Did you know that tornadoes are nature’s strongest storms (estimated by radar in a 1999 Oklahoma tornado at around 300 mph), and that there are many more tornadoes in the United States than in other countries? Because of the awesome damage they can cause and the broad geographic area they can affect, many organizations continue to pursue scientific studies of this weather phenomenon.

To remind our visitors of the importance of these storms, NCAR has a tornado on display, another exhibit from the Exploratorium Museum. In our Visitor Center, visitors can safely stand beside 8-ft-tall swirling winds—in this case composed of steam—as the winds repeatedly whirl into the flow pattern typical of tornadoes, called a vortex.

To read the text of the Tornado Information Sheet, click on http://www.ucar.edu/communications/factsheets/. To read the text of the Tornado Education Activity Sheet (prepared for students and their parents or teachers), click on XXX.

To learn more about the division at NCAR that studies tornadoes, the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division (MMM), check out http://www.ncar.ucar.edu/ncar/mmm.html.

To read about the largest multi-institutional tornado field project undertaken to date—in 1994 and 1995 in Texas and Oklahoma—go to http://www.ofps.ucar.edu/data/vortex_95/html/vtx_summary.html.