Tornado damage is all too common in East Tennessee, especially during the last couple of years. And in many cases, when you talk to people who lived through the natural disasters, you hear the same common description of the storm-- that it sounded "like a train."
For this "Ask Todd" question, Roy asks: "Nowadays the sound of a tornado is almost always described as sounding like a train. What was the prevalent way of describing the sound before trains, say 1830 and earlier?"
Here in the U.S. we have tornado records dating back to the early 1800s, including the periods of time before trains were common.
Tornado victims tend to use that "sounded like a train" phrase because it's so familiar.
The National Weather Service has tracked tornado history for years, and they say before trains, people identified the sound of the storms with something else, and their answer even surprised us.
"Back before they had trains, they pretty much related the sound to things of their own experience. It could have been a buffalo, a whole bunch of buffalo coming through the woods or through the valley, it could have been just heavy, high winds. They're all going to have it related to things back in their past," said David Hotz.
Tornadoes sound like trains, but according to the National Weather Service, twisters have also been described as sounding like a herd of buffalo.