Size of a Tornado

Tornado sizes vary with some being very small and others over 300 km an hour. Size of a TornadoThe biggest one on record struck Oklahoma City in 1999. The tornado carried winds of up to 300 mph (484 km/h).

Other Large Tornadoes

During the Andover, Kansas Tornado Outbreak, a tornado was measured at 257-268 mph (414-431 km/h). In terms of path damage, the Tri State Tornado traveled 219 miles (352 km). It moved from Missouri to Illinois to Indiana in 3.5 hours. In terms of tornado families, the longest one occurred on May 26, 1917. The track lasted for 293 miles (or 472 km).

If the tornado size is considered by width (not necessarily the most destructive), the biggest is the Wilber – Hallam, Nebraska tornado. It measured 2.5 miles (4 km). The tornado struck on May 22, 2004.

The 1999 Mulhall tornado in Oklahoma was another large one. If the distance between winds is used as a measurement, the width would be 4 miles or 7 km. If forward speed is employed, it would be the Tri-State Tornado, which had speeds up to 73 mph (about 117 km/h).

Deadliest Tornadoes

The deadliest tornado of all time killed at least 1,300 people. It took place in Bangladesh on April 26, 1989. The dimensions of the tornado are still unknown. The deadliest tornado in the US was the Tri-State Tornado. The tornado size and power was such that 689 people were listed as officially killed.

However the unofficial death toll put it at well over 800. The tornado traveled over 219 miles (352 km/h). It is also worth noting the tornado was a single one, not a family.

The deadliest in terms of property was the St. Louis-East St. Louis Tornado. It struck on May 27, 1896. Using today’s monetary value, the damage to property was well over $3 billion. The costs of damage from other tornadoes of earlier times are harder to quantify.

Highest Fatalities from Tornadoes

It should be stated that keeping records of tornado fatalities and facts is difficult. Outside of the US, the most likely targets of tornadoes are third world countries like Bangladesh.

Because they don’t have early warning tracking systems, estimating the tornado size is hard. It is also difficult to establish if the tornado was a single one or a family.

The deadliest in terms of total death is the Daultipur and Salturia tornado in Bangladesh (1989) where 1,300 people perished. The second deadliest occurred in Madarganj to Mrizapur in Bangladesh on May 5, 1996. 700 were killed. Over 30,000 homes were destroyed.

At third is the Tri State Tornado (US). 689 people died and ten towns were destroyed. The fourth deadliest occurred in Manikganj, Singair and Nawabganj in Bangladesh on April 17, 1973. 681 people lost their lives. Over 660 peopled died when a tornado struck Dhaka in Bangladesh on April 15, 1969.

Tornado size and strength seem to be influenced by geography and the weather. As technology improves, more facts may be learned about the tornado and how it grows.

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