Although being close to a tornado is anything but fun, learning about them can be. We have are a lot of cool and fun tornado facts on how tornadoes are formed, where you can see tornadoes, how big tornadoes are, why tornadoes are more common in some places and much much more.
We have loads of these tornado facts, and more in the article below. We have also included some free resources and science experiments to download and print on tornadoes. You can make your very own tornado in a bottle, and learn more about tornadoes and other natural disasters and make your own natural disaster wall hanging.
If you are looking to jump straight to the activities and miss out all these cool tornado facts for children then you can click right here and it will take you to the resource section.
Tornado Facts for Children
The follow facts are for everyone, not just children so feel free to jump in and learn a little about the wild weather we can experience on our little blue planet.
- Tornadoes can happen all over the World. Anywhere there is warm air and cold air that meet has the chance to form a tornado. Some places get a lot more, and more powerful, tornadoes than others though. Keep reading to find out where gets the most tornadoes.
- Tornadoes are formed when hot air and cold air meet and start to rotate. This makes the air spin very quickly and makes can create a super cell thunderstorm. This spinning air then has the chance to move vertically and create a tornado.
- The biggest and longest duration Tornado on record is the Tri state Tornado. Although proper speeds could not be measured as it happened in 1925. The highest tornado wind speed on record is the May 31st, 2013 in Reno, Oklahoma Tornado which had a maximum wind speed of 336 miles an hour! Now that is fast!
- Tornadoes are called tornadoes when they are on land but if you see a tornado over water it has another name. These are often called waterspouts or rainspouts. As they are over water there is often less damage caused. They also are often white or grey as they are picking up water and not dust
- The main difference between tornadoes and water spouts is that waterspouts form over water and tornadoes form over land. Waterspouts are usually less powerful and cause less damage than a land tornado.
You still don’t want to be caught near to one if you are in the water though. We were lucky enough to see one from our balcony as it came to land. It was a powerful waterspout but luckily no one was injured. You can see just how large it was in the video below!
- Tornadoes also have different names depending where you are in the world. In English they can be called twister (like the movie) whirlwind, dust devil or funnel. However, in case you are in other countries and someone shouts any of the following. We think it might be useful to know what tornado is in other languages!
|Language||Word for Tornado|
|English||Tornado, Twister, Whirlwind|
|Chinese||龙卷风 Lóng juǎn fēng|
|Japanese||竜巻 Tat su maki|
|Urdu||طوفان Tu Pan|
|Xhosa||In kan yam ba|
- Tornadoes are not just here on planet Earth. If the conditions are right they can form anywhere. There have been dust devils witnessed on the planet Mars and these have been recorded to be bigger than the even the biggest tornado on Earth!
Storms have been seen on Saturn bigger than the continental USA and the 175 year old storm on Jupiter is bigger than three whole Earths! So yes, you can certainly get tornadoes on other planets.
If you want to know more about the other planets and their weather you can read our Space Reading Worksheets here.
- Tornadoes are made of air, fast moving air. They are the result of warm wet air colliding with cold dry air which create vortexes. This vortex can sometimes form into a tornado or water spout and touch the ground.
- Tornado wind speeds are really fast up to and over 200 miles an hour! There is a scientific scale to measure how strong tornados are. We have a table below you can see. It was updated in 2007, and is now called the enhanced Fujita scale.
|Fujita Scale||Wind speed||Description|
|EF- 0||65 to 85 mph winds (105-137kph)||light damage|
|EF- 1||86 to 110 mph winds (138-177 kph)||moderate damage|
|EF- 2||111 to135 mph winds (178-177 kph)||considerable damage|
|EF- 3||136 to 165 mph Winds (218-266 kph)||severe damage|
|EF- 4||166 to 200 mph winds (267-322 kph)||devastating damage|
|EF – 5||>200 mph winds ( >322 kph)||incredible damage|
- The country with the most tornadoes is The USA. The country with the second most tornadoes is Canada. The USA can have as many as 1200 tornadoes a year!! that is more than 3 tornadoes a day! The USA also has more powerful tornadoes that anywhere else.
We also have an infographic you can download and use if you need as well. Just click on the image below 🙂 or the link to be taken to the download page.
- The USA has more powerful tornadoes, and higher frequency of tornadoes, than anywhere else on Earth. This is because of the warm air from the Gulf of Mexico travelling up and meeting the cool air from the rocky mountains. This makes the air spin very fast. We call these super cells you can see one in the picture below. These supercells are where most tornadoes are formed from.
- Can you always see tornadoes? As we mentioned above when tornadoes touch down on the ground they will drag up dust and dirt. It is this dust and dirt you will see as it spins faster and fast round the tornado. The air inside the tornado you actually cant see, just what it is doing to all the things it touches!
- You must stay safe from a tornado. Tornado warnings help people stay safe, although it is difficult to predict where a tornado will touch down exactly, it is still possible to give warnings to people, often on television there will be weather updates and if a tornado is heading in your direction you will head a siren like this. It is very loud and very long and means you must seek shelter. You can click the link to hear the siren.
- If you cant get to shelter into time then heading to an inside room, or even better the basement to shelter in place while the tornado passes is your safest option. Staying away from windows and outside walls is a must!
- Tornados will rotate (spin) in different directions depending where in the world they are formed. If a tornado forms in the northern Hemisphere like in the USA or in Europe they will rotate in a counter clockwise direction. (That means the opposite of a clock or watch) Tornadoes in Australia and New Zealand ( the Southern Hemisphere) will normally rotate in a clockwise direction.
- This rule is the same for bathwater! if you watch your bath water be sucked down the plug you can see it co in different directions depending where in the world you are! I wonder what happens on the equator!
Hopefully some of your questions have been answered by these Fun tornado facts . One thing is for sure they are incredible to see, from a distance though. the most important fun fact on tornadoes is that up close there are certainly not fun at all!
However learning about them can be fun and we hope the tornado facts above and the tornado activities and natural disaster resources below help achieve this!
FREE Tornado and Natural Disaster and STEM, Activities, Printable and Resources
We have a few resources on the site that can be used to help students and children learn more about tornadoes and other natural disasters. These are all free for you to download and use in classrooms and at home.
Just follow the links to access them 🙂
Hope you enjoy these articles don’t forget to check out all our other resources in our FREE Resources section in the menu, and other tips and teaching tricks in the blog up there too.