Difference Between Twister and Tornado

Twister vs Tornado

Tornados are rotating columns of air that are very devastating. These are violent columns of air as they uproot structures in their wake and cause loss of life and property. The winds in this weather system can obtain speeds in excess of hundred miles per hour to cause heavy damage at all places where this column of air moves. There is another term twister that is very commonly used in the country that confuses many people as it refers to the same moving column of wind. This article takes a closer look at these two words to find out if there is any difference between the two weather phenomenons, or they are one and the same.


If you live inside US between the Rockies and Appalachian Mountains, you know how violent and destructive a tornado can be. A tornado is a moving column of air that starts from the earth and goes up to a cloud. Imagine this rotating column of air moving violently from one place to another with associated winds picking up speeds in the vicinity of 200 mph. US happens to be the worst affected country through tornados though technically they can occur anywhere under favorable atmospheric and weather conditions. You can assume it as a funnel with the narrow end touching the ground with the wide end connects with clouds in the skies. In between it contains lots of debris and dust and uproots all structures that come in the path of its movement. Though most tornados have an average wind speed of around 100mph, those that are violent can attain speeds of nearly 200mph. The worst tornados have been recorded having speeds of nearly 300mph. Tornados can rip apart buildings and cars in their wake as if they are toys. Nearly all tornados result from thunderstorms.


Twister is a slang term that is used by people to refer to tornados. The reason why a tornado is called a twister is because of the rotating or twisting winds inside a tornado.

Twister vs Tornado

• A tornado and a twister are one and the same thing.

• Some people call a tornado twister because of the twisting winds that make it up.

• Rotating thunderstorms are called tornados or twisters.

• Tornados are weather systems that can be very destructive with very high wind speeds.