5 Facts You Need to Know About Tornados

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We’ve officially entered tornado season, folks. If you live somewhere in the middle of the country, it’s safe to assume you’ve probably experienced a fair share of tornado warnings throughout your life. 

While not all tornado warnings turn into actual tornados, it’s always scary to have to prepare for a tornado. Between the tornado siren, having to find shelter, and making sure you have everything you need, it’s definitely not a walk in the park. And, though tornados only last for a few minutes, they can do some serious damage. 

From destroying neighborhoods to taking down buildings, tornados can change the look of a town in an instant. As we prepare for the spring and summer weather, here are some facts you should know about tornados:

The Deadliest Tornado Happened Almost 100 Years Ago

The deadliest tornado on record happened on March 18, 1925. A tornado began destroying everything in its wake near southeastern Missouri and moved its way through Illinois and Indiana. When it finally ended, the Tri-State tornado covered over 200 miles in less than three hours and killed roughly 700 people. 

The Average Duration of a Tornado Is 5 Minutes

Though most tornados are just a few minutes long, some can go on for hours. The good news, if you ever happen to find yourself in the path of a tornado, is the average duration is about five minutes, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory

Most Occur During a Certain Time of Day

Believe it or not, but most tornados occur between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. However, it’s important to take any tornado warnings seriously, even if it’s 8:00 a.m.

Tornados Have Happened on Every Continent Except For One

While there’s potential for a tornado to happen in every single continent, there’s yet to be one in Antarctica! In fact, it’s very unlikely one will ever happen in Antarctica (though not impossible), due to its very cold climate.

The United States Has the Most Tornados Per Year

According to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, the United States has the most tornados per year. In fact, the US averages about 1,200 tornados annually.

A major reason for this is because the US has a lot of moisture moving through the country from the Gulf of Mexico during the spring and summer. This unique weather pattern is what often causes tornados to form.