Tornadoes Essay, Research Paper
Tornadoes, a horrifying, destructive natural disaster ripping apart the nation one twister at a time……………..
The world’s most violent cyclones; unpredictable columns of wind rotating at speeds exceeding 300miles per hour forming from specific atmospheric conditions. These conditions are a southerly flow of warm, moist air and a high-level westerly flow of cool, dry air. This combination produces an unstable atmosphere capable of strong updrafts and heavy precipitation. Tornadoes can develop on any type of terrain like mountains, valleys, deserts and swamps. They are common in spring and summer, but regardless of the time, if the conditions are right, a tornado will result. The cyclone forms when the air in the updraft of a severe thunderstorm begins to rotate owing to the formation of a low-pressure center. If the rotation reaches the ground, the funnel cloud sucks up air like a vacuum cleaner known to physicists as the conservation of angular momentum. The phenomenon allows the funnel cloud of a tornado to form a tight circle in which wind blows speeds greater than 500km/h. From the time they begin to the time they decipitate, they usually travel 10km, however, and some have been known to travel around 200-300km before they disappear! The ground speed is between 50-100km/h, usually slow enough for a vehicle to outrun it. The result of the friction of the high winds and contact with the ground makes it very noisy and has been compared to freight trains or jet planes. The funnel is a mile in diameter and looks like a rope consisting of water vapor, dust and debris. The size, shape and color can change rapidly over the lifetime of a twister depending on what type of debris is picked up. The path of a tornado is easily identifiable because of the debris and dirt that has been removed from the surface, leaving a trail behind. They virtually remove and destroy everything in its path and the objects that are picked up become deadly high-speed missiles. The reason that tornadoes are so devastating is that they are only detected once they form and that can happen in at any time.
With over 1,000 tornadoes recorded annually nationwide, it is no wonder that this severe natural disaster has a great effect on humans. Harsh tornadoes can devastate entire countries and literally brings a cities productivity to a halt. Many people are injured and killed from the tornado path, while others die from grief, or shock of the whole ordeal of having their life ripped apart and family members lost. Tornadoes do not only damage families, houses, buildings and the history of a city, but the economic structure suffers greatly. The damage and grief caused by tornadoes is never forgotten as the after-math of re-building the city structure and re-establishing business takes a while. The debris and wreckage alone takes a numerous amount of effort by firemen and wreckage crews to clean up. A plain example of the damage tornadoes can cause is what happened on April 21,1967, Chicago,IL. The intense storm system of 19 tornadoes that moved through the Midwest on that day produced tornadoes with winds speeds reaching between 207-260 mph and destruction and damages near $50 million. The worst part is that it took the lives of 58 people and injured hundreds more, many which could have been saved with more awareness and preparation in times of disaster. This is disaster that will be remembered for a long time. Hopefully in the near future the damage that tornadoes have caused annually will be reduced a significant amount because it is hard to believe that a world with so much money and intelligence can be wiped out in a single blow from this disaster.
Strong efforts from a series of foundations have been established to study and limit the great effects of this natural disaster. The CASI (Central Atlantic Storm Investigators) is one group of 1500 amateur and professional meteorologists, storm spotters and weather observers dedicated to the observation and documentation of weather events such as tornadoes. They study and monitor weather patterns daily providing us with up-to-date weather and natural disaster information so that our communities can be warned ahead of time. There are weather radio stations such as the NOAA and NWS that help put out warning signals and can be listened to in case of an emergency. Other efforts such as various books, newspaper/magazine articles and pamphlets are published annually to help you and your families prepare your house and emergency supply kits for your house. These recommended kits could carry anything from flashlights, medications, cash, flares, water and food, to personal hygiene products. Also procedures and steps of what to do during a tornado and dealing with the aftermath are provided. You can find such information at your local book store, library or disaster center. Another attempt to limit the damage of natural disasters such as tornadoes is building a “Disaster Resistant Community”. Cape Giraradeau, a city that is susceptible to many disasters, has been chosen as a guinea pig for this project. Efforts with the FEMA (federal emergency management agency) and the SEMA (state emergency management agency) has made this plan underway as of 1999 to constructing the city to be more disaster resistant. It is hopeful to save lives, reduce property damage and shorten the recovery period for the business and government.
Tornadoes are not yet tamed of course–how could they be? But clever research and new technologies have a promising future in reducing the over-all damage.