Fact or Fiction: Tornadoes

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Tornadoes have always been a source of fascination, especially in the United States, which experiences more of them than anywhere in the world. They drop from the clouds, wreak havoc for a few terrifying minutes (or hours), and then vanish as quickly as they appeared. So, wannabe storm chasers -- how much do you know about twisters?
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Question 1 of 10
0Correct Answers
1.Theinternalwindsofatornadocanhitalmost500mph(805kph).
  • fact
  • fiction
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Tornadoes can reach 318 mph (511 kph).
  • almost fact: The winds of the most powerful tornado are about 200 mph.
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2.Theonlycontinentthathasn'texperiencedatornadoisAustralia.
  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The lone tornado-less continent is Antarctica.
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Antarctica is the only continent that has never experienced a tornado.
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3.TheTri-StateTornadoof1925,thedeadliesttwisterinUnitedStateshistory,hitMissouri,KansasandIowa.
  • fact
  • fiction
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: The 1925 twister killed 695 people in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
  • almost fact: The infamous tornado was actually in 1935.
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4.About2,000tornadoestouchdownintheUnitedStateseveryyear.
  • fact
  • fiction
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: About 1,000 tornadoes hit every year -- still an impressive number.
  • almost fact: It's actually closer to 3,000.
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5.Atornadofollowsthepathofitsparentthundercloud.
  • fact
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: True, the tornado always stays with the cloud it's attached to. It can appear to "hop," but it never separates.
  • fiction
  • almost fact: True, but the most powerful twisters can break away, becoming extremely unpredictable.
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6.TornadoesaremeasuredontheFujitaScale.
  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's now called the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: The original Fujita Scale, developed in 1971, was updated to become the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It still ranks tornadoes on a scale of 0 to 5, but there are now more criteria for judging twisters.
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7.TheEnhancedFujitaScaleassessestornadoesbytheir"degreesofdamage."
  • fact
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Yes, the EF Scale assesses damage on a scale of 1 to 28. Single-wide mobile homes, for example, are a 3, and a 20-story high-rise is a 19. From there, each kind of structure has 10 degrees of damage. Scientists then use the damage data to estimate the tornado's wind speed.
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The EF Scale places more importance on a tornado's shape and wind speed.
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8.Fewerthan100peoplehavebeenkilledbytornadoesintheSoutheasternUnitedStates,theareaofthecountrywiththeleasttwisters.
  • fact
  • fiction
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Tornadoes have actually killed more people in the Southeast than anywhere in the U.S. Tornado Alley obviously gets more twisters, but the population in the Southeast is more dense. Also, for some reason, tornadoes in the Southeast tend to strike at night.
  • almost fact: The numbers are a little higher, but the Southeast is the least tornado-prone area.
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9.Oklahomaexperiencesthegreatestnumberofintensetornadoes,butFloridahasthehighestdensityoftornadooccurrenceinthecountry.
  • fact
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: True. Florida does get a lot of weak tornadoes, but Oklahoma has more of the big ones.
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's Texas, not Florida, that has the highest tornado density.
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10.ThedeadliesttornadoinworldhistorystruckBangladeshin1975,killing5,000people.
  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Bangladesh is correct, but it was 1989, and 1,300 people died.
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: The Daultipur-Saulturia tornado hit on April 26, 1989, and killed an estimated 1,300 people. It was about a mile wide and cut a 50-mile (80-kilometer) path through many slums and poor areas.
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