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Autmn Tornado Outbreak Essay

1211 words - 5 pages

I would like to start out by what we know about tornados and outbreaks, and what is said to be the cause of such catastrophic events, such as the outbreak that occurred November 17th in the Midwestern, portion of the United States. Tornado outbreaks occur when there are multiple tornados that are said to be produced by the same weather system. The classification of an outbreak can vary depending on interpretation. It is said that in order to be classified as a “tornado outbreak” there must be a certain number of tornados that touch down. It is said that the US has the most tornados of any country. This can be attributed the location with in the mid latitude. The Rocky Mountains, have the ability to block moisture and “buckle” the atmospheric flow; thus forcing a lot of dry air at mid-levels of the troposphere, due to downslope winds. While the Rockies are forming a “dry-line” the Gulf of Mexico on the other hand contributes a lot of low level moisture. This mixture of warm air and cold air is to blame for the large number of tornados that form in the US. These events are most prevalent in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States, along with the Great Plains also known as (tornado alley) although some of these systems have been known to move as far North as Canada. The tornado outbreak that took place on the 17th of November is said to have been the one of the largest outbreaks to have occurred in eight years. This particular storm spawned a total of 72 tornados that swept through seven states, according to the National Weather Service. This outbreak is being considered the fourth largest outbreak of its kind, especially this time of year.
This outbreak covered an extensive amount of land; just to give an example there were tornados in Otsego County which is in northern Michigan, and confirmed tornados as far south as the middle of Tennessee. According to the National Weather Service tornados were not all that was happening that day, there were approximately 460 reports of extremely high winds, or straight line winds that occurred in the eastern part of the US, which also caused damage. On November 17th alone, there was said to be almost 130 tornado warnings issued.
The tornados that occurred during this event ranged on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. The Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF) ranges from EF0-EF5. This scale measures the particular damage to estimate the wind speed, as it is pretty impossible to measure the actual wind speed inside of a tornado. This Midwest tornado outbreak had a variety of tornado intensity. Most of the tornados were EF1-EF3 although a couple very strong EF4 tornados were reported. The first tornado to touch down that day was in Pekin, Illinois; the tornado was measured as an EF2, with a wind speed around 120 mph. thankfully there were no fatalities associated with this particular tornado, although there were at least 10 people injured from this event. In Washington, Illinois soon after the Pekin tornado the first EF4...

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