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Tornado Formation, Tornado Characteristics, Tornado History, Prediction And Tracking Of Tornadoes

A tornado is a rapidly spinning column of air formed in severe thunderstorms. The rotating column, or vortex, forms inside the storm cloud then grows downward until it touches the ground. Although a tornado is not as large as its parent thunderstorm, it is capable of extreme damage because it packs very high wind speeds into a compact area. Tornadoes have been known to shatter buildings, drive straws through solid wood, lift locomotives from their tracks, and pull the water out of small streams. Due to a combination of geography and meteorology, the United States experiences most of the world's tornadoes. An average of 800 tornadoes strike the United States each year. Based on statistics kept since 1953, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas are the top three tornado states. Tornadoes are responsible for about 80 deaths, 1500 injuries, and many millions of dollars in property damage annually. While it is still impossible to predict exactly when and where tornadoes will strike, progress has been made in predicting tornado development and detecting tornadoes with Doppler radar.

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