can a tornado pick up a train

Can a tornado pick up a train?

Depending on how powerful the tornadoes are, in this blog, we will study if tornadoes may pick up trains and how to avoid damage during tornadoes. 

Most tornadoes will have little effect on the train (F0, F2, and F3). Strong tornadoes (F4 and F5) may derail and overturn most trains, perhaps rolling them a considerable distance along the ground, but they will not pick up or transport them.

Keep reading!

Can a Tornado Pick Up a Train?


A tornado is a furiously spinning column of air that falls from a thunderstorm to the ground. It forms when warm, humid air collides with cold, dry air, and tornadoes emerge.

Thunderstorms form when cooler, denser air is driven over warmer air.

Warm air rises through colder air, creating an updraft. Changing wind speed or direction spins the updraft.

A greenish sky generally portends dark storm clouds. Hail may drop baseballs. A funnel appears as though from the sky. 

A freight train approaches as the funnel collapses. Tornado destroys everything in its path.

However, tornado intensity, or how severe a tornado is, determines whether it can pick up a train or not.

These factors are discussed more below:

1. The Speed Of The Wind

speed of wind

The ability to pick up a train is determined by the relationship between the vortex’s wind speed and the difference in atmospheric pressure between the tornado and the surrounding air. 

Greater wind speed combined with a huge differential in air pressure leads to greater damage magnitude. 

Strong winds may pick up and transport smaller, more mobile things and knock down smaller buildings. 

The lower pressure inside the tornado causes havoc on bigger buildings by producing a pressure difference between the structure’s outside and interior. 

Air pressure extremes rip roofs off buildings and smash walls. 

2. Duration

duration of tornado

The length of a tornado determines whether it can take up a train. 

Tornado duration is directly proportional to intensity, with more severe tornadoes lasting longer.

A tornado can take up a train in around 15 minutes on average. 

However, this estimate is deceiving since uncommon, but long-lived powerful tornadoes significantly weigh the average. 

Most tornadoes are short-lived, lasting approximately two to three minutes on average. 

Strong tornadoes have an average duration of around 8 minutes, whereas severe occurrences have an average lifetime of about 25 minutes. 

This can potentially destroy the train, forcing it to topple. In extreme situations, violent occurrences may endure for more than three hours.

 3. The Type of Tornado

tornado type

Tornadoes are categorized based on their wind speed and potential for devastation.

The following are the tornado classes:

Level EF-0 Tornadoes

Wind speeds in an EF-0 tornado range from 65 to 85 miles per hour

This tornado cannot take up a train, but it may cause some roofing material, gutters, and vinyl siding to be lost in a traditional home of less than 5,000 square feet. 

The one-piece metal roofing on mobile houses will experience elevation. EF-0 tornadoes will do minimal damage to apartment structures.

Level EF-1 Tornadoes

Wind speeds in an EF-1 tornado range from 86 to 110 miles per hour

This tornado cannot take out a train, but it may cause damaged windows, major loss of roofing materials, lifting of the roof deck, and the collapse of chimneys and garage doors.

Although mobile homes will stay intact, they will slip off their foundations and tumble or turn over

At the extremes of an EF-1 tornado, a mobile home’s roof and walls may be destroyed. The loss of roofing material will be modest in apartment complexes.

damage from tornado

Level EF-2 Tornadoes

Tornadoes with an EF-2 rating have wind speeds that range between 111 and 135 miles per hour. 

These tornadoes are not strong enough to take a train, but they may cause a standard house to move on its foundation and tear off significant portions of its roof. 

It is planned to demolish mobile homes in their entirety. The roof decks of apartment buildings will be lifted, and the structures will lose a large amount of roofing material.

Level EF-3 Tornadoes

Tornadoes with an EF-3 rating generate wind speeds ranging from 136 to 165 miles per hour. 

These tornadoes cannot pick up a train, but the majority of walls in a standard house will collapse, with the exception of a few minor internal walls. 

A powerful EF-3 tornado will force most of the walls on the top level of apartment buildings, resulting in the collapse of the roof structures of apartment buildings.


Level EF-4 Tornadoes

Tornadoes with an EF-4 rating generate wind speeds ranging from 166 to 200 miles per hour. 

A train cannot be lifted by it, but it may bring about a train derailment.

The force of these winds will also cause the collapse of every wall in a conventional home. 

Apartment buildings will have the top two stories of their structures destroyed.

Level EF-5 Tornadoes

Tornadoes with an EF-5 rating have wind speeds that are more than 320 kilometers per hour. 

It can take up the train, but it also has the potential to derail and flip most trains.

Traditional house slabs will be wiped clean, but apartment complexes will be demolished in their entirety.

How to Reduce Tornado Damage

reduce tornado damage

You should be prepared if you live in an area where tornadoes are prevalent.

The majority of tornado damage is caused by high winds or hail. 

You may prepare for tornado season in advance by doing the following:

Landscape Management

When the wind picks up, trees and stones may inflict substantial damage. 

Replace gravel ground cover with mulch to minimize excessive damage, maintain trees trimmed, and remove any dead or decaying limbs.

The Construction of a Storm Cellar

Construct a storm cellar according to the standards set by the National Safety Shelter Association (NSSA), if at all possible.

Utilizing Materials That Are Resistant To Tornadoes 

When renovating, it is important to choose materials that can endure strong winds. 

You may also fortify other areas of your house with materials that can withstand the effects of a tornado.

Cloud Storage

Putting one’s data in a storage system that operates on the cloud. Suppose you have essential information saved on your computer. 

In that case, you should think about transferring the data to the cloud so that you may continue to access the contents even if your technology is destroyed.

Taking a house inventory is a good idea: Finish or bring your home’s inventory up to date. Be careful to include all your precious items.

Take a look at and make any necessary changes to your insurance coverage:  Examine your insurance plan and discuss any new provisions with your representative (as necessary).

FAQs About Tornadoes

Do you have any other questions about can a tornado pick up a locomotive?

The following are a few examples of additional questions that are often asked:

1. Can You Survive a Tornado in a Car?

When trapped in a tornado in a vehicle, there are no safe options, just somewhat less-dangerous ones. 

If the tornado is visible and far away, you may be able to avoid it by driving at right angles to it. If possible, seek shelter underground.

2. Has a Vehicle Ever Been Taken Up by a Tornado?

A tornado can pick up an automobile, but the degree of damage it does depends on the kind of car and the tornado’s power. 

Tornadoes are often categorized based on the intensity of their winds, which range from 0 to 5: Winds of 40-72 mph. Winds of 73-112 mph in F1.

Final Verdict

Can a tornado pick up a train? There is a low probability that tornadoes will cause severe damage to a train (F0 or F1). 

Even while severe tornadoes (F2 and F3) can derail and maybe overturn most trains, they cannot lift them or move them to any other site. 

Thanks for reading!