Understanding	
  a	
  Tornado	
  
A	
  tornado	
  is	
  a	
  violently	
  rota/ng	
  column	
  of	
  air	
  that	
  is	
  in	
  contact	
  with	
  both	
  t...
Recently,	
  a	
  tornado,	
  with	
  peak	
  winds	
  es/mated	
  at	
  210	
  miles	
  per	
  hour	
  struck	
  Moore,	
...
Some	
  countries	
  have	
  meteorological	
  agencies	
  which	
  distribute	
  tornado	
  forecasts	
  
and	
  increase...
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Understanding a tornado

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Understanding a tornado

  1. 1. Understanding  a  Tornado  
  2. 2. A  tornado  is  a  violently  rota/ng  column  of  air  that  is  in  contact  with  both  the  surface  of  the   earth  and  a  cumulonimbus  cloud.  They  are  o:en  referred  to  as  twisters  or  cyclones.   However,  the  word  cyclone  is  used  in  a  wider  sense  in  meteorology  for  closed  low  pressure   circula/on.  Tornadoes  come  in  many  shapes  and  sizes,  but  they  are  typically  in  the  form  of  a   visible  condensa/on  funnel,  whose  narrow  end  touches  the  earth  and  is  o:en  encircled  by  a   cloud  of  debris  and  dust.  The  most  extreme  tornadoes  can  a@ain  wind  speeds  of  more  than   300  miles  per  hour.     Tornadoes  have  been  observed  on  every  con/nent  except  Antarc/ca.  However,  the  vast   majority  of  tornadoes  occur  in  the  Tornado  Alley  region  of  the  United  States,  although  they   can  occur  nearly  anywhere  in  North  America.  They  also  occasionally  occur  in  south-­‐central   and  eastern  Asia,  northern  and  east-­‐central  South  America,  Southern  Africa,  northwestern   and  southeast  Europe,  western  and  southeastern  Australia,  and  New  Zealand.  Tornadoes  can   be  detected  before  or  as  they  occur  through  the  use  of  Pulse-­‐Doppler  radar  by  recognizing   pa@erns  in  velocity  and  reflec/vity  data,  such  as  hook  echoes  or  debris  balls,  as  well  as  by   the  efforts  of  storm  spo@ers.  
  3. 3. Recently,  a  tornado,  with  peak  winds  es/mated  at  210  miles  per  hour  struck  Moore,   Oklahoma  and  adjacent  areas  killing  23  people  and  injuring  377  others.  The  tornado  was   part  of  a  larger  weather  system  that  had  produced  several  other  tornadoes  over  the   previous  two  days.  Despite  the  tornado  following  a  roughly  similar  track  to  the  even   deadlier  1999  Bridge  Creek–Moore  tornado,  very  few  homes  and  neither  of  the  stricken   schools  had  purpose-­‐built  storm  shelters.     Though  tornadoes  can  strike  in  an  instant,  there  are  precau/ons  and  preventa/ve  measures   that  people  can  take  to  increase  the  chances  of  surviving  a  tornado.  Authori/es  such  as  the   Storm  Predic/on  Center  advise  having  a  pre-­‐determined  plan  should  a  tornado  warning  be   issued.  When  a  warning  is  issued,  going  to  a  basement  or  an  interior  first-­‐floor  room  of  a   sturdy  building  greatly  increases  chances  of  survival.  In  tornado-­‐prone  areas,  many  buildings   have  storm  cellars  on  the  property.  These  underground  refuges  have  saved  thousands  of   lives.  
  4. 4. Some  countries  have  meteorological  agencies  which  distribute  tornado  forecasts   and  increase  levels  of  alert  of  a  possible  tornado,  such  as  tornado  watches  and   warnings  in  the  United  States  and  Canada.  Weather  radios  provide  an  alarm  when   a  severe  weather  advisory  is  issued  for  the  local  area,  though  these  are  mainly   available  only  in  the  United  States.  Unless  the  tornado  is  far  away  and  highly   visible,  meteorologists  advise  that  drivers  park  their  vehicles  far  to  the  side  of  the   road  and  find  a  sturdy  shelter.  If  no  sturdy  shelter  is  nearby,  geng  low  in  a  ditch   is  the  next  best  op/on.  Highway  overpasses  are  one  of  the  worst  places  to  take   shelter  during  tornadoes,  as  the  constricted  space  can  be  subject  to  increased   wind  speed  and  funneling  of  debris  underneath  the  overpass.  

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