Tornadoes – Most Common, Yet Highly Destructive
Around 1000 tornadoes are observed every year in the United States. This makes tornadoes a very common incidence, but the damage caused by these violent circulatory winds is immense. United States, only a couple of days ago witnessed tornadoes hitting 15 states on one day with North Carolina alone being hit by almost 15 to 20 tornadoes on Saturday, April 16, 2011.
So, what are these tornadoes and how do they work exactly?
What are Tornadoes?: Also, referred to as a twister, a tornado is a column of rotating air, usually taking the shape of a funnel that stretches from the clouds that cause thunderstorms on to the ground.
These circulatory columns of air can have speeds between 110 miles per hour to 300 miles per hour and can stretch across any where between 80 meters to 3000 meters. These tornadoes can even travel hundreds of kilometers on the ground before they can dissipate.
Of all the areas in the world, it is in the United States that most tornadoes occur.
The Strength of Tornadoes: Based on the wind speeds and the area that a tornado carries and stretches, it can be understood what tornadoes are capable of. These violent circulatory columns of air are mainly classified into three types, viz. weak, strong and violent.
These tornadoes based on their strength can hurl anything away along with them. This includes people, cattle, houses, automobiles, buildings, trees and even skyscrapers sometimes. Either these things are carried along with the tornado (at least for a distance of 6 miles) are they might just be blown away.
Most events of death are caused by a violent tornado and it is the debris that the tornado carries with it which causes the death.
Identifying the Occurrence of a Tornado: Believe it or not, the average warning time of a tornado’s occurrence is 13 minutes. It is in this time that any loss of human lives can be prevented, though property damage may be unavoidable.
Tornadoes are said to accompany large hail or they can follow a large thunder (usually sounding like a train).
Misconceptions: The most common myth about the occurrence of tornadoes is a green sky. Green sky is usually associated with extreme and wild weathers, but it necessarily does not imply a tornado’s occurrence.
Another misconception is that opening the windows of a house wound lessen the damage caused by the wind. In fact, windows open or not, the damage caused by a tornado would not change.
Tornadoes do not effect cities. Another major misconception. Nothing can stop a tornado from climbing valleys, crossing rivers or damaging cities. The best example for this is the tornado of 1999 in Salt Lake City.
Safety: There are many things about a tornado that still remain a mystery. Research is still on going to study the effects of this violent rotatory wind column that causes massive destruction.
All one can do is to heed the warnings, so that they would have enough time to at least save themselves and their family.