Think you could take on a strong storm? Before you get carried away, here’s what you really need to know about hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and thunder and lightning.
Tornadoes move at such high speeds that they have no trouble tossing a 2000 to 3000 pound van into the air. They have been known to freight sideways off their tracks.
A tsunami is not a tidal wave, but rather a series of waves, known as a wave train. A tidal wave can be predicted since they are produced by the daily tides. A tsunami can’t be predicted since it’s caused by some violent disturbance in the ocean such as an earthquake or hurricane.
The sound of a tornado changes depending on how close it is to the ground. Those passing just above ground sound like bees. Tornadoes higher up can sound like a train, jet plane or waterfall.
When a tornado strikes at sea they are known as waterspouts or vortexes. In North America, the Florida Keys see the largest number of waterspouts per year-400 to 500 per season.
Hurricanes need warm water below and cool wind above in order to form. The wind must also be blowing in the same direction in order to force warm air from the ocean upwards to meet the cool air.
Cloud-to-ground lightning is the second most common type of and is the most dangerous threat. It comes from a discharge between a cumulonimbus cloud and the ground.
Most people are struck by summer lightening when caught outdoors in the afternoon and evening.
Depending on how the light is striking them, most tornadoes appear as white, black or gray. When viewed from the west, tornadoes appear white. Viewed from the east with sunlight behind, they appear black.