It’s sunny outside, it’s warm and out of nowhere the wind just picks up. I get up and look outside. “Sure is windy out today.” I mutter to my husband. He gets up shortly after and asks if I’ve checked the weather network. No warnings, says we’re getting 10km/h winds…I’m not too certain about that as the gusts are at least 60km/h or more. But none the less I go downstairs to get to work and the power goes out a half hour before my shift. We wait, and the power does not return. I was able to get back online because we have a backup power supply for the Modem. Sure enough the Weather Network finally posted a wind warning. I had to give my shift to someone else and I hoped for the best. The gusts were not ceasing. Water on the pond was taken up about 30 feet into the air and blown across. There was debris all over my deck which I had JUST swept yesterday! Recycling Boxes were being blown everywhere, cans and bottles littered the streets and there were white Caps on my pond. My pond got waves! I could have gone wind surfing! Canoeing would have been fun too but the trip back to the backyard would have been difficult.Many Trees fell in my town and all over Southern Ontario and Quebec. But this little wind storm, although it was inconvenient, it doesn’t measure up to the storms the United States got yesterday.
Yesterday as I was bracing for a so called “Severe Thunderstorm” there was an F5 tornado that Touched down in Tuscaloosa Alabama. It isn’t often a Tornado that is a mile wide touches down so I got very interested and tracked it. Earlier that day I had connected some University of Alabama students into a conference, I always enjoy Operating for this particular conference because the people (Mostly from the Southern States) are very friendly and polite. I hope they are all okay. I watched the Viral video of the monster Tornado as it ripped through the city right near the University. It headed East towards the next town of Birmingham and it continued on it’s way after leaving more destruction. The Death Toll still isn’t clear but it is a very high death toll for tornadoes. And this monster wasn’t the only Tornado that touched down and caused deaths. It is estimated that 110 Tornadoes touched down yesterday and there are 266 deaths so far.
And this wasn’t even the first major Tornado Outbreak. Only a week ago (April 14-16) about 150 Tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down in the United States and North Carolina had it’s worst Tornado outbreak in History. While these Tornadoes didn’t cause as many deaths it was still a fairly large outbreak.
The deadliest outbreak in history was the Tri State Tornado in 1925 which caused 695 deaths. The second deadliest outbreak was the outbreak in 1974 where 330 people lost their lives and 148 tornadoes touched down. The violent storms from yesterday might break the 1974 record. The damage is not estimated yet but it will likely be in the Billions.
The United States is the Country that gets the most Tornadoes. While tornadoes can happen in any country in the world the USA has ideal conditions to produce multiple tornadoes and strong tornadoes. Air masses from the Gulf of Mexico(warm and damp), The Rocky Mountains(cool and dry), and the Sonoran Dessert (hot and Dry) meet up and cause great instabilities in the atmosphere which causes the ideal conditions for violent storms that result in Tornadoes. The air masses meet and cause continuous up and down drafts which is what is needed to produce tornadoes. The more unstable the air is the more chances for Tornadoes. The exact mechanisms for a Tornado are still unknown and Scientists still research Tornadoes.
There are many common myths with Tornadoes as well. Green skies don’t necessarily mean a Tornado is about to strike but it does mean severe weather will. Hiding in the southwest corner of your basement does not necessarily increase your chances of survival, hiding under something sturdy, however does. Hiding under an overpass is also unwise. And having the windows open will not increase the chances of your house getting less damage. Houses do not blow up from pressure caused by tornadoes, if a Tornado hits your house it’s totaled whether you have the windows open or not.
I do not believe God or Global warming is responsible for the Tornadoes. Severe weather has happened for many centuries and we are only beginning to record it. La Nina is likely responsible for some of the conditions for severe weather. It has happened before and it will happen again be it tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes etc. Disaster happens and it can strike anywhere at any time. This year seems to have ideal conditions for severe weather so where I am I am excited for an active season. I hope it’s not too bad, I hope people remain safe and I hope that all the large tornadoes hitting the States is over. It is a sad year so far for victims of these deadly storms as well as disasters globally. And I simply want to remind all my Canadian folks that today’s wind storm is mediocre compared to what has been happening in Tornado Alley.