Q:

How long do tornadoes last?

A:

Quick Answer

Tornadoes can last from a few seconds to over an hour, although most last less than 10 minutes. They form from mesocyclones, which are areas of organized rotation within supercell thunderstorms. Scientists still don't know why some mesocyclones become tornadoes and some do not.

Know More
How long do tornadoes last?
Credit: Karen Anderson Photography Moment Getty Images

Full Answer

More tornadoes strike in the part of the United States that lies between the Appalachians and the Rockies than anywhere else on earth, but tornadoes have been observed on every continent except Antarctica. Tornadoes called waterspouts occur over water but do not seem to form from supercells. They are less powerful than tornadoes over land but are still dangerous. Tornadoes can occur singly or as multiple vortexes. Some historical reports of long-lasting tornadoes may be based on a series of tornadoes rather than a single vortex.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    How long does a hurricane last?

    A:

    Hurricanes generally last just a few weeks from attaining this classification to dissipation. Reaching cool waters, making landfall and other factors can reduce this duration to just a few days.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a typhoon?

    A:

    A typhoon is a tropical storm occurring in the Northwest Pacific Ocean and having sustained winds in excess of 73 miles per hour. In other parts of the world, these types of storms can be called hurricanes or cyclones.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are tornadoes made of?

    A:

    A tornado is essentially a violently rotating column of air moving at speeds up to 300 miles per hour. It is also likely to contain objects it has come in contact with on the ground, though the objects are rarely intact.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How long do thunderstorms last?

    A:

    Thunderstorms usually last for 30 minutes to an hour. They can happen in a singular fashion, in lines or in clusters. Some of the most dangerous thunderstorms happen when a single storm strikes in a location for a lengthy period of time.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore