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A dangerously violent column of air that is in contact with the earth surface and a cumulonimbus cloud or in rare cases the cumulus cloud is the best description of a tornado which is also better known as a cyclone. Tornadoes come in different shapes and sizes with the most common shape been that of a funnel with varying sizes dependant on the violence/speed of the column of air. There are various types of tornadoes which include waterspouts and landspouts among others. Waterspouts are characterized by spiraling funnel shaped wind currents they are most often experienced in tropical equatorial areas and they seldom occur in high altitude areas. Cyclones have been experienced in basically every continent in the world with exception of the Antarctica, they however have areas where they occur frequently, they have then since been named for instance the Tornado Alley of the United States of America. They are also widely experienced in south-central and eastern Asia, South American among other areas. Experts maintain that tornadoes can be pre-detected by the accurate use of the Pulse-Doppler Radar and recognition of patterns in velocity and reflectivity of data, they can also be detected by the use of storm stoppers.
There are several different scales which are used to determine the strength of tornadoes, the most common scales include the fujita scale which rates tornadoes in terms of the intensity of damage caused, this scale has since been replaced by the enhanced fujita scale. According to this scale, F0 or EF0 represent the weakest tornado while F5 or EF5 represents the strongest tornado, there is also the Torro scale which ranges from T0 for weak tornadoes toT11 for the most powerful known tornadoes. Tornadoes are not necessarily visible, this aspect of tornadoes makes them even more dangerous because people are not able to prepare for the eventuality and act. However, as the scientist named Bernoulli explains in his principle, the intense low pressures causing the high wind speeds and rapid rotation of wind results in the water vapor to form as a condensation funnel in the air making the tornado visible which again s stated earlier is not guaranteed.
Occasionally a single storm might produce more than one tornado either simultaneously or in quick succession, this are referred to as tornado family. Tornado families are a series of tornadoes produced by one storm cell, when several of these such tornadoes are produced in a certain area, there is said to be a tornado outbreak. Tornadoes are again said to posses a wide range of colors, this is dependant of the area and environment in which a tornado forms. Waterspouts which mostly form in dry areas are said to turn very white and sometimes even blue. Tornadoes which move slowly collecting a lot of debris are said to be darker and dirtier, taking on the color of the debris.
Though tornadoes may occur in any part of the world, they are more frequent in America east of the Rocky Mountains during the summer and winter months of the year. There is reportedly an average annual, count of 800 tornadoes , 80 deaths and over a thousand casualties this in record the highest toll of the occurrence and effects of tornadoes making it the most probable reason why the area is considered more prone to tornadoes. The main cause of tornadoes is a thunderstorm which develops in warm and moisturized air condition and from there it advances in an eastward moving direction to the cold fronts. Research shows that these thunderstorms often produce large hails, strong winds and finally amount to tornadoes. During winter and early spring, large outbreaks of tornadoes occur which are caused by strong frontal systems which form central states and move eastwards.
The range of rocky mountains in Texas and the southern high plains are very prone to thunderstorms which form frequently as air from the ground flows upslope in order to reach the higher terrain, this, backed up with other few favorable conditions produces very dangerous and violent tornadoes. Tornado Alleys are considered as areas where the most violent and frequent tornadoes occur, this areas are well demarcated in the United States of America. They home to the most severe and the most frequent tornadoes, this is because of the rocky terrain and the unpredictable weather patterns which are very favorable to thunderstorms that later manifest into tornadoes killing and destroying a lot of property. In Southern states, the peak of occurrence of tornadoes is in March through May while in the Northern states the peak is mostly during the summer.
The unique geography of United States from tropics into the arctic, the non-mountainous regions which offer no blocking effort to the wind flow across these areas. This unique topography allows for frequent collisions between different air temperatures, this brings strong long lived storms and probable tornadoes. The Netherlands has reportedly the highest number of recorded tornadoes per area of a country worldwide. Bangladesh has the highest average annual death toll resulting from the occurrence of tornadoes, the death toll stands at an unbelievable 189 deaths. The main reason for this high death toll is due to a big population density, poor construction of structure and poor preparedness and storm knowledge.
Research shows that there is a great relationship between weather and climatic changes and the occurrence of tornadoes allover the world. For instance, research has shown that the increase in sea surface temperature of a source region (a region prone to tornadoes for example the Gulf of Mexico), will most probably course a subsequent increase in the atmospheric moisture content, this can cause an increase in severe weather and tornado activity especially in cold season. The opposite of the above weather activity is definitely true; therefore, decrease in sea surface temperature will lower the tornado activity. Research also depicts that climatic trends may affect tornadoes through teleconnections by shifting the larger weather patterns and jet streams. Some of the environmental changes which affect the intensity of tornadoes include the building or lack of buildings in an area.
This is so to state that if a given area had experienced a tornado some years ago when the area in question had no buildings, and/or is not much developed, and it unfortunately goes ahead to experience another tornado, the latter tornado will be more violent because a tornado which occurs in an area with no development is not considered violent. Provisional research shows that United States may experience an increase in the number of severe tornadoes later in the century due to climatic changes however, these results are just preliminary and more studies are required to justify this. Lightning conditions are very favorable to the outbreak of tornadoes.
Most modern developed and developing governments alike have invested heavily in sensitizing its citizens on the safety measures to take during the eventuality of disasters. This include tornadoes which are a serious threat, governments try to put allot of safety measure which will help its people top try and evade such catastrophes. All this in place, it is however paramount to know that the occurrence of tornadoes is unpredictable and it is not in any one country fully preventable, this means that we can put in measures to protect ourselves but when the phenomena occurs it might be very strong that the measures in place would be useless. Some of the action plans for tornado prevention are as follows; there needs to be a plan of action which depends on the house structures a family lives in. There is need to be protective materials around which include blankets and pillows, these should be within reach which helps you be in position to protect yourself from flying debris.
Families need to practice their plan of action at least once annually. This act enables a family to be prepared to execute the plan of action with efficiency as efficiency in execution of the plan of action is of the essence in order to have safety. Usually the government through the national weather service notifies people of a tornado watch in case there are rumors of the possible occurrence of a tornado. When this kind of warning is given, a family, an area or an institution needs to do a review of the action plan, tune in to local newscasters for the latest updates this helps in keeping alert. Myths such as equalizing there air pressures by opening the windows should not be practiced. Shelter should be sought in a sturdy table in the basement. In schools, shopping malls or other public areas people should run to designated areas. When in a vehicle driving, drive away in the right storm direction.
When tornadoes are reportedly top make relatively great damages when they strike, the good thin is that the tornadoes can be avoided by taking the tornado precautionary measures. When a person is well prepared for a tornado, research has shown that they most likely sail through the ordeal safely. In tornado prone areas, most buildings are built and a mandatory installation of storm cellars is given. Storm cellars are underground refuges which have saved a lot of lives during the outbreak of tornadoes. The building laws therefore require that any building in these prone areas have storm cellars. Weather radios are also a source of trends in weather they alert people on bad weather and therefore are helpful in ensuring that people in an area are aware of what is forthcoming; this helps them prepare and be in position to execute their action plan.
As said earlier, the United States of America experiences 1200 tornadoes annually which is four times that experienced in Europe. The mid western states being part of the Tornado Alley are very prone to their eventuality; tornadoes often strike in late spring and early summer. Recently the Greensburg tornado hit the area and had a very high strength. This statistics are reported top have fallen as compared to earlier years. In 1950s onwards (before recent years) the Midwest states of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa amongst others recorded very serious tornadoes. This has fallen drastically in recent years as statistic shows. For instance in a meteorological record of tornadoes from 1950 to 2006, the state of Nebraska is found to have experienced the highest number of tornadoes but in recent times the same record has been reported to have decreased. The fall in tornado frequency in recent years can be attributed to the developed weather forecasting methods. Though it is known that tornadoes are unpredictable therefore not fully preventable, it is however also true that the improved methods of disaster preparedness has decreased the damage intensity caused by tornadoes recently. This is why there is a tremendous decrease in the frequency of tornadoes in recent years in the Midwest.