How far can a tornado lift and carry items?

The furthest distance a one-pound object can be carried is about 100 miles (161 kilometers). In the Great Bend, Kansas, tornado of November 10, 1915, debris from the town was carried 80 miles (128 kilometers). This included receipts, checks, photographs, money, clothing, shingles, and pages of books, which fell on almost every farm north and west of Glasco, 80 miles to the northeast. After passing through the town, the tornado went through Cheyenne Bottoms, and 45,000 migrating ducks fell from the sky 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of the end of the tornado path. And after the Worcester, Massachusetts tornado of 1953, chunks of soggy, frozen mattress fell into Boston Harbor, 50 miles (80 kilometers) to the east of where the mattress was picked up.


The United States is hit with more tornadoes than any other country. They are particularly bad in the Central Plains states, such as Oklahoma and Kansas. (NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory)


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