What's your tornado IQ?
May 13, 2003
Here's a little twister test supplied by the Southwest Region News Service of the University of Missouri Outreach and Extension:

True or false: Areas near rivers, lakes and mountains are safe from tornadoes?

True or false: Windows should be cracked open to equalize air pressure during a tornado?

True or false: The southwest corner of a structure is the safest place during a tornado.

Question: How long are tornadoes on the ground?

Question: How high do wind speeds reach inside a tornado?

Question: Which is more intense, a small tornado or a very large one?


False--Tornadoes have been known to strike almost any location.

False--Open windows allow damaging winds to enter the structure. The most important thing to do is seek shelter.

Probably false--About 85 percent of tornadoes move from the southwest to the northeast. You want to put as many walls as possible between you and the approaching tornado. Get as low as you can, close to a wall. Collapsing floors cause many inuries; so don't choose a spot under heavy appliances, such as a refrigerator. If you are in a car, get out of it and lie flat in a ditch.

Answer--The typical tornado will produce a damage path two to six miles long in 5 to 15 minutes. MOST but not all tornadoes touch down only momentarily.

Answer--Wind speeds in tornadoes rarely have been measured, and then usually by an indirect method. One practical way to measure wind speed is to inspect the damage after the tornado passes, using a scale called the Fujita-Pearson Scale. It ranges from an F0 (40-72 mph)considered a tornado doing light damage, to an F5 (261-318 mph) that can rip the pavement from streets and tear buldings off of their foundations. An F1 (73-112 mph) is a moderate tornado with wind speeds comparable to most hurricanes. An F2 (113-157 mph) is a significant tornado and can cause considerable damage. An F3 (158 to 206 mph) is a severe tornado and can tear off roofs and some walls of well-constructed houses. An F4 (207-260 mph) is a devastating tornado.

Answer:--The size of a tornado is not an indication of its intensity. A very large tornado can actually be weak. A small tornado, on the other hand, can be violent and cause extreme damage.

For more info, visit the website of theStorm Prediction Center.

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