Q:

What was the strongest tornado on record?

A:

Quick Answer

As of 2013, the strongest recorded tornado in terms of wind speed hit Moore, Okla., on May 3, 1999. The largest tornado and second-strongest by wind speed hit El Reno, Okla., on May 31, 2013.

Know More
What was the strongest tornado on record?
Credit: Getty Images North America Getty Images News Getty Images

Full Answer

A June 2013 USA Today article states that an EF5 tornado that hit near Oklahoma City on May 31, 2013 had winds of up to 295 miles per hour. This tornado, which hit El Reno, Okla., was the largest and widest tornado ever recorded with a width of 2.6 miles and the second strongest by wind speed. According to Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground, the only tornado that had higher wind speed was a tornado that hit Moore, Okla., with wind speeds of up to 302 miles per hour. This tornado struck on May 3, 1999.

Learn more about Storms

Related Questions

  • 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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • 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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How is a tornado formed?

    A:

    Tornadoes are formed when hot air and cold air meet in a powerful storm, and the warm air begins spiralling upward, creating a funnel cloud. This funnel cloud forces objects on the ground and in the air around and upward, and can be strong enough to uproot trees, move cars and tear apart buildings. This extremely energetic air current is part of a special, very tall storm called a supercell.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • 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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore