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Why the United States is the perfect breeding ground for tornadoes



Within the United States, each country has had at least one tornado, and some have dozens each year.

The United States is special about producing so many tornadoes, especially violent ones.

Texas has an average of 140 tornadoes each year – the largest in any state. Kansas, Florida, Oklahoma and Nebraska finished in the top five.

But the total number of tornadoes does not always tell the whole story. For example, although Alabama has an average of 42 tornadoes a year – more than three times less than Texas – he is at the top of the list of tornado deaths.

Alabama has an average of 14 tornado deaths a year, almost double the next highest – Missouri with eight deaths a year.

The time of day and the topography where the tornado occurs have a big difference in mortality.

Topography in Alabama and other southern states often includes hills, plateaus, and many more trees than plains such as Kansas, Texas, and Nebraska, where tornadoes can often be seen for miles. The more likely a tornado is to be seen, the faster the tornado is reported, allowing more time for people to be alerted and seek shelter.

Southern states such as Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas also see more tornadoes overnight than any other state. This can lead to higher deaths because many people are asleep and do not know that a tornado is approaching.

“Southeast tornadoes are more dangerous than their Great Plains counterparts,” said Brandon Miller, a meteorologist at CNN. “There are a number of reasons for this, some of the weather and some geographically. Southeast tornadoes often travel faster, driven by a faster jet stream.”

All of these factors can lead to higher mortality in the southern states than in the plains. But all of these conditions have a few things in common: ideal weather conditions for tornado formation.

“The main ingredients for strong thunderstorms that can make a tornado are warm, humid air near the ground, relatively dry, cool air up (about 10,000 to 30,000 feet) and horizontal winds in the environment that the storm forms, which increase as you cross from the ground and change direction with altitude, blowing from the equator near the ground and from the west upwards, “said Dr. Harold Brooks, a senior scientist at NOAA’s National Heavy Storm Laboratory.

Low-pressure systems in the United States draw warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico and cool, dry air upward from the Rockies or High Desert to the southwest. The countries that fall between these two regions are ultimately in the perfect place to ignite the hard times.

“Nowhere else in the world is there great hot water from its equator with a wide range of mountains stretching from north to south to west of it,” said Dr. Brooks. “All other tornado-prone regions have at least one suboptimal function.”

The United States leads every other country in a tornado

Other countries are experiencing tornadoes, including Germany, Australia, South Africa, East China, Japan, Bangladesh, Argentina and others.

Europe as a whole is comparable to the size of the United States, but there is a huge difference in the number of tornadoes and tornado deaths.

From 2011 to 2020, the United States averaged 1,173 tornadoes a year, and Europe about 256. Dr. Peter Gronemeyer, director of the European Heavy Storm Laboratory (ESSL), warns that the European number could be a low-level country.

“There are probably still weaker tornadoes in some countries, such as France and the United Kingdom,” Gronemeyer said.

European Russia (which is part of the country to the west of 58 degrees east longitude) tops the list with 86 tornadoes a year. Germany is in second place with an average of 28 tornadoes per year.

The peak density of tornado reports coincides with the high population density over Belgium, the Netherlands and northern Germany, according to a study of severe storms in Europe published in December 2020.

The study also reports that thunderstorms are twice as common over the United States, with up to four times more storm reports than in Europe.

What most countries have in common is the time of day when tornadoes occur, which are most common in the afternoon and early evening. But the peak season is not the same. In the United States, spring is the peak of tornado activity. For Central and Northern Europe, the main tornado season is summer, while for the western and central Mediterranean it is autumn and winter in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The tornado is not limited to the Northern Hemisphere. Australia has dozens each year, and South Africa also reports annual events. South America, like other continents, has its own tornado hotspot, known as the “pasillo de los tornados.” This tornado corridor includes Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and part of Brazil.
According to the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, tornadoes are relatively rare there. On average, about seven to 10 moderate to severe tornadoes occur in New Zealand each year.

The tornado in the Southern Hemisphere usually rotates clockwise, which is the opposite of how a tornado rotates mainly in the Northern Hemisphere.

The frequency of tornadoes is highlighted around the world.

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