Fast Facts for Kids
Tornado Facts for Kids

Tornado Facts for Kids

The topic of this web page is tornadoes (violent rotating column of air) and contains 28 tornado facts for kids. In addition to facts about tornadoes, we provide you with some unbelieve pictures of tornadoes and alternate resources with information on tornadoes. Our tornado facts will help you learn about them, what a tornado is, how does a tornado forms, how to stay safe during a tornado and several other tornado facts.

Our facts about tornadoes and other tornado related data should help you understand the fundamentals of this dead weather phenomenon. Start your research on tornadoes by scrolling down and reading our 28 tornado facts. Following those facts are tornado pictures and additional resources. We’re always looking to expand the below educational content on tornadoes, if you have anything you can share or find inaccurate information, please contact us.

27 Tornado Facts For Kids

  1. A tornado is a violent meteorological event caused by a strong column of rotating air that reaches the Earth’s surface.
  2. A tornado is also sometimes called a twister or whirlwind.
  3. A funnel cloud is a tornado that didn’t completely form and reach the Earth’s surface.
  4. Most tornadoes form within cumulonimbus clouds in supercell thunderstorms.
  5. Tornadoes have a funnel shape, but the size and shape of the funnel can greatly vary between tornadoes.
  6. The color of a tornado can vary and depends on the debris it picks up along its damage path.
  7. Weak tornadoes have wind speeds as low as 65 miles per hour, while strong tornadoes have wind speeds greater than 200 miles per hour.
  8. The average tornado has a width across of about 250 feet and wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour.
  9. Rare and violent tornadoes can have width across of more than 2 miles and wind speeds exceeding 300 miles per hour.
  10. A tornado outbreak occurs when single weather system produces multiple tornadoes.
  11. A tornado watch is issued by meteorologists when the weather conditions are favorable for tornado formation.
  12. A tornado warning is issued by meteorologists when a funnel cloud or tornado has been reported. Strong low-level rotation detected by Doppler weather radar can also be cause for issuing a tornado warning.
  13. On average, there are over 2,000 tornadoes each year, with the most occurring in North America and Europe.
  14. The United States experiences 1,200+ tornadoes on average every year, more than all other countries combined.
  15. In the United States, most tornadoes occur within a region known as tornado alley. The U.S. states within or have parts within tornado alley are Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.
  16. Tornadoes are rated using the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale) which rates tornadoes by the damage they cause.
  17. On the Enhanced Fujita Scale, tornadoes are given one of six ratings. The possible tornado intensity ratings are EF0, EF1, EF2, EF4 and E5. An EF0 is a weak tornado and an EF5 is a violently strong tornado.
  18. Prior to February 1st, 2007, tornadoes were rated using the Fujita Scale (F-Scale) created by Ted Fujita and Allen Pearson.
  19. On the decommissioned Fujita Scale, tornadoes were also given one of six ratings. The possible tornado intensity ratings were F0, F1, F2, F3, F4 and F5. An F1 tornado was a weak tornado and an F5 tornado was a violently strong tornado.
  20. Some of the deadliest natural disasters throughout history were caused by historic tornadoes.
  21. Most experts agree the most violent tornado in recorded history was the 1925 Tri-State Tornado and many of the tornado records it set in 1925 still stand today.
  22. The 1989 Daulatpur-Saturia tornado is the deadliest tornado in world history. It occurred on April 26th in 1989 and reached at least an F3 rating on the Fujita scale. It’s estimated ~1,300 people were killed by the Daulatpur-Saturia tornado.
  23. The 1925 Tri-State tornado is the deadliest tornado in U.S. history. It occurred on March 18th in 1925 and reached an F5 rating on the Fujita scale. It’s estimated 695 people were killed by the Tri-State tornado.
  24. The 2011 Joplin tornado is the costliest tornado in U.S. history. It occurred on May 22nd in 2011 and reached an EF5 rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It’s estimated $2.8 billion (2011 USD) in damages were created by the Joplin tornado.
  25. The 2011 Super Outbreak was the largest tornado outbreak in world history. It occurred between April 25th and April 28th in 2011. This tornado outbreak spawned 360 confirmed tornadoes, with four tornadoes reaching EF5 status.
  26. The 1999 Bridge Creek-More tornado holds the tornado record for the strongest winds ever measured in a tornado. This F5 tornado has wind speeds clocked at 302 miles per hour (+/- 22 MPH) on May 3rd, 1999.
  27. A common tornado myth is powerful tornadoes don’t hit densely populated cities. The 1896 St. Louis tornado was a powerful F4 tornado that struck downtown St. Louis, Missouri on May 27th in 1896 and killed at least 255 people.
  28. There are quite a few common tornado terms, such as funnel cloud and tornado outbreak. However, some tornado terms aren’t as common, such as tornadogenesis, which is the formation process of a tornado.

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Tornado Pictures

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the below images will be helpful for your research on tornadoes. Below are twelve pictures of different tornadoes and tornado damage. These pictures should help you better understand how deadly this severe weather event can be.

A big tornado near a densely populated city

A picture of a big tornado by a densely populated city.

A tornado approaching a small rural town.

A picture of a tornado approaching a small rural town.

A tornado near a sparsely populated rural road.

A picture of a tornado near a rural road.

A tornado far out in the distance in a field.

A picture of a tornado in a field in the distance.

A small tornado near a farm.

A picture of a tornado approaching a farming community.

Two tornadoes starting to form next to each other.

A picture of two tornadoes forming next to each other.

An old tornado shelter.

A picture of an old tornado shelter.

A grey tornado warning siren.

A picture of a modern grey tornado warning siren.

An old yellow tornado warning siren.

A picture of a old yellow tornado warning siren.

Tornado damage in Joplin, Missouri after a EF5 tornado.

A picture of tornado damage in Joplin, MO from a EF5 tornado.

Tornado damage in Fultondale, Alabama after a EF3 tornado.

A picture of tornado damage in Fultondale, AL from a EF3 tornado.

Tornado damage in Lapeer, Michigan after a EF2 tornado.

A picture of tornado damage in Lapeer, MI from a EF2 tornado.

Tornado Resources

We hope you found the above tornado facts, information, data, and pictures both fun and educational. You can continue to research tornadoes using one of the below additional resources. They were chosen for their credibility and accuracy; you can trust their information when it comes to tornadoes. Thank you for choosing Fast Facts for Kids.