- The winds of a tornado whirl in a counterclockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
- People in some regions call a tornado a twister or a cyclone. A tornado that occurs over a lake or ocean is called a waterspout
- Most tornadoes last less than an hour. These storms travel a distance of about 20 miles (32 kilometers) at a speed of 10 to 25 miles (16 to 40 kilometers) per hour. Some tornadoes last several hours and measure up to 11/2 miles (2.4 kilometers) in diameter. They may travel 200 miles (320 kilometers) or more at a speed of up to 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour. Such tornadoes are especially destructive.
- Tornadoes occur throughout the world, but mostly in the United States. Those in the United States hit chiefly in spring and early summer.
No one knows how many tornadoes occur yearly because many of the storms occur in thinly populated areas and may not be reported. About 700 tornadoes have been reported annually in the United States since the mid-1950’s.
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