What is a tornado?

Dateline article| David Murphy|

A tornado is a thin column of fast-moving, rotating air that touches the ground and extends into the base of a thunderstorm. The column can also be called the tornado vortex. Tornado vortexes generate extremely strong, violent winds, which are estimated to go as high as 200 to 300 miles per hour. Smaller tornadoes may only produce winds of 65 mph or less. Tornado damage can run the gamut from broken windows and damaged trees to leveled houses and locomotives knocked off their tracks.

---David Murphy

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