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Posted by on Sep 10, 2016 in Tell Me Why Numerous Questions and Answers |

Why Does a Tornado Suck up Everything in Its Path?

Why Does a Tornado Suck up Everything in Its Path?

A tornado has a strong lifting force due to the updraft of air in the funnel. Tornadoes start in thunderstorm weather, usually in late spring and summer. Hot moist air begins to rise rapidly from the ground. Winds blowing in from all sides to replace the rising air start a narrow, violent whirl.

The whirling air meets near the center of the storm, and then rushes upward with terrific force. It forms a funnel-shaped cloud – a tornado. As the air in the tornado rushes upward, it acts as a giant vacuum cleaner, sucking up everything in its path.

What is the heaviest thing a tornado has ever picked up?

The Pampa, Texas tornado moved machinery that weighted more than 30,000 pounds. Whether it was slid or picked up, we don’t know. A tornado would certainly have no trouble tossing a 2000 -3000 pound van into the air.

Freight cars are often blown sideways from their tracks. In the huge cleanup after a tornado, no one bothers weighing the debris, so there is no record kept of heavy flying objects, other than cars.

How far do things get carried if they are lifted and carried?

The furthest distance 1 pound object can be carried is about 100 miles. The furthest known distance a photo or piece of paper was carried was a little over 200 miles. In the Great Bend, Kansas tornado of November 10, 1915, debris from the town was carried 85 miles.

After passing through the town, the tornado went through or near Cheyenne Bottoms, now a wildlife area. Hundreds of dead ducks fell from the sky 25 miles northeast of the end of the path. And after the Worcester, Massachusetts tornado of 1953, chunks of soggy, frozen mattress fell into Boston Harbor, 50 miles to the east of where it was picked up.

Content for this question contributed by Matt Lesley, resident of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, USA