Weather Wise Kids: Which is stronger, a tornado or hurricane?

Jacob Vosburgh, Gould Elementary

Question:  Which is stronger, a tornado or a hurricane?

The answer is that it all depends on how you look at it!

Tornadoes and hurricanes produce some of the most violent weather conditions on Earth, often devastating everything unlucky enough to be in their paths.

Each varies in both size and strength.  Tornadoes are much smaller than hurricanes and last for seconds or minutes, while hurricanes can last for days up to weeks.

The average tornado is about 500 feet wide, roughly the same length as one and a half football fields.  You’d have to drive or fly to make the trip across the average hurricane, which can be hundreds of miles from one end to the other.

The strongest tornadoes can have winds of 200 mph and beat a weaker hurricane with winds of 74 mph, but these tornadoes are rare.  A single land falling hurricane of any strength will often cause much more widespread damage because of its much larger size.  On top of the wind, hurricanes come with other dangers like deadly surf and widespread flooding.

If a tornado touches down in our area, Jacob, the chance of your house being directly in its path is relatively low.  If a strong hurricane heads our way, we are all in it path.  The good news is Storm Team 3 will give you a big heads up on that so you’ll know when to tell your parents it’s time to leave town.


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