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tornadoes

How Tornadoes Work
Image: iStockphoto.com/vicnt

How Tornadoes Work

A tornado is the most violent storm on Earth. Warm, wet air collides with cool, dry air and spins faster and faster. It finally twists down to the ground.

Watch the range of destruction caused by the weakest tornadoes up through the most damaging. Then find out how scientists monitor and track these developing storms.

HowStuffWorks
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How Do Tornadoes Form?

How Do Tornadoes Form?

We still don't know everything about how these violent storms form — but we know a lot more since people started recording tornadoes. Find out as you ride along with a stormchaser. More...

Video
TED-Ed/James Spann
Tornadoes Strike Again. How Do They Work?

Tornadoes Strike Again. How Do They Work?

Where do these spinning winds originate? What drives tornadoes? And what would protection look like? Get answers to these and other questions about nature's most intense storms. More...

Article
The Why Files
Rate Tornado Damage

Rate Tornado Damage

Can you correctly match the Fujita Scale to the destruction caused by recent tornadoes? More...

Interactive
NOVA/PBS
Tornado Impacts

Tornado Impacts

Put your tornado smarts to the test with this quick quiz about which states have the most tornadoes and why. More...

Interactive
UCAR
Train vs. Tornado

Train vs. Tornado

When it comes to wind speeds and damage, an EF3-rated tornado is near the middle of the scale. But don't let that fool you — it's severe enough to derail a moving freight train. More...

Video
Mike Sense
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Building a Monster Tornado

Building a Monster Tornado

The tornado that struck Moore, OK, on May 21, 2013 was originally estimated as an EF-4 before it was upgraded to the highest rating. Why was this tornado so devastating? More...

Article
PBS NewsHour
Hurricanes and Tornadoes

Hurricanes and Tornadoes

Both tropical cyclones and tornadoes have the spiraling winds of a vortex. And sometimes a cyclone can spawn a tornado. Beyond that, there's very little they have in common. Explore the differences. More...

Article
NOAA
Make a Tornado!

Make a Tornado!

All you need is dry ice, a fan, and a few other common items to create your own "spinning updraft" or vortex. More...

Activity
Web Weather for Kids
Storm Chasers: The Chase

Storm Chasers: The Chase

Choose your vehicle — the Probe, Dominator, or TIV2 — and experience the adrenaline rush of chasing tornadoes safely with this game. More...

Game
Discovery
Control a Tornado? Absolutely!

Control a Tornado? Absolutely!

Which causes more damage: a wide tornado with low wind speeds or a thin twister with faster winds? Create a series of tornadoes to find out for yourself. More...

Interactive
The Why Files
Topeka Tornado’s Fury

Topeka Tornado’s Fury

Explore one of America's most costly tornadoes, the 1966 class F-5 that ripped through Topeka, Kansas. More...

Article
KTWU
Tornado Country

Tornado Country

Did you know that 3/4 of all the world's tornadoes strike the U.S.? Discover why. More...

Article
NOVA/PBS
Catching a Tornado

Catching a Tornado

What does it look like inside a tornado? Take a (safe!) peek thanks to this team of storm chasers and their seven video cameras. More...

Video
National Geographic
Disaster and Recovery

Disaster and Recovery

Check out this gallery of the spectacular disaster caused by the 1936 Gainseville tornado and see how the Georgia town recovered. More...

Images
Digital Library of Georgia
El Reno Tornado Had Rare Anticyclonic Companion

El Reno Tornado Had Rare Anticyclonic Companion

Oklahoma's second EF-5 Tornado in just 11 days, was a record breaker. Already the widest tornado on record, at 2.6 miles across, it also had a rare anticyclonic companion. More...

Article
LiveScience
Hunt for the Supertwister

Hunt for the Supertwister

See how converting data to dynamic visualizations is helping researches get closer to predicting the most violent storms. More...

Article
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Enhanced Fujita Scale

Enhanced Fujita Scale

Dr. Fujita at the University of Chicago developed a scale to classify tornado damage in 1971. Find out why and how it was updated at the turn of the century. More...

Article
NOAA
Greensburg GreenTown

Greensburg GreenTown

After a tornado destroyed Greensburg, Kansas, in 2007, the surviving residents rebuilt the town green. Take a tour of the details for the reconstructed town. More...

Article
Greensburg, GreenTown
New Technology Allows Better Extreme Weather Forecasts

New Technology Allows Better Extreme Weather Forecasts

Take a look at the enhanced radars, satellites, supercomputers, and other tools NOAA researchers and engineers are using to forecast extreme weather. More...

Article
Scientific American
Scientist Profile: Meteorologist

Scientist Profile: Meteorologist

Along with being a professor of meteorology, Howie Bluestein is an expert "stormchaser" who has actually flown directly into the eyes of 6 different hurricanes! More...

Profile
DragonflyTV/PBS
Scientist Profile: Wind Research Assistant

Scientist Profile: Wind Research Assistant

Ameri Gurley gets blown away by her own research. This wind researcher studies how house placement can reduce exposure to flying debris during a tornado or hurricane. More...

Profile
DragonflyTV/PBS
Weather Extremes Archive: Tornado

Weather Extremes Archive: Tornado

What tornado holds the dual record for the longest lasting and the greatest distanced traveled? Find out More...

Article
Arizona State University

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