Q:

Has anyone survived a tornado?

A:

Quick Answer

There are numerous recorded instances of adults and children who have been physically lifted by a tornado and survived the experience. One case involved a young boy who was wearing a bike helmet when a 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo. enveloped him.

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Full Answer

Although he was struck by debris in the head, he survived. Some experts suggest that past survival cases largely depend on luck and age, positing that children may have an advantage over adults. Their smaller size and more pliable skeletal structures are more likely to resist injury from flying debris. One common theory to surviving being lifted by a tornado involves being lifted alongside a larger item, which acts as a shield against the vortex of debris.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How big is a tornado?

    A:

    A tornado path, or the width of the tornado on the ground, can range from as small as 10 yards to in excess of a mile. Widths can vary greatly even over the life of a single tornado, as each individual twister often undergoes rapid changes.

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  • Q:

    What is a tornado?

    A:

    According to The Weather Channel, a tornado is "a violently rotating column of air that stretches from a cloud to the Earth's surface." The source also states that tornadoes are "the most destructive of all storm-scale atmospheric phenomena." Often forming from a thunderstorm, tornadoes also result from hurricanes.

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  • Q:

    What is an isolated tornado?

    A:

    An isolated tornado is a term used by meteorologists to warn the public that an occasional tornado is possible with approaching storms. When this term is used, forecasters do not expect a widespread outbreak of tornadoes to occur. A tornado watch may or not be issued when isolated tornadoes are mentioned.

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  • Q:

    How big can a tornado get?

    A:

    It is unknown how large and strong a tornado can get. As of 2013, the strongest wind speed recorded in a tornado was 318 mph in 1999 Moore, Oklahoma, by Doppler on Wheels (DOW), and the widest tornado on record occurred on May 31, 2013, near El Reno, Oklahoma.

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