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Which is more powerful/deadly, a hurricane or a tornado given the same wind speed and precipitation? Also which one produces faster (max) winds?

asked Aug 09 '10 at 05:47

Lestat611's gravatar image


edited Aug 09 '10 at 05:49

Tornadoes are measured in the Fujita Scale. Tornadoes generally have stronger winds but do not last nearly as long or cover as wide of an area as hurricanes do.

F0 Gale tornado 40-72 mph - Some damage to chimneys; breaks branches off trees; pushes over shallow-rooted trees; damages sign boards.

F1 Moderate tornado 73-112 mph - The lower limit is the beginning of hurricane wind speed; peels surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos pushed off the roads; attached garages may be destroyed.

F2 Significant tornado 113-157 mph - Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars pushed over; large trees snapped or uprooted; light object missiles generated.

F3 Severe tornado 158-206 mph - Roof and some walls torn off well constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in fores uprooted

F4 Devastating tornado 207-260 mph - Well-constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown off some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.

F5 Incredible tornado 261-318 mph - Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances to disintegrate; automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters; trees debarked; steel re-inforced concrete structures badly damaged.

answered Aug 09 '10 at 10:57

tyler785's gravatar image


I was hit by an F5 one...it wasnt very fun

(Aug 13 '10 at 17:29) SJP SJP's gravatar image

Hurricanes are much worse in general because they cover more area and last longer. But tornadoes are really bad too, but they are smaller and don't last as long.

answered Aug 09 '10 at 09:26

Liam%20Quade's gravatar image

Liam Quade

Hurricanes have a wind speed range of 74 - 156 mph. Tornados have speeds around 112 mph. There is not always signs that a tornado will form, but hurricanes start as tropical storms.

answered Aug 09 '10 at 10:48

EDM9313's gravatar image


I really liked tyler785's answer.

I also liked the following answer which I found on Yahoo answers by MarkyP00:

"'Which is heavier? A pound of coal or a pound of feathers?"

The answer, of course, is that they both weigh the same one pound. But you'd certainly prefer the feathers to be dropped on your foot than the coal.

The reason is "density" the coal is more dense than the feathers.

The same goes for the hurricane-tornado question. The tornado is a compact spiral of wind. Because it is so compact, it can cause serious damage, but to a small area.

The hurricane, however, is spread out over hundreds of miles and may last for weeks. The amount of ENERGY in a hurricane can far exceed that of a tornado.

So to answer the question, you have to qualify if you are talking about instant strength at one spot or total strength over the course of the event.

My vote, for overall strength, is the hurricane."

I also though that the answer I found on WikiAnswers was really good.

answered Aug 13 '10 at 17:22

Lestat611's gravatar image


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Asked: Aug 09 '10 at 05:47

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Last updated: Aug 13 '10 at 17:29