Based on recent statistics, the number of tornadoes occurring every year in the United States is increasing. And while some argues that we simply have better detection, others point to the less characteristic pattern that some recent tornadoes have taken. For example, a tornado reported in Smithfield, N.Y. that took the lives of four people, was a first time tornado of that magnitude that had been seen in New York. Even governor, Andrew Cuomo, was surprised, “We don’t get tornadoes in New York, right? Anyone will tell you that. Well, we do now,” he said.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter when or where they happen, tornadoes are very dangerous. Here are six surprising things you may not know about them:
- While most tornadoes classify as FO – meaning they cause little damage, those that rank as F4 and above can cause devastating damage up to a mile wide and fifty miles long.
- While it’s rare, multiple tornadoes arise from the same storm cell. When this happens, it’s called a “tornado family”. The most destructive tornado family occurred on the afternoon of April 26th, 1991, when 54 tornadoes broke out on the Plains of the American Midwest, leaving 21 people dead and causing a massive $277 million of damage.
- The sound a tornado makes is related to the terrain it travels over. Tornadoes that move across loose soil and gravel can pick up massive amounts of debris, which will increase the sound made. Others tornadoes can be virtually silent, especially if they pick up little debris in their path.
- The F Scale rating for a tornado’s intensity is also referred to as the Fujita Scale. The scale ranges from F0 to F5, where F0 is assigned to tornadoes that cause minimal damage, and F5 is the number given to those which cause massive damage. Interestingly, tornadoes that rate as F4 and above, account for less than 1 percent of all tornadoes, but 70 percent of tornado-related deaths. Another way to look at the strength of tornadoes is to assess the damage they cause. For example, F0s and F1s often break tree branches, tear off roof shingles and blow over signs. F2s and F3s can lift cars off the ground, and destroy an entire roof. F4s and above can level building and throws cars 100 yards or more.
- The USA records more tornadoes than any other country, at around 1200 tornadoes every year, the majority of which occur in “Tornado Alley”.
- According to the National Climatic Data Center, the highest number of tornadoes are reported in Texas – although this might be due to the large land mass of the state – Kansas and Oklahoma rank second and third, respectively, with Florida reporting the highest number of tornadoes per square mile.
This article is brought to you by ASAP Roofing, a national leader in roofing restoration, hail and tornado damage, and exceptional customer service.