Outbreak of Tornados in Alabama
The recent tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama shocked the nation. Millions of people huddled around their televisions and surveyed the devastation from afar. The people of Tuscaloosa, unfortunately, had a front and center view, having had experienced one of the most damaging and powerful tornadoes in decades. What was considered to be a “perfect storm” set the tornado in motion, unleashing an incredible amount of devastation and damage. Moist warm air, tangled with dry, cold air and the result was a powerful tornado.
Those who lived in the path of the tornado, unfortunately, bore the brunt of this “perfect storm” and the damage it unleashed. The tornado in Tuscaloosa was one mile wide with winds speeds of more than 260 miles per hour. The latter classified it as an EF5 tornado, the most powerful of all tornadoes. The Enhanced Fujita scale ranks tornadoes on a scale from EF1 to EF5 with EF5 being the most powerful. Rankings are based on wind speed and the amount of destruction the tornado can potentially cause.
Typically, tornadoes only touch-down for a short while and then for a few miles at most. They then dissipate. The Tuscaloosa tornado didn’t follow this pattern. Instead, the tornado was sustained, incredibly, for 300 miles, traveling across both Alabama and Georgia.
Though the Tuscaloosa, Alabama tornado stayed on the ground for some time, it didn’t break the record for the longest amount of time a tornado has spent on the ground. This record belongs to a 1925 twister which ripped through Missouri and Illinois before finally dissipating in Indiana. In its wake, 747 people were left dead. This particular tornado stayed on the ground for three and a half hours, an incredible amount of time.
Tuscaloosa wasn’t the only city in Alabama hit by a tornado. Tornadoes ripped throughout the state, touching down in Birmingham, Huntsville and as mentioned above, Tuscaloosa, as well as these cities’ surrounding areas. Dekalb, Franklin, Jefferson, Walker, Lawrence and St. Clair counties recorded tornado-related deaths.
On April 27th, nearly 100 tornadoes touched down in Alabama. The violent twisters started during the day and extended well into the night. Seven of the twisters were categorized as EF 4 and two as EF 5 (the highest tornado category). Hundreds of people lost their lives and thousands were without homes, food and clothing. More than 400,000 people experienced power outages.
Tornadoes have been active throughout the South this tornado season. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, a tornado in North Carolina killed 22 people.
Experts have been trying to explain the recent spat of ultra-powerful tornadoes. Some believe that La Niña may at least be partly responsible for the severe outbreak of storms in the South. Not everyone feels this way. There are some people who don’t believe there is any connection between the two at all.
This year, tornadoes have active all over the world. However, nowhere have there been more tornadoes than in the United States. The U.S.’s Tornado Alley has been especially active. Tornado Ally consists of land which stretches from North and South Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico. The Appalachian and Rocky Mountains surround it. The dry, cold air that comes from the Rocky Mountains mixes with the warm air from the gulf. The result is powerful storms and tornadoes.
There are a couple more months in this year’s tornado season. Hopefully, the latter part of the season will be less busy and destructive than the beginning of it was. To stay safe from the storms your best means of protection is an underground storm shelter.