Over Easy: Tornadoes and Supercell Thunderstorms

More than 70 tornadoes were reported across various states over Mother’s Day weekend. The deadly EF-3 tornado that struck Van, Texas (North Central) was 700 yards wide and traveled on the ground for 9.9 miles.

National Geographic reports that more storms are expected in upcoming days, but precise tornado prediction in advance remains difficult despite recent advancements in weather science. Most tornadoes tend to occur in May and June when conditions are likely more favorable for tornado formation. According to the report, tornadoes kill an average of 60 people per year, and most deaths are caused by flying debris.

Hico, TX Supercell, April 26, 2015

Most intense tornadoes emerge from supercell thunderstorms:

The most intense tornadoes emerge from what are called supercell thunderstorms. For such a storm to form, you first “need the ingredients for a regular thunderstorm,” says Brooks.

Those ingredients include warm moisture near the surface and relatively cold, dry air above. “The warm air will be buoyant, and like a hot-air balloon it will rise,” says Brooks.

Over the weekend at our residence in the Lake Texoma area we learned (to my horror) that we cannot hear the warning sirens. Our TV and internet was the first thing to go in the storm(s)- which sounded like a bombing raid. We were only able to get our tornado warnings, followed by our flash flood warnings on our cell phones. Of course, everyone has a plan for what to do in a tornado-warned storm. But for some reason, underground shelters do not seem to be as prevalent as they once were. What ever happened to the concept of a storm cellar? Perhaps the answer is that storm cellars no longer serve a storage purpose.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Kelly DeLay on flickr.

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