Well here we are, on the last day of March, which means that tomorrow is the first day of April and for lots of folks, the first day of Tornado Season. From reading the news I'm sure you have heard of the very desctructive tornado's that already happened near New Orleans. Their actual hurricane season technically begins in April so that particular tornado jumped the gun a bit.
Tornadoes are terrifying and very destructive and there's nothing we can do to stop them or even really accurately predict them. The best meteorologists can do is say that conditions are such that tornadoes are likely within a certain area. And then we, puny humans, have to make the best decisions that we can. Funny how powerless we can be. Humans! The top of the "food chain" and Mother Nature bests us over and over again.
As is my way, I thought it might be interesting to read up on tornadoes a bit. And I learnd a lot of things! For one, oddly, most of the collective information I found was between 10 and 20 years old. I'm sure that information is still being gathererd, I just didn't find the site with the most current info. And now that we know the info about I am about to spew here is a bit dusty and musty here we go.
First of all I wondered if there are any states that see zero tornadoes and, well, I found some conflicting info on that. One site said that Alaska has seen no tornadoes at all ever. Another site said that there have been four. Four! May as well be zero. So along that line very similarly is Rhode Island with only 20 in recorded weather history. Such a low number that some sites say zero. I was actually surprised about Rhode Island. It's so close to other states that I know have seen tornado activity I wonder why their number is so low? Maybe it's so small that tornadoes over look it?
On the low side also is Hawaii with 40 confirmed since 1950. But even lower is Vermont with only 1 recorded and New Hampshire registers an average of one a year. So if you are tornado phobic, I guess Vermont and New Hampshire would be the perfect places for you to live!
On the other end of the scale, Texas who is reknowned for doing things big, is the state with the most tornadoes. Of course it's a doggone big state so I suppose that has something to do with it, but between 1950 and 2011 a whopping 8,007 funnels have touched ground in the Lone Star State. Holy Cats!
Since it's a neighbor to Texas, it would be no surprising to learn that Oklahoma sees about 60 tornadoes a year, But Kansas and Florida both see more with Kansas clocking in close to 100 and Florida around 66. A lot of the tornadoes in Florida are spin off's from Hurricanes which we also see a lot of. But then, we have more land meeting water than most other states too, so I suppose that makes sense.
I thought it was interesting that tornadoes have been reported on every contient in the world EXCEPT Antartica. I guess the tornado cannot survive in the cold. The united states has more tornadoes than any country in the world, but also the US is bigger than most other countries so that must be taken into account. BUT the United States also sees stronger and more violent tornadoes than any other country. It's the perfect conditions created by the warm water currents of the gulf meeting the cold rocky mountain air that stir things up.
Here are a few other interesting tidbits that I learned about tornadoes: most tornadoes happen in the afternoon or evening between 4 and 9 pm., they most often occur in spring and summer, tornadoes can occur over water but then they are referred to as water spouts, and they are quirky and follow no particular path, hopping, skipping and jumping to one spot to another before disappearing entirely and couple of other words for tornado are Twister and Cyclone.
In it's typical unpredictable fashion, there was actually a tornado touchdown in Sarasota a couple of weeks ago. There was a little bit of structure damage and a tree that came down so I suppose it wasn't too bad. A surprise, but not as bad as it might have been.
Here's my feeling on it. There is very little in this world that we can actually control. Be smart, be prepared, have a plan but I, for one, cannot (and will not) live in a state of perpetual fear. Enjoy the good days and then hunker down and protect yourself (and your loved ones) as best you can when the bad days happen. This too shall pass.
Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Cyclones, Oh My!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.