Although tornado data collection has significantly improved in recent years, there is still a lot to learn. Unless they are picking up moisture and debris, these twisters are just forceful wind pockets. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains that despite their elusiveness, tornadoes are the most violent kind of atmospheric storm.
While they might be dangerous, tornadoes are often transient. According to NOAA, twisters normally last less than ten minutes. That might only add to the mystery -- people can get a better sense of when a tornado might hit thanks to warnings and watches, but scientists still have difficulty predicting them.
Watching a sky full of clouds shape into a funnel might just be one of the most terrifying scenes to behold. Imagine being in the middle of a news report, or even sitting at your high school graduation, and seeing a cyclone forming just a few feet away!
Here are some terrifying tornado formations caught on camera. Do you have any crazy tornado stories? Let us know in the comments below.
**WARNING: SOME VIDEOS CONTAIN GRAPHIC LANGUAGE**