Illustrated tornado from the book The Wizard of Oz
© W. R. Wright, Piglet Press Inc. (www.halcyon.com/piglet/)
Common Tornado Myths
Has someone told you to open your windows during a tornado? Or has
someone told you that you don't have to worry about tornadoes because the
place where you live is protected? These are two of the most common myths
about tornadoes. Neither of them are true.
Scientists once thought that the low pressure in a tornado caused the normal
in houses to explode out. It turned out that the strong
winds from the tornado destroyed the houses, not the pressure change. In
fact, opening the windows can cause even more damage.
Some people thought that tornadoes couldn't cross mountains or rivers.
This is true for small tornadoes, but the strong ones can. And they're
the ones that cause the most destruction.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store
You might also be interested in:
What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?...more
When you "blow up" a balloon, you are adding pressure to the inside of the balloon. That makes the rubber in the balloon stretch. The balloon gets bigger. Pressure is an idea scientists use to describe...more
Tornadoes form from severe thunderstorms. They are very destructive because they have a high energy density. They also don't last very long. This makes it hard to learn about them. Since scientists don't...more
Sound travels in waves. When the waves hit your ear, you hear a sound. Have you ever noticed the waves in the ocean? They go up and down, up and down. Sound waves act the same way. The number of times...more
Storm chasers are different than storm spotters. Chasers travel around Tornado Alley looking for severe storms and tornadoes. Sometime there are dozens of chasers following the same storm. All kinds of...more
A tornado is the most destructive natural storm. You might think that this also means that tornadoes are the strongest storms; that's not the case. In fact, a thunderstorm which produces a tornado can...more
The Doppler effect was named after Christian Doppler, who first came up with the idea in 1842. He learned that sound waves would be pushed closer together if the source of the sound was moving toward you....more
Tornadoes are hard to forecast. They don't last very long so there's not much time to figure out what's happening. Also, scientists don't really know how they form. They know what the weather's like when...more