Ever since Dorothy rode a twister to the wonderful world of Oz, scientists have been trying to figure out if such a feat is possible.
OK, maybe not.
Still, we couldn't help but wonder: What objects can go airborne in the winds of a real life twister? The answer seems to be: pretty much anything. So head to a safe crawl space and scroll through to find out some of the craziest things to be blown into the air during a storm.
A twister with winds of up to 135 mph did some serious damage in Dallas, Texas, on April 3, 2012. Shocking video went viral of the terrifying tornado lifting 18-wheelers hundreds of feet into the air. Weather experts say it was an anomaly: Vehicles -- especially ones that size -- rarely go airborne in a storm. Amazingly, no one was injured.
A school bus driver became a hero in March 2012 when she outraced a funnel cloud to get the 11 children aboard her bus to safety. Minutes after she ushered everyone off the bus and indoors in Henryville, Ind., the twister's 175 mph winds lifted the 36,000-pound bus off the ground, hurling it across the street and into a diner. The driver's quick thinking saved the day. Coincidentally -- or maybe not -- the driver’s name is Angel.
A Kite Surfer
A thrill-seeking kite surfer by the name of Billy Parker braved the winds of Tropical Storm Debby in June to hit the surf at Redington Beach, Fla. Thanks to the gale-force winds, Parker got enough air to jump the pier several times. His girlfriend (who, for the record, was not named Gail Forcewinds) caught it all on an iPhone and put the footage on YouTube – because what's the point of doing something that unbelievable if you can't put it on YouTube, right?
Planes are pretty used to flying, so that's good. The bad news is that there's usually a pilot in charge -- not just freaky 70-plus mph winds. Such winds lifted a parked Boeing 747 off the ground in Mojave, Calif., on May 23, 2012. The engines of the old Southern Air plane had been removed, so the front was a tad lighter than normal, allowing the nose to go due north. Some might see this and think of it as one last hurrah for the old plane, while others might just totally freak out.
In 18 short minutes in January 2008, a twister with winds of up to 165 mph injured five people, leveled buildings and uprooted trees in northern Illinois. It was surprisingly early in the year for a tornado that strong to form; such powerful twisters usually develop in May. Perhaps the most surprised of anyone was the driver of a freight train chugging along near Harvard, Ill. The tornado's winds lifted the middle train cars right off the tracks. The conductor wasn't able to pick it up, pick it up, pick it up, as Fatman Scoop would suggest, and once partially derailed, the back of the locomotive (including a tanker of highly flammable ethylene oxide) went crashing into what was left of the front of the train. Incredibly, no one aboard the train was injured.
A college student lived to tell the tale after he saw "the whole house lift off from above us" during a powerful twister. Adam Melton was a student at the University of Alabama in April 2011 when a tornado devastated the Tuscaloosa area. He told Piers Morgan that he and a handful of others had hidden in a crawl space. Once the house was carried away by the tornado's winds, a Jeep Cherokee flew over Melton and grazed his head and shoulder. He was lucky enough to walk away uninjured, but the storm killed 65 others and injured 1,500 more.
The photo at left shows the devastation in Tuscaloosa.
In September 2010, 7-month-old Brandon Emiliano was asleep in his crib in Tamaulipas, Mexico, when a tornado with winds of 70 mph tore through his family’s home. The winds lifted the baby in the air and carried him (along with the roof of the home) more than 160 feet. The child was found by neighbors miraculously unhurt. He's since been dubbed "the flying baby" and may just turn out to be Superman.
It was a very rainy day in Montreal in July 2011 when one man lost a bet with Mother Nature -- and she broke the knees of his Ford Focus (metaphorically speaking, of course). The storm flooded the city's sewers, and the Ford just happened to be parked above a manhole. When the manhole exploded with water, it shot the car six feet into the air. That's some bad luck, although the car didn't seem to be in the best shape to begin with. If the driver was buddies with the Geico Gecko, maybe he was able to get the whole thing fixed, and it all turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
In April 2011, a tornado three-tenths-of-a-mile long and 50 yards wide hit Covington County, Miss. The twister passed through a scrap metal yard and ripped the roof right off, creating -- ironically -- more scrap metal. It was one time that having a roof over your head was not necessarily such a good thing.
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In 1996 several tornadoes did damage to Oklahoma, and in one instance, storm chasers Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton and Jami Gertz spotted a cow flying through the air as they entered the core of the storm.
Oh wait, that didn't happen. That was in the movie, "Twister." It just seemed so real!