21 hours ago · FULTONDALE, Ala. (AP) — A terrifying nighttime tornado that blasted through suburban Birmingham, trapping families in the remnants of shattered homes and killing a teenager sheltering in his …
All rights reserved Reference Tornadoes, explained Learn how these deadly storms form and wreak havoc, and how you can reduce your risk. Their winds may top miles an hour and can clear a pathway a mile wide and 50 miles long.
Also known as twisters, tornadoes are born in thunderstorms and are often accompanied by hail. These violent storms occur around the world, but the United States is a major hotspot with about a thousand tornadoes every year.
What is a tornado? A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground. It’s often portended by a dark, greenish sky. Black storm clouds gather. Baseball-size hail may fall. A funnel suddenly appears, as though descending from a cloud. The funnel hits the ground and roars forward with a sound like that of a freight train approaching.
The tornado tears up everything in its path. Every U. Related to tornadoes, waterspouts are weak twisters that form over warm water. They sometimes move inland and become tornadoes. Dust devils are small, rapidly rotating columns of air that are made visible by the dust and dirt they pick up.
Dust devils are not associated with thunderstorms. Either are fire tornadoes , which can spawn from wildfires. What causes tornadoes? About one in a thousand storms becomes a supercell, and one in five or six supercells spawns off a tornado. The season follows the jet stream —as it swings farther north, so does tornado activity. By this time the sun has heated the ground and the atmosphere enough to produce thunderstorms. Tornadoes form when warm, humid air collides with cold, dry air.
The denser cold air is pushed over the warm air, usually producing thunderstorms. The warm air rises through the colder air, causing an updraft. The updraft will begin to rotate if winds vary sharply in speed or direction. Water droplets from the mesocyclone’s moist air form a funnel cloud. The funnel continues to grow and eventually it descends from the cloud. When it touches the ground, it becomes a tornado. Hail is also common. Once a tornado hits the ground, it may live for as little as a few seconds or as long as three hours.
The average twister is about feet wide and moves about 30 miles an hour. Massive tornadoes, however—the ones capable of widespread destruction and many deaths—can roar along as fast as miles an hour. These measurements are scientists’ best estimations. Anemometers, which measure wind speed, cannot withstand the enormous force of tornadoes to record them. Tornado destruction Every year in the United States, tornadoes do about million dollars in damage and kill about 70 people on average.
Extremely high winds tear homes and businesses apart. Winds can also destroy bridges, flip trains, send cars and trucks flying, tear the bark off trees, and suck all the water from a riverbed. High winds sometimes kill or injure people by rolling them along the ground or dropping them from dangerous heights. The number of average deaths per year in the United States used to be higher before improved forecasting and warning systems were put into place.
How tornadoes are forecasted Meteorologists at the U. National Weather Service use Doppler radar, satellites, weather balloons, and computer modeling to watch the skies for severe storms and tornadic activity.
Doppler radars record wind speeds and identify areas of rotation within thunderstorms. Since Doppler radar has been in use, the warning time for tornadoes has grown from fewer than five minutes in the s to an average of 13 minutes by the late s. When weather conditions are conducive for tornado formation, the National Weather Service issues a tornado watch.
When a tornado has been sighted or indicated on radar, a tornado warning is issued. Some scientists, meteorology buffs, and adrenaline junkies hit the road during tornado season to chase storms.
Researchers race to place sensors in tornadoes’ paths. The sensors measure data such as wind speed, barometric pressure, humidity, and temperature. The challenge for researchers is being in the right place at the right time. They drive through severe storms, dodge lightning, face flash floods, and get pounded by hail—sometimes for years—before ever spotting a tornado.
All at considerable risk. In , National Geographic Explorer Tim Samaras and his team were killed while trying to study a tornado in Oklahoma.
See photos of Samaras’s work.
1 day ago · The tornado first touched down near Interstate 65 at Exit 267 in Fultondale, damaging a shopping complex off Lowery Parkway. It then caused severe damage to hotels along the intersection of Walker …
1 day ago · Tornado Rips Through Birmingham, Ala., Area Leaving At Least 1 Dead, Dozens Injured The brunt of the twister’s damage was sustained in the city of Fultondale, just north of Birmingham. The …
1 day ago · Dangerous and deadly tornado hits Fultondale, Alabama. Picture via Twitter. A large and dangerous tornado touched down near Fultondale, Alabama, a northern suburb of Birmingham, just before midnight on Jan. 25, leaving behind a slew of damage with reports of injuries and at least one dead.
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Nov 10, 2020 · Tornadoes can destroy buildings, flip cars, and create deadly flying debris. Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornadoes can: Happen anytime and anywhere; Bring intense winds, over 200 MPH; and Look like funnels. IF YOU ARE UNDER A TORNADO WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT …
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground. Tornadoes are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees, and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles.
Nov 02, 2016 · Top 10 best tornado video countdown. Tornadoes manifest themselves in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are a wondrous bright white, others are dark horri…Author: Pecos Hank