters on the Rise
Beautiful tornado
August 8th, 2014
There are fewer days with tornadoes compared to 60 years ago, but the risk of deadly tornado clusters is rising.
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A New Spin on Mapping U.S. Tornado Touchdowns
tornado touchdowns in the United States graph
June 10th, 2014
Where are U.S. tornadoes most common? New maps of twisters by latitude and longitude show clearly.
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Deadly Tornado's Track Seen from Space (Photo)
tornado track satellite iamge
May 7th, 2014
An EF4 tornado that killed 16 people in Arkansas on April 27 left a scar across the landscape more than 40 miles long. This track is visible in a new satellite image.
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