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Tornado Trivia Quiz Questions With Answers

Trivia quiz questions with answers about tornadoes.


Tornado Trivia Quiz Questions With Answers

What is a tornado?
A: A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud.

The windstorm is often referred to as a twister, whirlwind or what?
A: Cyclone, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology to name a weather system with a low-pressure area in the center around which winds blow counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern.

Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, and they are often visible in the form of a what?
A: A funnel originating from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud, with a cloud of rotating debris and dust beneath it.

Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than how fast?
A: 110 miles per hour (180 km/h).

How far across are they?
A: They are about 250 feet (80 m) across.

How far do they travel before dissipating?
A: A few miles (several kilometers).

The most extreme tornadoes can attain wind speeds of how fast?
A: More than 300 miles per hour (480 km/h), are more than two miles (3 km) in diameter, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles (more than 100 km).

Various types of tornadoes include what?
A: The multiple vortex tornado, landspout and waterspout.

Waterspouts are characterized by what?
A: A spiraling funnel-shaped wind current, connecting to a large cumulus or cumulonimbus cloud.

They are generally classified as what?
A: Non-supercellular tornadoes that develop over bodies of water, but there is disagreement over whether to classify them as true tornadoes.

Where do these spiraling columns of air frequently develop?
A: In tropical areas close to the equator, and are less common at high latitudes.

Other tornado-like phenomena that exist in nature include what?
A: The gustnado, dust devil, fire whirl, and steam devil.

Where do tornadoes occur most frequently?
A: In North America, particularly in central and southeastern regions of the United States.

Tornadoes can be detected before or as they occur through the use of what?
A: Pulse-Doppler radar by recognizing patterns in velocity and reflectivity data, such as hook echoes or debris balls, as well as through the efforts of storm spotters.

How does the Fujita scale rate tornadoes?
A: By damage caused and has been replaced in some countries by the updated Enhanced Fujita Scale.

An F0 or EF0 tornado, the weakest category, damages trees, but not what?
A: Substantial structures.

An F5 or EF5 tornado, the strongest category can do what to buildings?
A: It can rip buildings off their foundations and can deform large skyscrapers.

The similar TORRO scale ranges from a T0 for extremely weak tornadoes to what for the most powerful known tornadoes?
A: T11.

Doppler radar data, photogrammetry, and ground swirl patterns (trochoidal marks) may also be analyzed to determine what?
A: Intensity and assign a rating.

The word tornado comes from what?
A: The Spanish word tornado (past participle of to turn, or to have torn).

A tornado is also commonly referred to as a what?
A: A "twister", and is also sometimes referred to by the old-fashioned colloquial term cyclone.

The term "cyclone" is used as a synonym for "tornado" in what often-aired 1939 film?
A: The Wizard of Oz.

The term "twister" is also used in that film, along with being the title of what?
A: The 1996 tornado-related film Twister.

For a vortex to be classified as a tornado, it must be in contact with what?
A: Both the ground and the cloud base.

Scientists have not yet created a complete definition of the word; for example, there is disagreement as to whether separate touchdowns of the same funnel constitute what?
A: Separate tornadoes.

Tornado refers to the vortex of wind, not what?
A: The condensation cloud.

A tornado is not necessarily visible; however, the intense low pressure caused by the high wind speeds (as described by Bernoulli's principle) and rapid rotation (due to cyclostrophic balance) usually cause water vapor in the air to do what?
A: To condense into cloud droplets due to adiabatic cooling.

This results in the formation of what?
A: A visible funnel cloud or condensation funnel.

There is some disagreement over the definition of a what?
A: A funnel cloud and a condensation funnel.

According to the Glossary of Meteorology, a funnel cloud is any rotating cloud pendant from a cumulus or cumulonimbus, and thus most tornadoes are what?
A: Included under this definition.

Among many meteorologists, the 'funnel cloud' term is strictly defined as a rotating cloud which is not associated with what?
A: Strong winds at the surface, and condensation funnel is a broad term for any rotating cloud below a cumuliform cloud.

Tornadoes often begin as what?
A: Funnel clouds with no associated strong winds at the surface.

Most tornadoes produce strong winds at the surface while the visible funnel is still above the ground, so it is difficult to discern the difference between what (from a distance)?
A: A funnel cloud and a tornado.

Occasionally, a single storm will produce what?
A: More than one tornado, either simultaneously or in succession.

Multiple tornadoes produced by the same storm cell are referred to as a what?
A: A "tornado family".

Several tornadoes are sometimes spawned from the same what?
A: Large-scale storm system.

If there is no break in activity, this is considered a what?
A: A tornado outbreak (although the term "tornado outbreak" has various definitions).

Most tornadoes take on the appearance of what?
A: A narrow funnel, a few hundred yards (meters) across, with a small cloud of debris near the ground.

Tornadoes may be obscured completely by what?
A: Rain or dust.

Small, relatively weak landspouts may be visible only as a what?
A: A small swirl of dust on the ground.

Although the condensation funnel may not extend all the way to the ground, if associated surface winds are greater than 40 mph (64 km/h), the circulation is considered what?
A: A tornado.

A tornado with a nearly cylindrical profile and relative low height is sometimes referred to as a what?
A: A "stovepipe" tornado.

Large single-vortex tornadoes can look like large wedges stuck into the ground, and so are known as what?
A: "Wedge tornadoes" or "wedges".

A wedge can be so wide that it appears to be what?
A: A block of dark clouds, wider than the distance from the cloud base to the ground.

Tornadoes in the dissipating stage can resemble narrow tubes or what?
A: Ropes, and often curl or twist into complex shapes.

These tornadoes are said to be what?
A: “Roping out", or becoming a "rope tornado".

When they rope out, the length of their funnel does what?
A: It increases, which forces the winds within the funnel to weaken due to conservation of angular momentum.

Multiple-vortex tornadoes can appear as a family of swirls circling a common center, or they may be completely obscured by what?
A: Condensation, dust, and debris, appearing to be a single funnel.

Wedge tornadoes can have how wide of a damage path?
A: A mile (1.6 km) wide or more.

A tornado that affected Hallam, Nebraska on May 22, 2004, was how wide at the ground?
A: Up to 2.5 miles (4.0 km)., and a tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31, 2013 was approximately 2.6 miles (4.2 km) wide, the widest on record.