Tornados Warning: Do not chase tornados or any other type of storm. It is dangerous even for the scientists (meteorologists) who specialize in studying them. 4 Dead, 40 Hurt As Tornado Hits Boy Scout Camp Stoughton ABC News Iowa Fake tornado photograph

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Tornados Warning: Do not chase tornados or any other type of storm. It is dangerous even for the scientists (meteorologists) who specialize in studying them.

4 Dead, 40 Hurt As Tornado Hits Boy Scout Camp


ABC News


Fake tornado photograph

The widely circulated fakes above are said to have no rotation nor funnel. Yeah, right. But the critics do make good points that this is clearly not a Boy Scout Camp nor do we see debris flying through the air.

Here are shelf clouds:

shelf cloud

Shelf clouds actually look scarier than tornados because we seldom see them. Here are real tornados:

A double funnel

A fire tornado or fire whirl

Smoke jumpers looking at another fire tornado

Note the rainbow in this next picture:

Tornados forming over water are called waterspouts and take on the appearance of water. Tornados in sandy deserts are called sandspouts or sand columns:

It is bad enough to be hit by lightning but you can be hit by a tornado at the same time!

Sometimes tornados get long, wild, and twist like a whiplash. Hence the nickname twister.



Dust Devil Blows Away Campsite

April 29 2009 Tornadoes TX Panhandle

2009 Copyright Sean & Katie McMullen StormChasers June 17, 2009 Tornado Grand Island, NE

MORE INSANE TORNADO VIDEO! Wedge on May 5, 2007 in Kansas

INCREDIBLE TORNADO VIDEO!! May 4, 2007 - Ellis Co., OK\


Destroyed in Seconds- Monster Tornado

Oklahoma Tornado, May 3rd 1999 (formation of the tornado)

F5 Tornado, Oklahoma City, May 3, 1999

Tornadoes, Lightning in Rare Video

A theatrical (meaning not real) tornado disaster:

Perfect disaster tornado 1

Perfect disaster supertornado 5

Perfect disaster super tornado 6

The Wizard of Oz twister

It’s a Twister

MGM's The Wizard of Oz-Deleted Scene of "The Twister Scene" (1939 Film)

Twisters occurring from midnight to dawn are 2.5 times more likely to kill

Nighttime Tornadoes are Worst Nightmare


Career Information

Considering a career as a meteorologist? Then enroll in courses in calculus, physics, and atmospheric science as well as general meteorology.

Graduate Schools You Might Consider for a career in Meteorology specializing in Tornados

Meteorology Graduate School Programs - Masters & PhD Degrees

(USA and worldwide)

San Francisco State University

Florida State University’s strength is in hurricane research not tornado research.

Texas Tech Atmospheric Science Group

Texas Tech University is an affiliate of UCAR (the University Center for Atmospheric Research) and the American Meteorological Society. They also have the Disaster Research Institute.

University of Oklahoma

There are seven ways to experience tornado force winds. Such winds can exceed 300 miles per hour (there was once a claim of a freak tornado wind that reached 800 and turned straw into bullets). The seven ways are roughly listed in order of greater speed and risk:

• Stand in front of a room fan, the kind you buy for a room at home, and turn it up to high.

• Stick your head out of a car window when it is on an interstate highway (not recommended on an autobahn). Don’t do this if you are driving. Wear goggles or a flying insect could hit you in the eye. Keep your seat belt on and the doors locked and never try this on a narrow road with lots of bushes, posts, or other stationary objects that you might hit. A much safer way to go is to ride in a fast boat on a lake. If your family doesn’t own a boat, see if you can get a ride free or cheap.

• Get in a vertical wind tunnel used to simulate skydiving. • Go to an actual wind tunnel used for research.

• Ride in an open cockpit biplane, like the kind crop dusters and wind walkers use. • Do actual skydiving.

• Go on a tornado tour in tornado alley with professional tornado chasers. Your parents should not let you go on one of these tours because they are for adult tourists only. If you have to sign insurance waivers, somebody might get killed.\


There are eight basic categories of people or groups who chase or intercept tornados.

• Scientists and Researchers • Hobbyists, Recreational and Amateurs • Spotters • Media/Editorial/Artistic • Imposters, Thrill Seekers, Klingons, etc. • Tour Guides and School Groups • Locals • Full-time Professionals

Many chasers are hybrid combinations of the above categories.

Frequently Asked Questions

Phenomena Related to Tornados or Confused With Tornados:

A wall cloud, or pedestal cloud, is a cloud formation associated with thunderstorms.

A potential rain cloud, a cumulonimbus, can develop into a thunderhead.

A cumulonimbus incus has formed the characteristic flat, anvil-top shape. This thunderhead with the distinctive anvil on top can begin rotating and develop into a supercell. Supercells have a deep, continuously-rotating updraft, an overshooting top or dome above the anvil, a wall cloud, and mammatus clouds. Supercells can congregate over a region or pass over an area one after the other. When they do, the energy from one supercell can be picked up by the next supercell. When this happens, a tornado may occur. Tornados are usually zero on the enhanced Fujita scale but, in the case of a massing of multiple supercells, many F5 tornados may result. Some climatologists think the once rare F5 may be seen more as a result of global warming or climate change.


A derecho is a widespread and long-lived, violent convectively induced straight-line wind storm that is sometimes called a horizontal tornado.

It is best not to use the terms squall or squall lines because sailors and other people use the terms in so many ways as to render them useless except to mean a strong gust of wind. What we mean here is when the sky looks like a giant rolling pin and you are the biscuit dough about to be flattened by Mother Nature in the role of baker.

Roll clouds and shelf clouds are the two types of arcus clouds.

Shelf clouds tend to slope downward away from the precipitation while wall clouds tend to slope upward away from the precipitation area. Wall clouds are found in the rear of the storm; NEVER on the leading edge. Generally speaking, a shelf cloud appears on the leading edge of a storm.

True Tornados:

A multiple vortex is tornado twins or triplets. More often there is a dominant funnel and orbiting satellites.

Fair weather waterspouts that form over water (often in the Florida Keys and in the northern Adriatic Sea) are generally harmless while tornados that form over land and pass over water are dangerous.

Cousins of Tornados:

Dust devils are not really tornados.

Fire whirls are also not considered true tornados unless they connect to a pyrocumulus associated with a forest fire, volcano or firestorm (caused by incendiary bombs or a thermonuclear bomb). In this case, you have a true fire tornado.

Steam devils can form over power plant cooling towers and hot springs.

Miscellaneous Notes:

A rope tornado is simply a dying tornado.

A tornado can be invisible if there is no water vapor or condensation or debris in it. This is why tornados can sneak up on you. They can already cause damage before they suck up enough dust to be visible.

Tornados can and do occur on dark moonless nights visible only when lightning flashes if there is a power outage.

A pink tornado may occur because the setting sun gives it a pink glow or it has picked up light red sand or even roses. There was a case of a tornado sucking up flower petals and taking on a pink color.


At Sixty dollars (US), Oregon Scientific WR602 Portable Weather Alert Radio is the expensive way to go.

An old black and white television that no longer works because of the switch to digital, high definition and cable will serve as an alert device – albeit with a much shorter notice. This method is to take the old set and turn the brightness all the way down to dark. If a tornado approaches, the screen is supposed to go white. Of course the tornado will be right on you when the screen goes blank, so spend the money.