March 2, 2007—The deaths of at least 20 people this week in Georgia and Alabama have served as a tragic reminder that devastating tornadoes can strike anytime and anywhere.
But whatever the season, the United States is no stranger to the violent columns of twisting air. At around 800 strikes annually, the U.S. is battered by more twisters than any other country in the world. Every year U.S. tornadoes—which can reach wind speeds of more than 300 miles (480 kilometers) an hour—kill about 90 people and cause millions of dollars in damage.
Learn how and why twisters form, and meet the fearless researchers who drive toward—not away—from towering funnel clouds to help come up with a way to forecast where and when they will strike next.