Ask the Editors: Tornadoes

Updated July 24, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The Question:

Do tornadoes only happen in North America?

The Answer:

Tornadoes can form anywhere in the world, but they occur most frequently in North America. On average there are roughly 800 reported tornadoes in the United States each year.

Tornadoes can go by the name of "twister" or "cyclone" in other parts of the world. And they are called "waterspouts" when they form over water. One interesting difference about the winds of a tornado around the world is that they whirl in a counterclockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

For more information about tornadoes check out our tornado feature.

-The Editors

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