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Image: YouTube/earthsky102

18. Tornadoes can travel tremendous distances

A tornado lasting for more than two hours hit Chetek in Wisconsin in May 2017. Its effects were devastating, with one person killed and 25 injured. The destructive twister traveled for a mind-boggling 83 miles, the longest tornado journey seen in the state since records began in 1950. And although it’s of little comfort to those who lost their homes, it could have been far worse. Thankfully, most of the tornado’s trail passed over sparsely populated areas.

Image: NOAA Photo Library

17. The menace of multiple-vortex tornados

As if a single tornado wasn’t enough to scare the living daylights out of anyone, what about the prospect of several all at once? It’s rare, but it can happen. The harrowing event occurs when a number of twisters form inside the main tornado. Multiple vortices in a tornado can increase its wind speed by as much as 100 mph, making these twisters especially destructive.

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Image: Daphne Zaras

16. Looking into the eye of the storm

In 1928 farmer Will Keller saw three twisters approaching his homestead in Missouri. He got his family into their storm shelter, but then was apparently mesmerized by the tornados. The Kansas Historical Society records his memory. “I looked up and to my astonishment I saw right up into the heart of the tornado. There was a circular opening in the center of the funnel, about 50 to 100 feet in diameter, and extending straight upward for a distance of at least one half mile…”

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