12 Whirling Facts About Tornadoes
My latest piece of public writing, “12 Whirling Facts About Tornadoes,” is now up at Mental Floss. Very excited to be contributing to the great science communication at one of my favorite outlets. The artilce is my first published piece to emerge out of my research for my upcoming book Science of the South.
Often spinning at speeds over 100 miles per hour (and in extreme cases over 300 miles per hour), a tornado is a violently rotating column of air in contact with the Earth and the clouds that can cause considerable destruction. The very large and very powerful Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado of 2011 lofted a 36-ton empty coal hopper rail car almost 400 feet. The equally impressive Hackleburg tornado of the same day carried jeans from a damaged denim factory more than 40 miles. Here are 12 facts about these dangerous whirlwinds.