Understanding the Upcoming Tornado Storm in the USA


One of the most dreaded natural disasters is the tornado which is found in many parts of the United States especially during the spring and early summer. There are some regions that are commonly known as the tornado alley, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, eastern Colorado and western Iowa, this region is normally most active during this time. The tornado is now at its early stages of the season, and it is crucial to know what tornadoes are, what results in them, how they are classified, and the steps to take when one is approaching your region. One must be ready for such deadly storms as this is a way of surviving them.

Tornadoes: Nature’s Most Vicious Twister and How They Occur

Tornado is a violently rotating column of air and this column can move between a thunderstorm and the ground. Tornadoes can form when all that is required in the atmosphere is gathering in one place. These ingredients include:

  • The ocean also influences temperature and humidity, with warm and moist air near the surface creating a tropical climate.
  • The air mass over the higher terrain is cooler and drier than the air mass at the lower altitude.
  • Crosswinds, gusts or shifts in wind speed and intensity within a particular altitude.
  • It is important to have a weather disturbance to begin the storm.

When all these requirements are met, then the rising, rotating air can forcibly start moving like a top. This spinning air results in funnel cloud to descend from the particular storm in the ground. The spinning funnel, upon touching the ground, becomes a tornado.

Tornadoes are violent whirls of destructive wind which can reach a velocity of more than 200 miles an hour and can be as wide as one and a quarter miles. It can travel more than 50 miles as they go on the ground; they are destructive on the land they cross. To be precise, there were about 1200 tornadoes registered in the United States annually.

Categorizing Tornado Intensity

Tornadoes are measured with reference to something known as the Enhanced Fujita Scale. This scale ranks tornadoes from 0 to 5 based on the intensity of the damage caused:This scale ranks tornadoes from 0 to 5 based on the intensity of the damage caused:

MO1: 65 mph to 85 mph winds. Mild loss such as branches falling, sign breakages.

EF1: With wind speeds of between 86 and 110 mph. Relatively severe impact such as breaking glasses, destruction of automobiles, and damage to roofs.

EF 2: Winds from 111 to 135 mph. Extensive damage, mobile homes have been flattened, the likes of large trees have been pulled up by their roots, cars have been lifted.

EF3: winds of 136-165 mph. Heavier – complete loss at least of roofs and walls, structures with trains overturned.

EF4: Maximum sustained wind speed of wind ranging between 166- 200 mph. An exaggeration with warranted merit including well constructed homes being flattened, structures floated away, cars become flying objects.

The EF5 scale involves wind speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. Remarkable features include well constructed homes collapsing and any thing that could be the size of an automobile being hurled through the air for distances greater than one hundred meters.

Assessing Early Season Predictions

On the basis of research studies carried out with reference to the diverse predictors, the scientists try to determine what is in store in the next tornado season. Some of these include:

ENSO: ENSO is an acronym that refers to El Nino Southern Oscillation which are climate phenomena that occur in the tropical Pacific ocean that have an impact on the world climate. Tornadoes are often more frequent when La Nina is the climate condition and currently, the United States is in this phase of the climate situation because La Nina brings sudden changes to the position of the jet stream.

Storm reports: Rain and storm activities that occur in the month of January and February can lead to an active warm season since patterns are established for violent weather conditions. More than 230 tornadoes have been reported this year, which means that this should be quite busy.

Temperature and moisture: The temperature and humidity of the ‘airmasses’ depend on latitude and are more conducive to tornadoes if other conditions exist. While the average temperature for the Southern U.S. is expected to be higher in the spring as compared to the normal temperatures.

Jet stream: A persistent and powerful jet stream providing rotating energy in the atmospheric layer coupled with surface-based instability is a primary requirement for developing severe storms. Forecasters expect the strengthening of the jet stream to continue through spring.

All of these parameters and several others are signaling an active next tornado season mainly across Dixie alley and some parts of Tornado alley. There are more chances of multiple tornado occurrences. However, the number of tornadoes that actually takes place every year can be the subject of change due to other minor factors.

Historical Perspective

To put the potential upcoming tornado season into some context as you look at the future years, it can be helpful to look at other years that have had significant tornadoes. Some of the worst outbreaks include:Some of the worst outbreaks include:

1925 Tri-State Outbreak:

  • 36 and more tornadoes including F5
  • The attack resulted to the death of 695 people with over 2,000 other individuals being injured.

1974 Super Outbreak:

  • This includes 148 twisters that swept across 13 states.
  • 330 people have been killed and more than 6,000 were injured

2011 Super Outbreak:

  • Three hundred and sixty tornadoes in three consecutive days
  • 324 people killed

These outbreaks illustrate the point that tornadoes can occur virtually anywhere in the eastern half of the U.S., sometimes with very short notice. However, with the improvement of technologies in the forecasting systems and in communication, the time of warnings and the level of awareness have dramatically enhanced. It means that people need to learn the basic principles of tornado protection.

Safety in Tornado Alerts and Warnings

When you hear a tornado watch it means that tornadoes might occur in your state or parts of it if it is a whole state or in your county if it is a localized one. This is the time to stay weather-friendly in case they are any releases on the weather forecast. Be aware of where a nearby shelter is and be prepared to go there as soon as possible in the event of a warning being given out.

In the event that a tornado warning gets to be activated, it implies that a tornado has been sighted or there is a possibility of one by use of a weather radar. Do not delay taking shelter in the lowest level of a well-built structure, if possible in a small interior space such as a closet or Bathroom. In houses or any small structure, take position under some solid object so that falling objects will not harm you. They should not seek shelter in a mobile home or attempt to evacuate by car during the warning.

Remember to avoid touching any power lines that are lying on the ground and be cautious of any other obstacles on the ground after the storm has cleared. Tune in to calls to find out if it is, okay to go out. Likewise, tornadoes do not need to be a very big disaster as long as the necessary preparations and knowledge about safety are observed.

These are some of the fashion trends that are available in the market this season.

Ideally, one would like to predict when and where tornadoes will occur many months in advance and that is still a challenge. They also have sub-scales for the set up of the weather patterns that are in smaller scale factors. However, current signs suggest that the upcoming tornado season will be an active one, in which many tornadoes will occur in most of the regions that are usually affected.

An enhanced jet stream pattern is predicted up to spring, coupled with very hot and damp air coming from the Gulf that moves north. This will in turn lead to an increased probability of the formation of severe thunderstorms. The specific aspects of individual tornado occurrences will become more defining within the 7-10 day time frame as shorter-term models paint better resolution of features leading to cyclogenesis and surface instability.

However, it is for now and the regions across the Southern Plains through the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys should expect an above average tornado risk that extends into early summer before the peak months migrate north to the Upper Midwest where they are more usually located.

In addition, safety plans should be ready; one should pay attention to daily weather reports; and be ready to act in case of getting a warning. Much can be done to prevent and control loss of lives during what experts are foreseeing to be a severe severe weather season.


Tornadoes continue to be one of the most passionate and unpredictable phenomena which are able to cause great damage. However, as the existence of the prediction areas and ways of the public announcement of the alerts have enlarged, the times of the advance warnings have also been extended, thus resulting in the saving of the lives of people. But individualism and individual responsibility have not changed and is an important aspect.

While the peak tornado season is here, those regions under high risk for tornadoes must ensure they have their emergency management strategies ready and also be prepared on a daily basis as parameters come into focus to enable further significant outbreaks to occur. Thus, one must note that tornado calamities can be minimized as the state-of-the-art in tornado early warning systems advances towards the detection of every tornado threat with sufficient warning time. However, tornadoes will still be part of the scenery in some parts of America, particularly as climate change prepares the field to roll the dice for unpredictable severe weather conditions.

The best protection one can have is being prepared and alert for whatever the tornado season that is to come has in store.

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