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Better Get Ready-Tornado Season Is Here!

Better Get Ready-Tornado Season Is Here!

Spring is here and it’s these spring and summer months that we see the greatest threat for tornadoes. Tornadoes in 2016 have already sprung as early as February. Is that a harbinger of a big tornado season?

In today’s story we will share with you articles about tornadoes to show you the damage they do.

In our story that we did on Tornado Info You Should Know in April, 2014 we said that three-fourths of all tornadoes worldwide happen in the United States. Most of them happen in what is called tornado alley in the Midwest or Dixie alley in the southeastern United States with tornado alley getting the bulk of them.

The borders of Tornado Alley are not clearly defined but “vary depending on frequency, intensity and a number of events per unit area. The map of tornado alley starts in central Texas and goes north through Oklahoma, central Kansas and Nebraska and eastern South Dakota, sometimes dog-legging east through Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana to western Ohio.

The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and defines Tornadoes “as a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Because wind is invisible, it is hard to see a tornado unless it forms a condensation funnel made up of water droplets, dust and debris. Tornadoes are the most violent of all atmospheric storms.”

Tornadoes are a reality for most of the country and indeed in most of the world. Next to the United States, the countries with the most concentrations of tornadoes are Argentina and Bangladesh.

Over 1200 tornadoes, on average, occur in the United States every year mostly during what is called “tornado season” which starts in May or June depending on the part of the country where you are located. Meteorologists tell us that tornadoes can occur at any time of day but most of them happen between 4 and 9 PM.

In today’s article we will share with you stories about tornadoes to show you the damage they do.

In this article readers are urged to ask questions. In this segment called Ask The Meteorologist, a reader wants to know about tornadoes. The answer includes an explanation of the three ingredients needed for a thunderstorm. First is warm and moist air at the surface that flows in from the Gulf of Mexico. The second ingredient is energy and the third ingredient is a trigger to get the air moving in the form of a low-pressure system.

“For a tornado to form with one of these storms, we need one more ingredient… Shear! Shear basically means that as the altitude increases, the wind changes its speed AND direction. Shear is what causes thunderstorms to rotate as they build up into the atmosphere. Rotating thunderstorms are also called Super-Cell storm.”

Our first story comes to us from AccuWeather and is about an EF2 tornado that hit near Tampa Bay with wind speeds of 132 miles an hour causing damage in the towns of Sarasota and Siesta Key. Apparently two were killed in Duette, FL.

Tornadoes are ranked on the Enhanced Fujita Scale which is a “damage scale and only a proxy for actual wind speeds”. The scale has 6 categories ranging from EF 0 with no destruction all the way up to EF 5 with total destruction and winds of 200 miles an hour or more. It should be noted that injury or death can be caused by any tornado because of flying debris.

This story from Sarasota, Florida warns of complacency on the part of residents in regards to weather warnings sounded for weeks in a strong El Niño year specifically about tornadoes in Florida which is the number one state in the country when it comes to tornadoes per square mile-even ahead of Kansas. The first tornado which we mentioned in the story above was a wake-up call for residents because they weren’t expecting it, and there was no mention of it on the news ahead of time.

This story features tornado safety tips in the wake of deadly tornadoes in the Tampa, Florida area. It points out that many people think that getting underneath a bridge or overpass is a good idea. Officials say that it is not because it offers little protection from flying debris. And just about everybody knows that trying to out run a tornado is a foolish idea because they travel in unpredictable paths at 60 miles an hour. If you are in a vehicle, officials say, the smartest thing you can do is get out of your car and find the lowest ground possible like a ditch or a culvert and cover up for safety. A mobile home provides literally no protection, so again find a ditch or culvert nearby.

2016 is an El Niño year which means that there are more unpredictable weather patterns which could lead to more tornadoes and severe weather.

We have an awesome selection of Emergency Preparedness aids including food and water solutions, first aid kits, emergency tools and weather radios to get you through just about any disaster. Don’t wait until the emergency strikes. It is your responsibility to plan ahead.

Tornadoes can strike anywhere so if you were in an open area like a park, a shopping mall, a car or in a mobile home, what would you do? Share any experience you might’ve had in a tornado with us so that others may benefit from your experience! 

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