Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that can spawn within a couple of minutes and can wreak havoc on the landscape and local communities.
They are formed through strong winds and supercell thunderstorms, but sadly we’re unable to predict tornadoes as there are still many unknowns about how they are formed.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at a question that often comes up when discussing tornadoes. Can tornadoes be stopped?
No, currently there is no way to stop a tornado. This would be controlling the weather which we do not have the capability to do (yet).
Can Anything Be Done To Stop A Tornado?
When it comes to trying to stop a tornado in its tracks, sadly there is nothing that we humans can do when it comes to this force of nature.
There have been so many ideas to try and stop tornadoes, but many tornadoes pop up in a matter of seconds and they are incredibly difficult to predict.
Not only that, but around 80% of tornadoes are only an F0 or F1, meaning they are around 0.1 miles wide and have the same amount of energy as 300 gallons of jet fuel.
However, there are other tornadoes that can be gigantic. Typically F4 and F5 tornadoes cause much more destruction and learning how to stop these would stop devastation across many places, especially the central USA.
These types of tornadoes have around 20x the energy of the average tornado, but again they pop up very quickly and oftentimes only last for minutes.
When it comes to trying to stop a tornado, scientists believe the best way to do so is to change the wind direction of the tornado, which would disrupt the vortex and hopefully stop it in its tracks.
The bad news is that modern-day technology still has no way of doing this just yet, so for now we are still relying on weather reports and data to try to predict where they will form.
Can A Tornado Be Prevented?
Sadly we are not yet able to prevent tornadoes from forming, but there are hopes that in the near future we will have the technology or ways to do this.
Manipulating the weather is something that humanity is striving towards, as being able to stop hurricanes, tornadoes and other extreme weather could save thousands of lives.
Physicists imagine using a satellite to shoot powerful microwaves into the eye of tornadoes which in theory would heat the cooler air and cause the tornado to dissipate.
However, this would essentially be microwaving the sky, so it’s not the most bulletproof idea just yet.
Other physicists have said that building three “Great Walls” around Tornado Alley in the United States could be a way to eliminate disasters from happening.
300-meter-high and 100-mile-long walls would act as a barrier around one of the most tornado-prone areas in the US and potentially soften winds before tornadoes can form.
This is all just theoretical at the moment, but it’s something that is very much on scientists’ radar to learn how to prevent and stop tornadoes from forming.
Given that 75% of all tornadoes that happen on earth touch down in the United States, it’s certainly a priority for the US to come up with a solution as to how tornadoes can be prevented.
For now, we will have to rely on satellites and tornado warning systems to provide early alerts as to when a tornado is coming or likely to form.
What Causes A Tornado To Stop?
Tornadoes can last for a couple of seconds to a few hours depending on the size and terrain they are able to travel over.
If conditions are right, they can rage on for long periods are wreak havoc on local communities causing millions in damage.
Thankfully tornadoes do stop eventually, and it’s usually because they travel over colder ground or when the cumulonimbus clouds above them start to break up.
When the updrafts lose energy, the tornado quickly fades, and just as quickly as it appeared it can be gone and nowhere to be seen.
How Long Does A Tornado Last?
The length of time a tornado last depends on many variables, but some tornadoes can last only a couple of seconds whilst strong tornadoes can last for hours.
Strong tornadoes last for 20 minutes or more and often have wind speeds of 200mph alongside them, whilst more violent tornadoes can have 300mph winds and last for more than an hour.
Tornadoes need instability and rotation to survive, so when conditions are right and the landscape allows, these vortexes can thrive.
But take away its moisture, disrupt the airflow, or destroy the tornado’s unstable balance of hot and cold air and it will be stopped in its tracks.
On March 18th, 1925, a violent tornado traveled 352km through the US states of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.
It killed 625 people which is more than any other tornado in history and it also lasted 3.5 hours, also longer than any other tornado in history.
Can Sound Waves Stop A Tornado?
Sound waves may be able to stop tornadoes if scientists can find an effective way of using them to dispute a tornado.
Scientists have long pondered how to stop tornadoes and if it is at all possible.
One theory is through sound resonance and natural resonant frequency stop tornadoes in their tracks before they can cause destruction.
All objects have a natural frequency or group of frequencies at which they like to vibrate, with some vibrating at a single frequency and others having many “modes” of vibration.
So how can this potentially stop a tornado?
Well, it’s assumed that a cluster of warm air over land or the ocean is an object, just like a large piece of glass.
As all objects do, this means it has a frequency of vibration. If we sing a song at the same frequency as glass, it will begin to vibrate.
If we were to play this song loud enough, the glass would break. This means that the resonance of the object can vibrate an object when another object nearby is vibrated.
This is the fundamental concept that in theory may be able to stop a tornado or even a hurricane from forming.
Scientists just need to find a way to blast these sound waves at a tornado in order to test the theory, which is much harder than you might think.
The good news is that technology and machinery are advancing at a rapid rate, and stopping tornadoes is high on the agenda of the United States.
Hopefully in the near future scientists can find a way to test this theory and measure the impact that sending sound waves at a tornado has.
Can tornadoes be stopped? No, not at the moment. There is no known way to stop a tornado, but scientists are working on multiple methods and theories that they suspect may be able to do so.
Tornadoes can form in an instant, and even predicting tornadoes can be difficult with enough warning so that residents can evacuate if need be.
They form, then disappear all in the space of 60 minutes or less in most cases. This makes it difficult to be positioned in the right place to stop a tornado, even if we did have the means to.
For the time being, we are relying on satellites, weather balloons, and other instruments to predict large-scale tornadoes to give people enough warning.
One day in the near future hopefully we can find a way of stopping tornadoes altogether, saving many lives each year and also millions of dollars worth of damages.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this post and have learned something new today about why tornadoes can not currently be stopped.
Feel free to stick around to learn more about tornadoes and the many other types of extreme weather we discuss here.
Hey, I’m Sam – the founder of GustyPlanet. I’ve had a fascination with all things weather for as long as I can remember. I witnessed my first tornado at the age of 6, and since then became an avid storm chaser that is hooked on learning as much as I can about extreme weather. This blog was created to share my knowledge and to expand and delve deeper into the wonderful world of weather phenomena. I hope you enjoy your stay here and thanks for visiting.