Tornadoes

A Geohazard that can destroy whole towns.

Tornadoes: What are they?

A mobile, destructive vortex of violently rotating winds having the appearance of a funnel-shaped cloud and advancing beneath a large storm system.
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How are these destroyers created?

1. Air Rotates Because of Wind Shear.

How the column of air begins to rotate is not completely understood by scientists, but one way the rotation appears to happen is when winds at two different altitudes blow at two different speeds creating wind shear. For example, a wind at 1000 feet above the surface might blow at 5mph and a wind at 5000 feet might blow at 25mph. This causes a horizontal rotating column of air.

2. Faster Spin Makes a Funnel Cloud.

If this column gets caught in a supercell updraft, the updraft tightens the spin and it speeds up (much like a skater's spins faster when arms are pulled close to the body. A funnel cloud is created.

3. The Funnel Rotates and Touches Down.

The rain and hail in the thunderstorm cause the funnel to touch down creating a tornado.

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Why is it a Hazard?

Tornadoes are a hazard because they can destroy anything in their path due to strong winds creating a vortex. They can do many things like lift a train of its tracks and move it 16 feet away. This should be a concern to us because if we don't prepare for a tornado we could potentially be killed.

Where can tornadoes most likely occur?

They occur mainly in a 10-state area known as Tornado Alley, stretching from Texas to Nebraska that also includes Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Arkansas. Tornadoes have to have the right atmospheric conditions to be created.

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How are tornadoes measured?

Tornadoes are measured using the EF Scale which is based on wind damage.
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Examples of the deadliest tornadoes in US History.

1. The tri-state tornado (Missouri, Indiana, Illinois) was on March 18th of 1925 which had a death toll of 695 people.

2. Natchez, Mississippi had a tornado on May 6th of 1840 which had a death toll of 317.

How can we protect and prepare ourselves for tornadoes?

You should always listen to radios for tornado watches and warnings during any storms. Have a safe room in the house on the lowest floor without windows. You should practice drills so you know what to do in case of an emergency. Always remove diseased and damaged limbs from trees in case of extreme winds. Move movable objects that could be blown by wind inside. Some sign of tornadoes include dark-greenish clouds, a wall cloud, Cloud of Debris, Large Hail, Funnel Clouds, and Roaring noises. The safest place is in an underground room. Mobile Homes are not safe during tornadoes and high winds. If you are in a car and debris is flying, pull over and park. Stay in the car with the seat belt on, keep your head below the windows with your hands or blanket covering your head. If there is a place below the roadway, lay in that area covering your head. Remember, always remain calm.