# How a Sharknado Would Work

The Sharks (Literally) Rise Up

Tornadoes have been known to move all sorts of heavy objects, tipping over trains and sucking up cows, so the weight of a shark isn't likely to pose a huge barrier in our sharknado scenario. Great white sharks can weigh up to 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms) and sometimes even more [source: National Geographic]. The average weight of a mature dairy cow is about 1,400 pounds (635 kilograms) [source: Purdue University]. If a tornado can pick up a few cows, it definitely should be able to support the weight of a great white, as long as you have the right amount of wind.

To figure out the wind speed the waterspout must have to pick up a great white, we need to know the terminal velocity of a shark (the speed the shark would fall if you pushed it out of an airplane). Since people don't normally throw sharks out of planes, not all the parameters of the equation for terminal velocity are worked out specifically for sharks. To do the calculation, we're going to have to make some assumptions about the drag of a shark and its surface area, but we can still come up with a ballpark figure.