The United States is home to the highest number of tornadoes each year in the world with an average of 1,200 occurring each year. Knowing the difference between these can help you in an emergency.
Tornado Watch - Issued by the National Weather Service when atmospheric conditions promote the formation of tornadoes.
Tornado Warning - Issued when Doppler radar detects a mesocyclone in a thunderstorm, or when a funnel cloud has been spotted.
Tornado Emergency - Enhanced wording in a tornado warning indicating a large tornado is moving into a heavily populated area. Significant widespread damage and numerous fatalities are likely.
Enhanced Fujita Scale – Is used to estimate the wind speed of a tornado by the damage a tornado causes. EF0 is the weakest point on the Enhanced Fujita Scale and EF5 is the strongest. An EF5 tornado can tear a house off its foundation.
Top 10 List of Tornadoes by casualties:
1. The "Tri-State Tornado" killed 695 people and injured 2,027, traveling more than 300 miles through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana on March 18, 1925. It was rated an F5 at the top of the old Fujita scale (with winds of 260-plus mph).
2. The "Natchez Tornado" killed 317 people and injured 109 on May 6, 1840, along the Mississippi River in Louisiana and Mississippi.
3. The "St. Louis Tornado" killed 255 people and injured 1,000 on May 27, 1896, in Missouri and Illinois. It had winds of between 207 mph and 260 mph.
4. The "Tupelo Tornado" killed 216 people and injured 700 on April 5, 1936, in the northeastern Mississippi city.
5. The "Gainesville Tornado" was a pair of storms that converged April 6, 1936, in Gainesville, Georgia, killing 203 people and injuring 1,600. The tornado destroyed four blocks and 750 houses in the northern Georgia town.
6. The "Woodward Tornado" wreaked havoc across parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas on April 9, 1947. The storm, which killed 181 people and injured 970, reportedly was more than a mile wide in places.
7. The tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, 2011, killed 158 people and injured more than a thousand. The storm packed winds in excess of 200 mph and was on the ground for more than 22 miles.
8. The "Amite/Pine/Purvis Tornado" killed 143 people and injured 770 on April 24, 1908. The storm left only seven houses intact in Purvis, Mississippi, and also caused damage in Amite, Louisiana.
9. The "New Richmond Tornado" killed 117 people and injured 200 on June 12, 1899, in New Richmond, Wisconsin.
10. The "Flint Tornado" killed 115 people and injured 844 on June 8, 1953, in Flint, Michigan. The tornado was the deadliest twister ever recorded in the state.
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