The Truth About Tornadoes

Unlocking the myths about tornadoes.

Tornados. The thought of them in most peoples minds brings terror and fear. For myself, a mixed bag of emotions. I for one, am a storm chaser. I pursue these incredible forces in hopes of relaying reports to the National Weather Service to help provide information that can help save lives. I enjoy seeing the sight of a large tornado tearing through the country side in the open plains of tornado alley. The only damage taking place is the grass below it and maybe a few fences. I however do not enjoy seeing homes and lives being destroyed. With the recent events in the South and Midwest of the large tornado outbreak and several others on a much smaller scale but still noteworthy. I would like to go over some of the facts and myths about tornadoes. There are many myths and urban legends that can get you killed or seriously injured if you believe them. The more knowlodge you have about tornadoes the more likely you will be safe in the event one takes place near your home. So lets get started!

Tornadoes do not cross rivers or lakes. Well, This isn’t true at all. Waterspouts are a type of tornado that form over water or move into a body of water. Many are observed in Florida and many other places around the world. Tornadoes have also crossed every major river east of the Rockies. Just because you live near a body of water or river you are not protected! In fact there have been several documented cases where tornadoes have crossed bodies of water and later the storm dropped aquatic animals such as fish and frogs back to the ground!

Tornadoes don’t go through valleys, hills or mountains. FALSE! Every year tornadoes touch ground in terrain that would’t be characterized as flat. During The Super Outbreak of April 27, 2011, many tornadoes went moved across hilly terrain. Yellow Stone National Park had a tornado occure at 11,000 feet above sea level! Brownwood Texas. This town sits lower then the surrounding area. Kind of a “hole” Had a violent F5 in the 70’s. As long as the conditions are favorable it doesn’t matter whats underneath the Supercell thunderstorm, the tornado will travel.  In 2010 a localized tornado outbreak occured in Arizona!

Tornados skip or jump… Not entirely true.. Tornadoes can be very sporadic in nature. Tornadoes go through a life cycle. During their cycle they can increase and decrease in strength. Also the pressure inside tornado flucuates. Causing the tornado to move up and down. Don’t be fooled though just because the funnel isn’t on the ground doesn’t mean their aren’t tornadic winds below! Also many times you will see one home destroyed the house next door is fine or little damage and the house next door to that one is destroyed. This is caused from what is called a multipule vortex tornado. A tornado with a parent cirulation with smaller vorticies extending beyond the main circulation. Typically multi-vortex tornadoes are stronger tornadoes. But with all things in nature there isn’t anything written in stone.

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