Tornadoes are one of nature’s most violent storms. In an average year, about 1,000 tornadoes are reported across the United States, resulting in 80 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries. A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.
Tornadoes come in all shapes and sizes and can occur anywhere in the U.S. at any time of the year. In the southern states, peak tornado season is March through May, while peak months in the northern states are during the summer.
Tornado Climatology — Long-term Averages by State
VORTEX: Unraveling the Secrets – created by the National Severe Storms Laboratory as a prototype educational site for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
This is the oldest known photo of a tornado. It was taken on
August 28, 1884 near Howard, South Dakota. The name of the photographer is not known.