Question

What is the average length and width of the path of a tornado?

Tornado paths tend to be a quarter of a mile wide and rarely more than 16 miles long. One of the longest tornado paths stretched 293 miles across Illinois and Indiana. This tornado, which occurred on May 26, 1917, moved at a speed of 40 miles an hour and traveled for 7 hours, 20 minutes.

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What is the world's longest railway?

The Trans-Siberian Railway, from Moscow to Vladivostok, is 5,777 miles long. In the United States, we have 1,780 miles of continuous track, completed in 1869 when the Central Pacific Railroad built east from Sacramento, California, and the Union Pacific Railroad met at Promontory Point, Utah.

Are waterspouts miniature tornadoes, and can they cause as much damage?

A waterspout is a tornado that occurs at sea or over inland water. The funnel-shaped column is formed at the base of a cumulus-type cloud and extends down to the water's surface, where it picks up spray. Waterspouts are most common in tropical regions, but they are not uncommon at higher latitudes. They may cause minor damage, but this damage cannot compare with that of a tornado.

What is the single largest biological cell found in nature?

Among the largest is the egg yolk of an ostrich, which is about 3 inches (8 centimeters) in diameter. The smallest cells are bacteria-like mycoplasmas, which can be as small as 0.00004 inch (0.1 micrometer) in diameter.

Is there such a thing as a glowworm? I found what appeared to be a firefly in my garden. When I picked it up, I found that it was a wormlike creature with a white bottom and the ability to "light up" just like a firefly. Also, what is the extent of the firefly season here in Vermont, and what are the determining factors in the number of fireflies seen around a yard?

Glowworms are firefly larvae. The wingless females of some species are also known as glowworms. The larval form lasts for about two years, during which time the larvae feed on snails and slugs (so don't get rid of them). We don't know the extent of the firefly season in Vermont, but as for determining factors, warm, humid conditions are best. Sue Hardwick of the Sigma Firefly Scientists Club says, "Can't be too hot, can't be too cold, can't have too much rain, can't have too little. They're kind of fragile."

Birds have nested inside my fireplace chimney, and a number of babies have hatched. Will they be able to fly up out of the chimney when they are old enough, or should I attempt a rescue operation? I plan to remedy the situation before next summer.

Well, they may be confused robins, but more likely they're chimney swallows, otherwise known as swifts. They get their name from their nesting habits, and we're sure those babies are programmed to take flight when ready.

What is a gandy dancer?

Some railroad workers of the past were called this because of tools they used made by the Gandy Manufacturing Company of Chicago.

The seats of my cane chairs are getting really dirty. What's the best way to clean them?

Just wash them with hot water and dishwashing liquid, then rinse and let dry.

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