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Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud

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"The suck zone: it's the point, basically, at which the twister... sucks you up. That's not the technical term for it, obviously, but..."
Dusty, Twister

Tornadoes. One of the most beautiful, deadly and terrifying manifestations of nature's fury. They can strike anywhere at any time, claim hundreds of lives each year, and cause billions in widespread property damage.

...unless, of course, you live in the land of make-believe. There, only the visible funnel cloud is capable of doing any damage. Never mind that a Real Life tornado is a rotating area of 100+ MPH ground winds — of which the funnel cloud is only the center — and those winds will be ripping up trees, cars and cows and turning them into projectiles. Never mind that those same winds can sweep entire houses off their foundations... and turn them into projectiles. In fiction, you'll be perfectly safe, no matter how close you are to the storm, as long as the funnel cloud itself does not touch you.


Is this the kind of thinking that can get you seriously injured or even killed in Real Life? You'd better believe it. Persons who have survived close proximity to a funnel cloud say afterward that they were convinced they were about to die. Even experienced storm chasers have been fatally wrong about the size and direction of the tornado. The high-velocity horizontal winds circling the funnel — and the debris they're carrying — are a much greater threat to your life than the funnel itself. In short, if you're less than a mile away from the storm, you're in trouble. Big trouble.

Though this trope runs on some heavy use of Artistic License, it's well-documented that tornadoes can be... capricious in their damage, destroying one house but leaving the one next door completely untouched, due to multiple vortices inside the tornado area. Still, would you bet your life and safety on winning this meteorological lottery? Didn't think so...


Uses the same "scientific" principles as Convection Schmonvection, which basically state that only the visually obvious thing is dangerous — you can come very close to natural danger but if you don't touch it, you'll be fine. See also Unrealistic Black Hole, which is this trope In Space!

The only instance in which this trope comes within spitting distance of Truth in Television is 'dust devils', which can be confused for small tornadoes but aren't associated with a parent cloud, and are significantly smaller and weaker than a supercell tornado. Only rarely does a dust devil become powerful enough to be dangerous to humans, though it's still inadvisable to go close to one (they're tiny, mobile dust storms, after all).

If you want more information about tornadoes and what you should do to survive them, please check out the US National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center tornado safety page and our very own Tornadoes.

Compare Mega Maelstrom and Funnel Cloud Journey. When weaponised, see Tornado Move.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Retsuga in Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin can create tornadoes at will. This trope is played straight in the sense that the surrounding area seems to barely be affected... and then Retsuga goes and actually dives into the funnel cloud and "rides" the tornado to make a fancy exit. Needless to say, doing this does not harm him in any way.
  • Played more or less straight in one of the Mazinger Z series. One of the weapons of Mazinkaiser is Rust Tornado. The Humongous Mecha blews three tornadoes from its grill mouth. Of course, anything it touches gets obliterated, and the wind gales kick big dirt clouds and leave a trail of destruction in its wake (in the movie it dug a wiiiiide trench across Mount Fuji). Though the area surrounding the attack does not seem so affected how it should. This is actually justified as the wind also unleashes acid that corrodes anything the wind touches. Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger's Rust Hurricane and Great Typhoon aren't as powerful as Rust Tornado, so they can't do the massive damage Kaiser can.
  • Present in Transformers: Super-God Masterforce, when Ginrai is able to escape the grip of Overlord's tornado by breaking out of the funnel cloud.
  • Averted in Ranma ½: the basic form of the Heaven's Dragon Blast (or Hiryuu Shouten Ha) ultimate technique creates a tornado with, depending on the methods and circumstances, varying degrees of intensity. Even the weakest form creates very strong winds in the vicinity, which have visible effects on objects (and people) fairly separate from the funnel. Note that the revised versions of the technique behave on wildly different principles and don't necessarily apply.
    • But not averted in the videogames, where characters can stand directly next to the funnel (or even block it for Chipping Damage) to no ill effect.
  • In Pokémon, people and Pokemon can be seen narrowly dodging small funnel clouds - the result of the attack Whirlwind - without coming to any harm. On the other hand, Pokémon do get sucked into whirlpools.
  • Used in a filler episode of Dragon Ball Z. A dragonball is caught in a tornado, which our heroes are watching from less than fifty feet away without so much as upsetting their balance. The obvious solution to their dilemma: send the super-powered five-year-old flying into the storm to retrieve the ball. Granted, this all turned out to be an illusion later, but the improbability of this isn't really touched on by the characters at all.
  • Averted in YuYu Hakusho: When Yusuke narrowly dodges a direct hit from Jin's Tornado Fist technique, which creates a small tornado around the user's fists, he ends up blown away by the invisible wind surrounding the visible tornado. One character even comments on this in the anime version.
  • In La Blue Girl, Miko can create one with her own hair. This being a hentai, it usually results in Clothing Damage (unless of course she was already naked when using it.) She normally uses it as a finishing move against whatever enemy she's up against.
  • A hurricane trashes Kurozu-cho in Uzumaki searching for Kirie. It does a lot of damage, but she and Shuichi survive at point-blank range. Later, when everything is descending into chaos, the townspeople discover they can create their own tornadoes by making loud noises; these are strong enough to lift people, but again, have little effect if they don't hit you directly.
  • Lupin III: The Columbus Files has a waterspout at the end threaten to suck up everything nearby, including our hero and his gang. Their solution? Simply fly at it on an airplane and have Goemon cut it in half. Implausible Fencing Powers indeed.
  • Played straight in Bleach. During the Hueco Mundo arc, after witnessing a tornado spawn literally right in front of them, Chad, Uryu, and Ichigo try to run away from the tornado. Made worse by the fact that Chad notices the wind picking up even before the tornado spawns.
  • Averted in the Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters movie. The winds kick up debris and sand some distance from the visible funnel during the First Trial.

  • Ron White talked once of a Floridian man who tried to tie himself to a tree on a beach to prove he was in good enough condition at 53 years old to withstand the wind and rain from an EF-3 hurricane. Ron had to explain this trope to him.
    Ron: It isn't that the wind is blowing; it's what the wind is blowing. If you get hit with a Volvo, it doesn't really matter how many sit-ups you did that morning. If you have a Yield sign in your spleen, jogging don't come into play. "I can run 25 miles without stopping." "You're bleedin'." "...Shit..."

    Comic Books 
  • Tornadoes are one of the most common forms of attacks used by The Flash foe, the Weather Wizard. They are generally shown emerging from the tip of his wand and things are only affected when they are hit by the funnel cloud. The Wizard even uses tornadoes to fly.
  • Averted in Superman #376, where Superman and Supergirl toil to dispel several tornadoes trashing Kansas. Although both cousins are capable to dive into the funnel and come out unaffected, the winds spawned by the tornado blow rocks, trees and even houses away.
  • Wonder Woman 600: Cyclone creates a funnel that picks up a whole slew of adult men but doesn't effect anything or anyone right next to it.

    Fan Works 
  • Averted in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series — the two two-part episodes that feature tornadoes ("The Black Turning Funnel" and "The Falling Sky") display them relatively realistically.

    Films — Animated 
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has a twister made out of spaghetti and meatballs averting this trope, as while the spaghetti twister doesn't do much damage, the meatballs are like a meateor shower, devastating the island.
  • At the end of Rock-A-Doodle, the evil Duke of Owls actually turns into one of these as part of his One-Winged Angel act as a last-minute attempt to kill all the animals living on Chanticleer's farm since none of them drowned in the flood the Duke sent to destroy the farm.
  • As it turns out, Hercules can touch the funnel cloud—which he uses to suck up the rest of the Titans before hurling them into space, where they explode.
  • Frozen II features a funnel cloud created by a belligerent wind spirit, pictured above, which is the reason why Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Sven aren't being blown away.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Ghidorah's hurricane, even after it evolves into a Category 6 and produces offshoot tornadoes and water-spouts, is on its own pretty much harmless to humans on the ground, just hitting them with a lot of rain and only a small wind which batters their hair and clothes, and making some atmospheric fog. Even a Category 1 hurricane should threaten to blow people off their feet and tear buildings apart and send debris flying through the air. Worse, even flying inside the cloud is relatively harmless, to the point that thousands of aircraft can safely fly right under the hurricane with minimal turbulence, and even the crazy-high amounts of lightning in the clouds barely ever strike them.
  • Twister
    • Pay special attention to when the giant F-5 tornado picks up The Rival's SUV only after the physical funnel cloud touches it, and how the heroes are able to survive being out in the open during that same mega-twister without being flayed alive by the super-strong winds and flying debris. It's at least inconsistently averted, though, because there are multiple times where you'll see stuff being thrown around when the visible funnel clouds are actually quite distant. Notably, the "flying cow" scene. Interestingly, while the winds are apparently strong enough to blow a house off its foundations and roll it (intact) across the road our heroes our driving on, it's apparently not strong enough to, say, roll their midsized pickup truck off the road. And how everything except the heroes and whatever they're driving gets picked up/ripped out of the ground/pulled toward the tornadoes (fence posts being yanked out of the ground right behind them while the F5 is still a ways away, the tanker truck flying around while their pickup is still grounded, the jumping tornado yanking up a series of power poles and throwing motorboats around, etc.). The Applied Phlebotinum that is the focal point of the movie functions correctly outside the funnel cloud, even though it requires high winds to work.
    • Something of special note is that at one point in the film the main characters attempt to hide from the tornado underneath an overpass. A mother. Fucking. Overpass. Also known as one of the last places you want to be during a tornado, as not only can it collapse on you, but it funnels the rotating air like a wind-tunnel, making you even more likely to get sucked up. The biggest complaint any of them have? Making sure they all stay close together, so that no one gets hurt. It wasn't even an overpass. It was a very small, very shitty, old wooden bridge that wasn't very much longer than the width of the truck that was parked nearby (and was later pushed into one of the bridge's support beams by the tornado) and was barely 6 feet high.
  • And then there's the made-for-TV movie Night of the Twisters, which has the heroes outrunning a tornado's funnel cloud that is literally right on their bumper during the finale. Especially weird in that an earlier scene has a tornado tear a wall off the protagonist's house while the funnel cloud was hundreds of yards away. That last one must have just been in a really good mood.
  • The most ridiculous example yet comes from another made-for-TV flick: The blatant Twister rip-off Tornado! Here, the heroes are caught in the open trying to secure a weather analysis machine, and don't even notice that the F-5 tornado just passed right over them and they're now inside of it. The Cool Old Guy ultimately secures the machine and sacrifices himself by letting the twister engulf him, even though the "killer" storm just proved completely harmless to the rest of the cast. Wow.
  • Averted in the film Places in the Heart, where no funnel cloud is ever seen, and the damage to the town is catastrophic.
  • And there's also The Wizard of Oz, where the twister picks up Dorothy's entire house but doesn't shred it to pieces or kill her. But at the end we find out that that part of the movie was All Just a Dream, where the actual rules of real-world physics don't necessarily apply. It also averts this trope in a way: with the visible (windsock) funnel still a ways away, the wind is blowing loud and hard, and a screen door sails away as Dorothy opens it to run inside the house (she's unable to get inside the storm cellar).
    • Oz the Great and Powerful zigzags this one. On the one hand, Oscar's balloon-basket gets pierced by fence posts and other flung debris; on the other, its bag stays intact enough to make it to Oz.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: When Furiosa attempts to escape into the enormous sandstorm, she is chased by warboys in smaller cars. When one gets close, she eases it into a tornado by pushing against it while her own truck is unaffected.
  • The Day After Tomorrow. One sequence has a swarm of twisters demolish L.A. Not so bad, yet. Then they show a flight of helicopters tailing the tornadoes from about two blocks away. Somewhere, a meteorologist is crying...
  • In X2: X-Men United, Storm calls down several tornadoes to get rid of some pesky jetfighters trailing the Blackbird. The scene is very cool to watch, until you realize that there's no way the Blackbird itself could have gotten away and Storm probably laid waste to the entire New York countryside in the process.
    • This is Storm, though. She has everything under control.
    • Not to mention that these funnel clouds were in the upper atmosphere, and did not necessarily have to extend all the way to ground level.
  • Averted in Storm Cell. Appropriate, since it's about a meteorologist who specializes in tornado work.
  • The Lucky Ones goes crazy with this. In the middle of the Nevada desert, the protagonists run into a random tornado. They quickly abandon the car they're in and hide in a nearby drain-pipe. Not only do they survive, the car gets through it without a scratch.
  • Demonstrated in Thor, when our eponymous hero creates a tornado in the middle of a town and little besides what is directly within the funnel cloud gets tossed around. But it's a magic-controlled tornado.
  • In Man of Steel, the tornado which kills Jonathan Kent had some kick outside of the funnel proper, but nowhere near what a twister is really capable of. For one thing, one person stands perfectly still and doesn't move an inch even as he's enveloped by the funnel cloud.
  • Into the Storm (2014) shows the bigger tornadoes picking up and tossing debris from a fair distance away, but the smaller, ropelike twisters seem to only be able to damage and pick up things the funnel cloud physically touches.

  • In The Seven Serpents of the Sorcery! gamebook series, the protagonist encounters a miniature tornado. If he touches it, he is sucked into it and it is Game Over.

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, pretty much exactly as above under film. Only without the All Just a Dream justification.
  • Justified to an extent in the Russian Tales of the Magic Land: the hurricane in question is magically created by a Wicked Witch, and enchanted by a Good Witch to deal as little damage as possible (specifically, she aimed it at a single house which she expected to be empty, but it didn't quite work that way).
  • Averted in the Little House on the Prairie books. Laura was describing the effects of real tornadoes in the area around De Smet. Including the weirdness of a guy who survived being picked up — and put down — by a tornado. Though he was stripped of every stitch of clothing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Averted in Bones episode "The Twist in the Twister," which features the characters being pelted with small and very large debris while the funnel cloud is still in the background.
  • The tornado in the cliffhanger ending of the first season of Smallville.
  • Averted in Desperate Housewives (season 4 episode 10), where the cyclone is shown as being quite dangerous even at a distance. However, Lynette and Mrs. McCluskey are still able to stand outside in the storm without being blown away as they watch the funnel cloud bear down on them.
  • In Tin Man the tornado travel storm sits right beside DG's house for several minutes without doing any damage to it.
  • Averted in Storm Chasers, a Discovery Channel documentary series that follows teams of storm chasers as they pursue tornadoes across the countryside, the potential lethality of the storms being constantly reiterated. It is even highlighted when in one episode a purpose-built armored vehicle designed to drive into a tornado and survive has one of its windows blown out when a tornado suddenly intensifies on top of them, the driver and one of the passengers suffering cuts to their faces from flying glass. The fourth season starts off showing the effects of the EF4 tornado that struck Yazoo City, Mississippi in April 2010, one man being shown with a bloodied head and another man is found on the ground unconscious. The 5th season takes this Up to Eleven with multiple tornadoes striking major cities throughout the Midwest and Southeast. Scenery Gorn out the wazoo.
  • Inverted completely in Roseanne in the tornado episode. Their area gets put under a tornado watch and they basically do everything short of writing their wills (though little in the way of actual useful preparations) they are so sure the tornado is going to encounter their specific house. The Gallows Humor they trade after receiving the watch wouldn't be out of place in Dr. Strangelove. For those of don't live in a tornado prone area, tornado watches just mean that conditions are right, it doesn't mean a tornado will necessarily form, much less that it will even be near your town.
  • In the My Name Is Earl episode "Nature's Game Show", Randy is sucked up by a tornado and deposited on the roof of the motel. This isn't the only example of the egregious tornado nonsense in that episode, but this is a particularly bad one.
  • Recycled IN SPACE! with the Blake's 7 episode "Breakdown". The Liberator is being pulled into a Swirly Energy Thingy, so Ace Pilot Jenna Stannis gets them through unharmed by flying right through the middle.
  • The plot of Korean miniseries Crash Landing on You gets rolling when Se-ri, out paragliding, does not notice the tornado until she's a couple hundred meters from the funnel cloud. She gets sucked right into it and blown over the border into North Korea.

  • Used in Whirlwind, where the goal is to guide a tornado to your area.
  • Averted in the Match Sequence for The Wizard of Oz — even though the tornado's in the distance, it still manages to throw debris around and into the screen.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Averted with natural tornadoes, which suck everything towards them in a very large radius.
    • Djinni and air elementals, on the other hands, can turn into smaller whirlwinds that will only damage creatures that touch or enter it, or are in the whirlwind's path. Although it can create a cloud of dust over a larger area than itself.

    Theme Parks 
  • This happens in the former Twister...Ride it Out attraction at Universal Studios Florida, where, much like the movie it was based off of, the destruction doesn't occur until the funnel cloud is a mere few feet away from something.

    Video Games 
  • Averted in Life Is Strange. The tornado at the end of the game is clearly seen causing catastrophic damage to Arcadia Bay long before the funnel cloud even comes onshore.
  • Interestingly enough, this is at least mildly averted in a particular side quest in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, where you meet Cyclos, the god of cyclones, and, even if you try to stop your boat, it continues to move closer to the cyclone the god creates, not to mention, your arrows which you are using to get him to notice you, are being thrown absolutely everywhere!
  • Also barely averted in the Water dungeons of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, in which Link can still be sucked into vortices even if he keeps a distance, particularly if he is swimming rather than walking underwater (this could have been justified/hand waved by the anchoring weight of the iron boots in Ocarina of Time, and by Zora Magic in Majora's Mask). The radius of the vortices, however, is still not as broad as in real life.
  • In later stages of the Katamari Damacy games, there are tornadoes that, much like the vicious animals of early stages, will blast you away if your Katamari collides with the funnel. Never mind, of course, that you can pick up said tornadoes once you're big enough, as well as rainbows etc. Extremely little scrutiny reveals that we're never meant to take this seriously.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Jumping into a tornado in Sonic Adventure, perhaps Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Shadow the Hedgehog is encouraged. Not to mention the surrounding platforms are completely unharmed except for occasional flying debris. Possibly lampshaded in the latter; Knuckles shouts for help when sucked up, despite it being the only possible way forward for himself and Shadow.
    • Averted in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): Part of the Crisis City stage involves Sonic running away from a whirlwind—while he's a remarkably short distance away from it unaffected by the wind, he has his hands (actually feet) full dodging all the flying shrapnel around it.
  • In Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, the title villain actually generates almost harmless tornadoes with floating mechs.
  • In Crysis, there is a sequence towards the end where you have to weave your VTOL craft through some truly insane weather, including many tornados. This is a partial subversion in that, yes, you don't have to actually touch the funnel cloud to be doomed, but you do have to get darn close to it before you begin suffering any ill effects.
  • Zigzagged in SimCity, depending on the game; only the square touched by the tornado is directly harmed, but any buildings they touch are instantly reduced to rubble, be it a single-storey house or a nuclear power plant. Or even an asphalt road.
  • Diablo II. The Druid class has a few egregious examples, but the most offensive is the Hurricane skill, which is one of the Level 30 tree's-end techniques. Plainly, it summons a frickin hurricane that you then walk around in. Not only are you completely unharmed by it, neither are your allies. Enemies are not sucked in; instead, anything that comes into contact takes significant damage and dies. The lore says the druid is unharmed because he is in the eye of the cyclone. Also interesting are the actual Tornado and especially Twister spells: the latter produces three tornadoes that are so tiny as to miss targets two druid lengths in front of you, and getting hit only stuns you for a fraction of a second. The former correctly deals damage around it, where 'around it' is defined as the size of a large monster, and because it deals damage over time it cannot even interrupt monsters. This spell set goes nicely with the waist height volcano, but it is no surprise the sequel features Energy Twister, a tornado of whirling magic!.
    • Said sequel still falls squarely into this trope however, with Energy Twister still only dealing damage to enemies directly touched by its funnel, while the player and scenery remain entirely unharmed.
  • Averted with the Tornado spell in Sacrifice: units in the target area go flying before the funnel cloud is even fully formed.
  • Partially averted in Final Fantasy VI - the Whirlwind spell damages everyone on screen. You can still jump over it though.
  • Auron in Final Fantasy X can generate tornadoes in a special attack. Naturally, all enemies regardless of size are sucked up and party members aren't. Said tornado can also be set on fire. By throwing alcohol into it.
    • The other two party members run away before it comes out, at least (and they only otherwise do so to make room for an aeon). Still doesn't explain why Auron himself is unaffected, of course.
  • Likewise Cloud's Finishing Touch Limit Break in Final Fantasy VII, wherein he generates a tornado around himself and then somehow flings it towards the enemy with his sword. Also present in Final Fantasy Tactics.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and A2 have a minor aversion. The Cyclone spell (effectively a momentary magic tornado) has an Area of Effect (admittedly no bigger than that of bog standard Black Mage spells).
  • A partial aversion in Dissidia Final Fantasy: most wind-based attacks (Garland's Cyclone, Terra's Tornado, Vaan's Windburst, etc) only hurt the opponent if they touch the funnel cloud in the center, but the attacks will absorb and pull them into the cloud if they're too close.
  • Averted in Giants: Citizen Kabuto, the caster (Delphi) is immune to the effects of the tornado, but enemies and even the local wild life are sucked in from a distance. Close buildings are also destroyed.
  • Populous: The Beginning has tornadoes that aren't always under your control, you can tell them where they start but after that they can wander off. They are very destructive when cast right on top of a building as they stay in place for a while. Afterwards, the tornado will head off in a random direction, zigzagging on the way. Anything caught in the funnel will be sucked into the air, levitated for a while then launched into a random direction; the tornado itself doesn't do damage to people but the fall does.
  • Scribblenauts has extremely annoying tornadoes that have debris clouds as per real life, but which don't actually affect you (or anything else) unless they're touched.
  • Played straight in the Genesis game Toe Jam And Earl. Yes, tornados can dump the protagonists off of the level or into a lake, but they don't cause any damage. They can also be avoided by walking in a zig-zag pattern.
  • Played straight in Backyard Football, where the twister powerup blows the opponents away when they touch it.
  • World of Warcraft uses this with a couple bosses which summon tornadoes. Even more egregious, some NPCs can use tornadoes to imprison you, causing no damage whatsoever. So can Druid players. Of course, it's all caused by magic. Shamans also get a swirly-whirlwind-twister-thing every time their Windfury Weapon spell activates, though it appears for less than three seconds.
  • NiGHTS into Dreams... has the villain Wizeman the Wicked use a tornado as one of his attacks. It slowly advances towards the player and pushes them away if they hit the funnel itself, but it doesn't hurt. There's also a narrow weak spot where NiGHTS can drill through in order to get past the tornado.
  • A partial, vague aversion occurs with the Storm Summoning powerset in City of Heroes. While the Tornado effect doesn't really affect enemies unless it comes in content with the funnel, it will throw around debris that is nearby. Additionally, the Hurricane ability actually has an area of effect that is some small distance beyond its visible vortex graphic. As for why the various funnels or vortices fail to be even more destructive for their compact size, it's simply accepted that your character is just that talented.
  • Shamal's Square attack in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Battle of Aces produces small tornadoes that slowly track the enemy. Naturally, they only deal damage to you when you touch them.
    • Everyone involved has Barrier Jackets capable of standing up to kiloton-range energy blasts, albeit with heavy damage, as well as flight capability, so this is a Justified Trope for once.
  • In the second No One Lives Forever game, Cate travels to a mobile home park in Ohio while it is under attack from a tornado. There, she has to discover clues about H.A.R.M.'s plan while fending off waves of female Ninja. Meanwhile, the funnel cloud is moving around them conveniently destroying trailers while leaving everything beyond the immediate vicinity intact. Also, the fight with the ninja boss takes place in a trailer that has been picked up by the tornado. The tornado is played semi-realistically in that you can clearly see rotation in the clouds and debris swirling about far outside the funnel, but only "semi" because, well, the boss fight takes place in a double-wide that's been picked up by a bloody tornado.
  • A particularly whacked-out example occurs in a Mario Party 5 minigame, where the players end up inside a giant tornado, and with hammers try to whack each other to the funnel winds surrounding them in order to eliminate them.
  • Mega Man 2: This is probably the reason why I Can't Defeat Air Man.
    • Also played straight with Tengu Man and Tornado Man's tornadoes.
    • Mega Man X: Subverted by Launch Octopus's whirlpool, which sucks the player in even if they don't touch it. Played straight with Storm Eagle's, Storm Owl's, and Spiral Pegacion's tornadoes, which only damage the player on contact and do not suck the player in.
  • Played straight in Age of Mythology, where if the Tornado god power touches enemy units, they're sucked into it and spun around a few times before being blown out the top, dead. It also rips parts off of buildings that are close to it. Granted, it doesn't quite have to touch things to damage them, but you can still get way closer to one than should be possible.
  • In Trail of the Twister, you can direct Nancy's car freely around the map even when a big (and stationary) tornado is whirling away in one part of it. Turning the car towards the tornado does make Nancy complain about how she's going the wrong way, but you don't crash or get killed unless you drive right into the thing.
  • Air Force Delta Strike, Operation Raccoon Hunt: You have to fly into the center of a funnel cloud to destroy tornado generators. You can fly right up to the wall of the funnel on both the outside and inside of it, but don't touch the funnel, itself.
  • Bug! had dust storm hazards in Reptilia that resembled mini-tornadoes. They wouldn't suck Bug in, and would only damage him if he touched them.
  • Averted in the Kessen series; then again, part of the appeal of spells in the series is watching all the little dudes get tossed around. However, damage-wise it does play it straight, as men that are tossed around at the edges have a moderate chance of survival, albeit shaken and morale-broken. The Dragon and Fissure spells follow the same pathing and are much more lethal.
  • Inverted in Obsidian. One of its dream worlds includes a puzzle where the player must fire cannonballs at a distant tornado in the background, in order to trap it and provide air for the Mechanical Spider. The tornado even jumps if partially hit.
  • In inFAMOUS 2, Cole is later able to create them, casing massive damage as well as wiping out any human sized person.
  • Zigzagged in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Although debris is thrown around by Sandman's tornado, Spider-Man himself isn't affected unless he actually jumps into the funnel.
  • Little Samson has little funnel clouds that move from left to right or right to left and push characters around on contact.
  • Assassins Creed IV has waterspouts; even though only the funnel itself damages your ship, they will still pull you towards them from further away.
  • A recurring stage in the Soul Series takes place on Cervantes' ship The Adrian as it's caught in the middle of a violent storm, where two tornadic waterspouts menacingly churn away in the near distance. While such waterspouts are generally less powerful compared to tornadoes, the funnel clouds here are close enough that your fighters ought to be struggling against some very strong winds during the match, but the only effect they have on the surroundings is causing the vessel's sails and rigging to flap around a bit; even the rain falling over the deck comes down at a relatively gentle angle.
  • In the Sky Odyssey mission "the storm before the calm" the player is required to fly through a hurricane like storm over the Dark Sea. In this level you have to avoid touching the thunderclouds or else your plane gets blown into the ground. Also in the mission you get sucked into a tornado like vortex. You have to fly through the center of the funnel without touching the cloud walls. Failure to do so causes your aircraft to explode.
  • Monster Hunter has a number of monsters capable of creating tornadoes that only harm you if you directly touch them: Kushala Daora, Amatsumagatsuchi, and Paolumu have traditional ones, Sand Barioth has sandy ones, and Abyssal Lagiacrus has underwater ones.
  • Twisters can strike your island in Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis. If it comes anywhere near anything but the biggest dinosaurs, they'll be picked up and spun around for a while before being hurled into the distance, killing them. The largest dinosaurs, such as Tyrannosaurus, Spinosaurus, and Brachiosaurus, won't be picked up by the twisters, but if it passes directly over them, they will instantly be reduced to a quickly-dissipating red cloud.
  • The early gameplay teaser for Just Cause 4 features Rico trailing a tornado as it bears down on an enemy installation, with only the comparably small funnel cloud doing any damage to anything, including aircraft. Heck, Rico is even able to freely glide about with no difficulty. In the released game, we quickly discover that these tornadoes are artificially generated by a Weather-Control Machine, so they don't necessarily need to behave like the natural sort.
  • Kingdom Hearts III has the Demon Tide boss, the combined form of hundreds of Shadows into a tornado surrounding a dark orb. The Shadows themselves are the only part of the tornado that actually inflicts damage, with the Demon Tide's attacks largely consisting of flinging them at you.

    Web Animation 

  • xkcd has some fun with this
  • John's hurricanes in Homestuck appear to work like this, though they might be carrying some debris that does the real damage.

    Web Original 
  • 17776: In a future where humanity has stopped aging, nanobots protect humans from harm and injury, and humans have turned to playing sports as their main form of recreation, one football player deliberately jumps into a tornado to gain competitive advantage.

    Western Animation 
  • Strangely subverted in The Simpsons.
    • Todd Flanders is driven through a tree during a hurricane. While he should be squished, objects like 2x4's have been driven clean through a tree by the winds of these storms.
    • There is another point when Homer leaves the family shelter because he mistakes the eye of the hurricane for the end of the storm. When he runs back to the shelter, he is pulled off the ground, only to get grabbed by the rest of the family and spun around.
  • Looney Tunes' The Tasmanian Devil can turn into a tornado.
  • Even the Care Bears are not exempt from tornado terror: Hug, Tugs, and Tenderheart had run-in with a tornado in the Tear Jerker episode, "The Sleeping Giant".
  • Zig-Zagged in Transformers: Prime. A tornado drags June Darby's car towards it long before the funnel cloud comes close to it, and lifts it into the air as well before Bumblebee grabs onto it. But then June and Raf climb out of the car to get into Bumblebee's hands. Winds strong enough to pull the car like that should have sucked them off the moment they got out of the car.
  • Pinky and the Brain: "Brain Storm" is about Brain's attempt to harness a tornado for his latest scheme to take over the world. This trope is mostly in effect, although they are occassionally battered by a piece of flying debris (cow, pig, tractor...) because of the Rule of Funny.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • The tornado in "The Band Concert" acts as if it were sentient, sucking up trees and buildings like a vaccum cleaner. It picks up Mickey and his band while they are still playing, too rapt up in the music to notice, and drops them harmlessly around a tree like Christmas ornaments.
    • "The Little Whirlwind" gives similar treatment to a whirlwind, depicted as a mischievous child interfering with Mickey's yard work. Mickey chases it away, only to be chased himself by the whirlwind's mother, a full-grown tornado (which reuses some of the same animation as "The Band Concert").
    • Similar whirlwinds appear in "Playful Pluto" and "A Gentleman's Gentleman" to bedevil Pluto the Pup.
  • In Family Guy, the funnel cloud is in the Griffins' front yard before they decide that they should run for the storm cellar.
  • King of the Hill subverts this as well during the twister episode. The winds are strong even before the funnel cloud strikes, with Bobby even trying to make an egg smash through a brick wall thanks to what he's heard from Dale, and literally gets egg in his face. Hank is only able to make it to the storm cellar with the rest of his family thanks to the eye of the storm.
  • Mona the Vampire has what may be one of the most extreme examples of wrongness on Tornadoes ever. In "The Whirling Void", Mona learns about Tornadoes from her dad, who describe them as "whirling voids". Then, when a string of missing items start happening, Mona believes the culprit is a "whirling void" (which, to her, is a sentient, kleptomaniac tornado that isn't connected to any cloud, or even the ground, and is able to alter its size and shape and hide in any object). She also defeats it by blowing wind in the opposite direction that it's spinning. Oh, and at the end of the episode, when Officer Halcroft is dismissive of Mona's claim of a whirling void, we see one pass by and suck up a vehicle, which doesn't occur until the funnel cloud reaches it.


Video Example(s):


Totally Spies!

The Tornado-in-a-Can-of-Hairspray.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / DoNotTouchTheFunnelCloud

Media sources:

Main / DoNotTouchTheFunnelCloud