. Space Travel News .

2011 is deadliest US tornado season in 75 years
by Staff Writers
Chicago (AFP) June 2, 2011

And it isn't over yet.

The deadliest US tornado season in 75 years has ripped babies from their mother's arms and transformed entire towns into Apocalyptic scenes of destruction as the toll hit 523 people Thursday.

And it isn't over yet.

While warmer summer weather should hopefully reduce their intensity, the peak tornado season runs through July and twisters can strike at any time.

The damage is as unimaginable as it is unpredictable.

Funnel clouds drop out of a darkened sky, tossing cars and mobile homes up into the air, pulling huge trees out of the ground and tearing buildings apart.

The smaller ones touch down so briefly that one side of a street is flattened while the other is largely unscathed.

The bigger ones stay on the ground for miles, destroying everything for blocks on either side of their random path.

Two bad days accounted for nearly all the deaths: an outbreak of dozens of tornados that killed 314 people in five states on April 27 and a massive twister that killed 138 in Joplin, Missouri on May 22.

It was the deadliest day and the deadliest single tornado strike since modern record keeping began in 1950. 2011 now ranks as the fifth deadliest year in US tornado history.

"We're still trying to wrap our heads around this one," said Greg Carbin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's storm center.

It's not clear whether climate change is playing a role, Carbin said.

Tornadoes are formed when two weather fronts of different temperatures create wind sheer.

The warmer temperatures caused by global warming should reduce wind sheer, but they have also led to more precipitation and could be breeding the thunderstorms that spawn twisters.

It is clear, however, that steady growth in the number of people living in "tornado alley" - the huge area between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains - has led to higher tolls, particularly since so many are living in mobile homes and houses lacking storm cellars.

"We've spread out on the landscape," Carbin told AFP. "It's easier for a tornado to hit something in this day and age."

While warning systems have improved dramatically in recent years, sirens can be little help against a twister powerful enough to knock a nine story hospital off its foundation and reduce brick buildings to rubble.

That's what happened in Joplin, where a nearly mile-wide twister packing winds of more than 200 miles per hour cut a six-mile (nearly 10 kilometer) swath of destruction through the town of 50,000 people.

"I don't know if man could build something strong enough to handle what came through," Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said after surveying the damage.

President Barack Obama called it a "national tragedy" and recalled stories of heroism at a memorial service Sunday.

One such hero was pizza shop manager Christopher Lucas, a father of two, who ushered more than a dozen people into a walk-in freezer as the tornado approached.

The freezer door wouldn't close from the inside, so Lucas found rope and closed it from the outside.

"Christopher held it as long as he could. Until he was pulled away by the incredible force of the storm," Obama said.

"He died saving more than a dozen people in that freezer."

The damage was so extensive that it took officials 10 days to identify all the bodies and reunite hundreds of people separated from their loved ones.

For many, days of frantic searching ended in despair.

Like the family of 16-month Skyular Logsdon, who was pulled from his mother's arms after she was knocked unconscious when the twister ripped apart their home.

Another series of deadly twisters struck just two days after the Joplin tornado, killing 16 people in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

A pregnant Catherine Hamil cowered in a bathtub with her three young children in Piedmont, Oklahoma that night.

When the storm passed, her 15-month-old son was dead, Hamil and her five-year-old daughter were in serious condition and her three-year-old son was gone.

It took two days to find his body.

Officials predict it will cost billions to repair the physical damage caused by the deadly twisters and months for life to return to normal.

Related Links
Weather News at TerraDaily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

2011 a year of 'urban' tornadoes
State College, Pa. (UPI) Jun 3, 2011 - Chance, a shift in the jet stream and expanding population centers are the main reasons 2011 is shaping up as a year for urban tornadoes, meteorologists say.

There have been 1,425 reports of tornadoes so far this year, the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said. With the year far from over, the total is already greater than the average of the last three years of 1,376 annually, forecasters said.

An unusually high number of towns and major cities have been hit this year, including Joplin, Mo., where the official death toll from a May tornado is 138

The movement of the jet stream farther east has not only created a higher number of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes but has also moved the core of storms and farther east than normal, Accuweather.com said.

With a substantially higher number of people per square mile from the Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic Seaboard than over the heart of Tornado Alley, in the High (and middle) Plains, the law of averages suggests tornadoes are bound to start hitting more towns and parts of major cities, meteorologists said.

As the population grows and expands into more rural and suburban areas, the increasing area of developed regions is becoming more of a factor, they said.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Deadly twisters rare in northeast: US
Washington (AFP) June 2, 2011
Deadly tornadoes like the one that struck Massachusetts are unusual but not unheard of in the northeastern United States, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. Massachusetts has seen an average of two tornadoes per year since 1950, when the US government began keeping records on the phenomena. Prior to Wednesday's tornadoes, which killed at le ... read more

Payload processing underway for ASTRA 1N

Cosmica Spacelines And XCOR Aerospace Tout Suborbital Payload Flight Opportunties

Should India Go Suborbital

ASTRA 1N delivered to French Guiana

Camera Duo on Mars Rover Mast Will Shoot Color Views

NC State Students Look To Support Manned Mission To Mars

Opportunity Spies Outcrop Ahead

A mole to explore the interior of Mars

Looking at the volatile side of the Moon

Parts of moon interior as wet as Earth's upper mantle

NASA-Funded Scientists Make Watershed Lunar Discovery

Moon may have more water than believed: study

'Dwarf planet' is covered in crystal ice

Carbon monoxide detected around Pluto

The PI's Perspective: Pinch Me!

Later, Uranus: New Horizons Passes Another Planetary Milestone

Second Rocky World Makes Kepler-10 a Multi-Planet System

Kepler's Astounding Haul of Multiple-Planet Systems Just Keeps Growing

Bennett team discovers new class of extrasolar planets

Climate scientists reveal new candidate for first habitable exoplanet

U.K. spaceplane passes technical review

J-2X Test Series Proves Part Integrity

UMaine Students Test Wireless Sensors on Rocket

Next-generation US space racers outline plans

China's Fengyun-3B satellite goes into official operation

Venezuela, China to launch satellite next year

Top Chinese scientists honored with naming of minor planets

China sees smooth preparation for launch of unmanned module

CU-Boulder to participate in NASA mission to land on an asteroid

ASU to build mineral survey instrument

NASA aims to grab asteroid time capsule

NASA Selects OSIRIS-REx as Next New Frontiers Mission

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement