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What Does the Inside of a Tornado Look Like?

What Does the Inside of a Tornado Look Like?

What does the inside of a tornado look like? Tornadoes are some of the most destructive and deadly weather phenomena on Earth. They can cause massive damage in a very short time, and often take lives. But what exactly is a tornado, and what goes on inside one? In this comprehensive guide, we will answer all of your questions about tornadoes! We’ll discuss what they are, how they form, what happens inside them, and more! Stay safe out there!

The Nature of Tornadoes

Tornadoes are one of the most destructive and unpredictable natural disasters. They can occur anywhere in the world, but they are most common in the United States. Each year, there are an average of 1200 tornadoes in the US alone.

Tornadoes are caused by a number of factors, including warm, moist air colliding with cold, dry air. This creates an instability in the atmosphere that can lead to a sudden release of energy in the form of a tornado. Tornadoes can also be caused by changes in barometric pressure or topography.

The Nature of Tornadoes

Most tornadoes form from thunderstorms. You need warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cool, dry air from Canada. When these two air masses meet, they create instability in the atmosphere. This instability is what can lead to the development of severe weather conditions like tornadoes.

Usually tornadoes occur during the spring and summer months when conditions are more favorable for severe thunderstorms. However, tornadoes can occur at any time of year and any time of day.

While tornadoes can appear anywhere, they are most common in the Midwest and Southeast regions of the United States. This is because these areas are more prone to severe thunderstorms, which is one of the main conditions needed for a tornado to form. [1], [2], [3]

Structure of a Tornado

The structure of a tornado is fairly simple. It consists of a column of rotating air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm cloud all the way down to the ground. This column of air can be up to several miles wide and can reach speeds of over 300 mph.

Tornadoes can last for minutes or even hours, depending on the strength of the thunderstorm that spawned it. The most powerful tornadoes can cause extensive damage, leveling homes and businesses and causing widespread power outages.

In addition to being destructive, tornadoes are also very dangerous. They can easily kill or injure people who are caught in them. Tornadoes often strike with little warning, so it is important to be aware of the conditions that could lead to one forming. [1], [2], [3]

Different Categories of Tornadoes

Tornadoes can vary greatly in size and strength. Tornadoes are classificated with the help of  Enhanced Fujita Scale, from EF0 to EF5 rating. The vast majority of tornadoes are what are known as “weak” tornadoes, with winds less than 110 mph, they belong to EF0 and EF1 categories of the scale. These tornadoes typically cause only minor damage, such as downed trees and power lines. However, even weak tornadoes can be deadly if they strike populated areas or if they occur at night when people are asleep and unable to take shelter.

Different Categories of Tornadoes

Approximately ten percent of all tornadoes are classified as “strong”, with winds between 111 and 165 mph, they occupy EF2-EF3 ratings. These tornadoes can cause significant damage, including overturning vehicles, structural damage to buildings, and uprooting trees. Strong tornadoes can also cause fatalities, particularly if they strike urban areas.

The strongest tornadoes, known as “violent” tornadoes, make up less than one percent of all tornadoes but account for the majority of tornado-related deaths. Violent tornadoes have wind speeds greater than 166 mph and can cause catastrophic damage, such as leveling entire neighborhoods. These storms are often referred to as “twisters” or “cyclones”. Strong tornadoes belong to the highest rankings in EFS, EF4 and EF5.

While most people think of a tornado as a large funnel of wind, the reality is that tornadoes can take on a variety of different shapes and sizes. They can be divided into supercell and non-supercell tornadoes.

The most common type of tornado is the supercell tornado. Supercell storms are large, rotating thunderstorms that can be up to several miles wide. These storms usually form in areas where there is a lot of wind shear, which is when winds at different levels of the atmosphere are blowing in opposite directions. Wind shear helps to spin the storm updraft faster, and this spinning can eventually lead to a tornado forming inside the storm.

Non-supercell storms are much less common but can still produce tornadoes. These storms typically form in areas where there is less wind shear, such as along cold fronts. Non-supercell storms are usually smaller and weaker than supercell storms, and they typically only produce one tornado instead of the multiple tornadoes that can be spawned by a supercell storm.

One type of supercell tornado is the “multiple vortex” tornado, which consists of two or more rotating columns of air that are connected by a narrow, rotating column of air.

Another common type of this tornado variant, is the “single vortex” tornado, which consists of a single rotating column of air. These tornadoes are typically smaller and weaker than multiple vortex tornadoes. However, single vortex tornadoes can still cause significant damage if they strike urban areas.

Non-supercell tornadoes can also occur in the form of a “waterspout”, which is a tornado that forms over water. Waterspouts are typically much weaker than other types of tornadoes, with wind speed of less than 60 mph. However, they can still be dangerous if they come ashore and strike populated areas.

No matter what type of tornado it is, all tornadoes share one common characteristic: they are extremely destructive and can cause serious injury or death. That is why it is so important to take shelter immediately if a tornado warning is issued for your area. [4], [5], [6], [7]

So What Does It Look Like From the Inside?

Tornadoes are extremely chaotic and dangerous storms, and being caught in one is an incredibly frightening experience. If you are close to the center, you will see a rotating wall of debris and dirt. If you are further away from the center, you will see a rotating column of air that may look like a wall of clouds, and some people even reported seeing lighting among these walls. Tornadoes can be transparent, so you may be able to see through them.

So What Does It Look Like From the Inside?

Dense Air and Smell

The inside of a tornado is also filled with dense air and high winds. The speed of the wind current in a tornado can reach up to 300 mph, which is enough to lift cars and trucks off the ground and hurl them through the air. The pressure inside a tornado center is also much lower than the pressure of its outer edges, which can cause buildings to collapse.

The inside of a tornado can also be very dark, due to all the debris that gets sucked up into the storm. This debris can include everything from tree branches and power lines to pieces of houses and even people.

All this debris gets whipped around by the high winds inside the tornado, making it incredibly dangerous for anyone who is caught in the storm.


Another characteristic of tornadoes is the sound they make. Tornadoes are often described as sounding like a freight train, and that is because the high winds inside the storm can reach speeds of up to 300 mph. And that’s only outside of it, inside the tornado the sound can be so loud that it can actually damage your hearing.

All this makes for a very dangerous and chaotic environment, which is why it is so important to take shelter immediately if a tornado warning is issued for your area. [2], [3], [8]

Can You Survive Inside a Tornado?

The answer to this question is maybe. While it is possible to survive inside a tornado, it is also very dangerous and not something that you should count on. If a tornado is approaching, the best thing to do is to take shelter immediately and wait for the storm to pass.

Trying to outrun a tornado is not a good idea, as the high winds can easily knock you down or blow you away. And driving into a tornado is also not advised, as the debris flying around inside the storm can easily damage or destroy your vehicle.

Of course there have been survivor stories of people who have been caught inside a tornado and lived to tell the tale. But unfortunately the odds are not in your favor if you find yourself in the middle of one of these storms. [3], [9]


Can you breathe inside a tornado?

The air inside a tornado is often very humid. If the humidity is high enough, it can make it difficult to breathe. The air pressure inside a tornado can also make it difficult to breathe.

What happens if you get inside a tornado?

The experience of being inside a tornado is unlike anything else. It is incredibly loud, and the wind can reach speeds of up to 300 miles per hour. Objects can be thrown around with great force, and the tornado can cause significant damage to buildings and other structures.

Can a tornado pick up a human?

While it is possible for a tornado to pick up a human, it is not common. Tornadoes can, however, pick up small animals and debris.

Useful Video: Here’s what it looks like INSIDE a tornado


Tornadoes are one of the most feared natural disasters in America. They can cause a lot of damage and kill many people. But what does the inside of a tornado look like? Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty loud inside one, and the air is dense. Inside it, you will see a rotating column of air, with a rotating column of debris that the tornado has picked up near the center. The odds of surviving inside a tornado are low, so it’s important to prepare for the danger of tornadoes in advance.


  1. https://www.foxweather.com/learn/average-number-tornadoes-every-state
  2. https://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/eye-of-tornado.htm
  3. https://wxresearch.org/what-happens-if-a-tornado-picks-you-up/
  4. https://www.britannica.com/science/tornado/Tornado-intensity
  5. https://www.weather.gov/mkx/taw-tornado_classification_safety
  6. https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/tornadoes/types/
  7. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/waterspout/
  8. https://www.newsweek.com/resurfaced-video-shows-you-exactly-what-its-like-inside-tornado-1524878
  9. https://www.al.com/news/2015/04/tornado_myths_whats_real_whats.html