- BBC News World
“I’ve never seen a violent one or heard one make such a roar, which sounds like the horn of a train approaching directly at you.”
With these words Stephanie Cox, chasing storms, described the devastating hurricane that struck last Friday the state of Mississippi (United States), causing 26 deaths and many damages.
“I still can’t get over what I saw,” Cox told the BBC about the “monster” weather phenomenon.
Chasing storms has probably seen a lot since it is based in Oklahoma, the state of its capital, Oklahoma City is the city hardest hit by the tornadoes..
There were more than 170 people there, according to estimates from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (SPC – NOAA) Storm Prediction Center.
As this institution explains in a section of its Frequently Asked Questions about tornadoes, although it is difficult to measure the number of phenomena of this kind that occur in the world, among other things due to methodological differences, “the United States remains the main place where tornadoes occur.”
In this country, an average of about 1,200 are registered each year.
Other places where these phenomena occur frequently are the prairie provinces of Canada (Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan), northeastern Mexico, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, northern Argentina, southern Brazil, and southwestern Russia.
But what makes the United States vulnerable to hurricanes?
Location and association between factors
Although scientists point out that the causes that lead to the formation of tornadoes are not completely known, it is known that They tend to occur when cold, dry air collides with warm, moist air.
And it turns out that it is in the mid-latitudes, exactly where the 48 states of the contiguous United States lie, that this asymmetry is often exacerbated.
Add to that the cool air flowing freely from the north across the Great Plains, its proximity to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the dry air coming from the Rocky Mountains, and you have all the ingredients for this to happen. strange. .
Experts point it out It is no coincidence that the regions of Mexico and Canada where most tornadoes occur are those adjacent to the United States.
In the United States there was usually talk of the so-called “Tornado Pass” To indicate areas of the state considered to be most at risk for these events, including the area east of the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, the Midwest, and the South.
However, experts point out that recent trends point to this A second danger zone extends from the southeast of the country to the north across the mid-Atlantic region.
SPC-NOAA advises so “C”sir of tornadoes” only represents a map of the places where there has been a greater incidence of this type of phenomenon.
They assert, “Violent or fatal tornadoes occur outside of this tornado corridor every year. Tornadoes can occur almost anywhere in the United States, including west of the Rocky Mountains and east of the Appalachians, and even in Canada and beyond.”
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