– TORNADOES –
-> The great power of tornadoes is almost unbelievable. The speed of this whirling funnel-shaped wind may be more than 800 kilometres per hour. Like a giant vacuum cleaner, it sucks up anything in its path. There are many interesting stories about the strange things that tornadoes have done in the United States.
Common wheat straw has been driven several centimetres onto posts and trees. Buildings have been turned completely around on their foundations and have remained intact.
People and animals have been carried hundreds of metres, often suffering no physical harm. Feathers have been removed from chickens.
Cars, trucks, and even whole freight trains have been carried away. Fortunately, a tornado does not last long, about 20 to 30 minutes on the average. Usually, it destroys an area about 26 kilometres long, and the great damage that it does in one place lasts only about 30 seconds. Tornadoes normally occur on hot, humid days but not necessarily in the summer.
The biggest and most destructive tornado in the United States struck on March 18, 1925. Roaring along at a speed of 96 kilometres per hour, it swept clean a path 2 kilometres wide across the states of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. In its 354-kilometre long journey across these three states, the tornado killed 689 people. More than 200 tornadoes strike in the United States every year.
It is not possible to predict when a tornado will strike although the U.S. Weather Bureau gives storm warnings when conditions are right to cause a tornado. The safest place to be if a tornado seems likely is in some underground area such as a cellar or a basement.
– Fire Tornadoes –