How Long Does A Tornado Last?

How Long Does A Tornado Last?

Tornado is the rotating column of air, having a contact in both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud. Tornadoes, as described by most people, are a really dangerous nature’s act because it can destroy your lightweight houses and even cars. So, when you see a crashing tornado, it is better to stay away from it as soon as possible.

How long does a tornado last? Tornadoes last from seconds to more than an hour, according to some scientists. But most tornadoes last in less than 10 minutes. And an EF scale is the standard way to measure tornadoes.

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In this article, we will also tackle how tornadoes are formed, their characteristics, and how supercell thunderstorms can produce it. 

Tornadoes Are Dangerous

Tornadoes may last for only 10 minutes, but still, the danger it brings isn’t measurable. In this specific time, many could happen already. Like your car might be dragged into its eyes, roof, trees, walls, and anything lightweight.

There also reports that tornadoes can drag some heaviest objects too, but for short distances only.

Note that the average tornadoes traveled is about 3 – ½ miles. The biggest known tornadoes to hit the United States were in May 2004 that recorded nearly two and a half miles.

It was recorded by Brian Smith of NWS Omaha that specifically hit the Hallam Nebraska. He says that it’s close to the maximum size for tornadoes, but it’s possibly larger.

Causes Of Tornadoes

The most violent tornadoes they say comes from the supercell, and large thunderstorms have winds in rotation. About one in five or six supercells spawns off a tornado.

Tornadoes scientists say that it can happen at any time of the year, but the most common is during a distinct season. Which begins in early spring in the states along the Gulf Of Mexico.

Researchers also say that though tornadoes can happen any time, it is being formed in the late afternoon. It’s because the sun has heated the ground and that it has enough atmosphere to produce thunderstorms.

It is formed when there is a warm, humid air that collides with cold and dry air.

When the water droplets from the mesocyclone’s moist air form a funnel cloud, it continues to grow. Then descents from the cloud, and when it reaches the ground, that’s when a tornado is formed.

Characteristics Of Tornadoes

Severe thunderstorms and high winds accompany twisters, the hail is also common. Tornadoes, when hit the ground, may live there for a few seconds or may last up to three hours, according to the researchers.

The average twisters have 660 feet wide and can move about 30 miles in an hour. Most don’t travel at more than size miles before dying out.

Supercell Thunderstorms Can Produce Tornadoes

A supercell is an organized thunderstorm that has a strong and a rotating updraft. This rotation helps produce some weather events like large hail, strong downbursts, and a tornado.

A supercell is formed in isolated other thunderstorms, and then it allows the storm more energy and moisture. These storms may be rare, but remember that it’s a threat to our lives and properties.


In general, though there are researchers that say tornadoes can last not less than 10 minutes only, it might last up to an hour. Tornadoes are a dangerous act of whether that comes from the supercell thunderstorms.

That an average tornado can travel at about 3- ½ miles, which means it’s fast. Remember that though a tornado can happen at any time, it is formed in the late afternoon.