WEATHER AUTHORITY : Severe Thunderstorm Watch View Alerts

Tornadoes Fast Facts

Here's some background information about ...

Posted: Feb 28, 2018 3:47 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2018 3:47 PM

Here's some background information about tornadoes, which are funnel-shaped clouds that form under thunderclouds and contain rapidly rotating air.

Facts: Most tornadoes form from severe thunderstorms. Hurricanes can also produce tornadoes.

Tornado winds may exceed 300 miles (483 kilometers) per hour.

Tornadoes can lift cars, mobile homes and animals into the air.

Tornadoes are sometimes called "twisters."

The damage path of a tornado is usually less than 1,600 feet wide.

On average, tornadoes travel at around 10-20 miles per hour.

The average tornado is on the ground about five minutes.

The most destructive and deadly tornadoes occur from supercells, which are rotating thunderstorms with a well-defined radar circulation called a mesocyclone. Supercells can also produce damaging hail, severe non-tornadic winds, unusually frequent lightning, and flash floods.

A tornado over a body of water is called a "waterspout."

The United States has the highest number of tornado occurrences in the world with an average of more than 1,000 tornadoes reported each year.

According to the National Weather Service, in 2017 there were 35 tornado-related deaths in the United States.

Most of the tornadoes in the United States strike in Tornado Alley, which spans the Midwest and the South.

Tornadoes usually occur during the spring and early summer, most often in the late afternoon and early evening.

A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when atmospheric conditions promote the forming of tornadoes.

A tornado warning is issued when Doppler radar detects a mesocyclone in a thunderstorm, or when a funnel cloud has been spotted.

A tornado emergency is enhanced wording in a tornado warning indicating a large tornado is moving into a heavily populated area. Significant widespread damage and numerous fatalities are likely. The term was coined by forecasters in May 1999 and is used sparingly.

Enhanced Fujita Scale: The Enhanced Fujita scale became operational on February 1, 2007, and is used to assign a tornado rating based on estimated wind speed and damage the tornado causes.

EF0 is the weakest point on the Enhanced Fujita Scale and EF5 is the strongest.

An EF5 tornado can tear a house off its foundation.

Rating EF0: Wind speed between 65 and 85 miles per hour.

Rating EF1: Wind speed between 86 and 110 miles per hour. Moderate damage. Peels the surfaces off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving cars blown off roads.

Rating EF2: Wind speed between 111 and 135 miles per hour. Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars overturned; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated; cars lifted off the ground.

Rating EF3: Wind speed between 136 and 165 miles per hour: Severe damage. Roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted; heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown.

Rating EF4: Wind speed between 166 and 200 miles per hours. Devastating damage. Well-constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown away some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.

Rating EF5: Wind speed 200 plus miles per hour. Incredible damage. Strong frame houses leveled off foundations and swept away; automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters (109 yards); trees debarked; incredible phenomena will occur.

Timeline: March 18, 1925 - One of the worst tornado disasters in the United States. 695 people in the tri-state area of Missouri-Illinois-Indiana are killed. It is the longest-lived and has the longest path of any recorded US tornado.

1950 - The United States begins keeping official records about tornadoes.

February 2, 2007 - At least 20 people are killed in Lake and Volusia counties in Florida after at least three tornadoes touch down in the middle of the night.

March 1, 2007 - At least 20 people are killed, one in Missouri, 10 in Alabama, and nine in Georgia from a string of tornadoes. In Alabama, eight of the 10 killed are teenagers from Enterprise High School in Enterprise, Alabama.

February 5, 2008 - At least 56 people are killed, 32 in Tennessee, 13 in Arkansas, seven in Kentucky, and four in Alabama from a string of tornadoes.

March 14, 2008 - A tornado reaching EF2 strength at times hits downtown Atlanta, damaging the World Congress Center, CNN Center, the Georgia Dome, and many other buildings.

May 9-11, 2008 - A series of tornadoes kills 22 in three states including six in Ottawa County, Oklahoma; 13 in Newton County, Missouri; one in Jasper County, Missouri; one in an area of Purdy in Barry County, Missouri, and one in Laurens County, Georgia.

April 14-16, 2011 - At least 114 tornadoes touch down in Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. Of the 46 fatalities reported, 23 occur in North Carolina.

April 25-28, 2011 - An outbreak of 201 confirmed tornadoes occurs from 8:00am ET April 25 to 8:00am ET April 28, 2011. There are approximately 321 fatalities in six states during the entire outbreak. The majority of fatalities occur in Alabama, where as many as 243 people are killed. Other states reporting fatalities are Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and Arkansas. In terms of multi-day outbreaks, this outbreak holds the record for the largest number of tornadoes.

May 22, 2011 - An EF5 tornado strikes Joplin, Missouri, killing at least 158 people. It is the deadliest single US tornado since federal record-keeping began in 1950. The tri-state tornado of 1925 is still the deadliest tornado in US history.

May 24, 2011 - Tornadoes strike Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas, killing at least 18 people.

August 3, 2011 - The Storm Prediction Center's final report for April 2011 shows 753 tornadoes touched down across the United States, breaking the previous monthly record of 543 tornadoes in May 2003.

May 20, 2013 - An EF5 tornado hits the Moore, Oklahoma area. The path of the tornado is 14 miles long. Twenty-four people are killed.

January 20-23, 2017 - Twenty people are killed - more than in all of 2016 - after an outbreak of twisters in Georgia and Mississippi. More than 80 tornadoes are reported over three days across Texas, Arkansas, Florida Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina - with more than 60 reported on January 21 alone. according to the National Weather Service.

Top 10 Deadliest Single US Tornadoes: (Source: NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center)

March 18, 1925 - Tri-state area of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana - 695 fatalities.

May 6, 1840 - Natchez, Mississippi - 317 fatalities.

May 27, 1896 - St. Louis, Missouri - 255 fatalities.

April 5, 1936 - Tupelo, Mississippi - 216 fatalities.

April 6, 1936 - Gainesville, Georgia - 203 fatalities.

April 9, 1947 - Woodward, Oklahoma - 181 fatalities.

May 22, 2011 - Joplin, Missouri - 158 fatalities.

April 24, 1908 - Amite, Louisiana and Purvis, Mississippi - 143 fatalities.

June 12, 1899 - New Richmond, Wisconsin - 117 fatalities.

June 8, 1953 - Flint, Michigan - 116 fatalities.

Top 10 Costliest Tornadoes since 1950 (in 2015 dollars): (Source: NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center)

May 22, 2011 - Joplin, Missouri - $2.8 billion (actual cost) - $2.92 billion (adjusted for inflation)

April 27, 2011 - Tuscaloosa, Alabama - $2.45 billion (actual cost) - $2.56 billion (adjusted for inflation)

May 20, 2013 - Moore, Oklahoma - $2 billion (actual cost) - $2.09 billion (adjusted for inflation)

June 8, 1966 - Topeka, Kansas - $250 million (actual cost) - about $1.81 billion (adjusted for inflation)

May 11, 1970 - Lubbock, Texas - $250 million (actual cost) - $1.5 billion (adjusted for inflation)

May 3, 1999 - Moore/Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - $1 billion (actual cost) - $1.4 billion (adjusted for inflation)

April 27, 2011 - Hackleburg, Alabama - $1.3 billion (actual cost) - about $1.35 billion (adjusted for inflation)

April 3, 1974 - Xenia, Ohio - $250 million (actual cost) - $1.19 billion (adjusted for inflation)

May 6, 1975 - Omaha, Nebraska - $250 million (actual cost) - $1.09 billion (adjusted for inflation)

April 10, 1979 - Wichita Falls, Texas - $277 million (actual cost) - about $898 million (adjusted for inflation)

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35419

Reported Deaths: 1230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds290851
DeSoto190019
Madison144638
Jones120349
Harrison113616
Rankin108715
Neshoba104577
Forrest99343
Lauderdale96381
Scott81915
Jackson77519
Washington72213
Copiah65315
Leake63520
Lee61222
Oktibbeha61128
Grenada5949
Warren59421
Holmes58641
Wayne56218
Yazoo5536
Lowndes54813
Lamar5347
Leflore53156
Lincoln52935
Pike49920
Lafayette4974
Sunflower4778
Monroe45635
Panola4486
Covington4355
Bolivar40518
Simpson3933
Attala38424
Newton37510
Tate35213
Adams35120
Pontotoc3466
Marion32712
Claiborne30111
Chickasaw29719
Winston29511
Pearl River28832
Noxubee2788
Jasper2776
Marshall2773
Walthall2627
Clay25811
Union25211
Smith24612
Clarke22325
Coahoma2226
Lawrence2092
Yalobusha2079
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18111
Montgomery1713
Calhoun1645
Humphreys16310
Itawamba1468
Tippah14511
Hancock14413
Webster13411
Jefferson1263
Tunica1233
Jefferson Davis1204
Prentiss1204
George1163
Greene11310
Amite1103
Alcorn1002
Quitman991
Wilkinson989
Tishomingo971
Perry874
Choctaw754
Stone742
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton460
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6433170
Mobile4753139
Montgomery4430112
Tuscaloosa263253
Madison21199
Marshall192611
Shelby164225
Lee157237
Morgan12695
Baldwin120711
Walker106131
Elmore102920
Dallas9969
Etowah95114
DeKalb9417
Franklin93216
Autauga67614
Russell6750
Chambers67427
Unassigned65328
Butler65129
Tallapoosa62869
Limestone6223
Houston5857
Cullman5716
Lauderdale5686
St. Clair5133
Colbert4956
Calhoun4905
Lowndes48122
Escambia4808
Pike4725
Coffee4244
Jackson4182
Covington41412
Barbour3942
Dale3911
Talladega3897
Bullock37710
Marengo35211
Hale34823
Chilton3232
Clarke3126
Wilcox3038
Blount2961
Winston2965
Sumter29113
Marion27514
Pickens2696
Randolph2589
Monroe2553
Perry2362
Conecuh2308
Bibb2211
Macon2159
Choctaw21212
Greene1959
Henry1533
Washington1418
Crenshaw1273
Lawrence1250
Cherokee1237
Geneva960
Lamar871
Clay852
Fayette821
Coosa651
Cleburne421
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 86°
Columbus
Few Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 89°
Oxford
Few Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 85°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 84°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather