The sky darkens to an eerie shade of gray and green. A day that started clear and bright looks dark & ominous, and it’s not long before the sound of tornado sirens screech on the winds. This isn’t new for the people that live in tornado alley. This is tornado season and a scary time of year in tornado alley. It’s an area that stretches across the country’s heartland from North Dakota down to Texas. Tornadoes can hit anywhere in the United States, but it’s in tornado alley that they are the most powerful and devastating.
This tornado season is off to a whirlwind of a start. Almost 600 tornadoes have been reported this year. That’s well above the average, and we haven’t even hit the peak yet. The peak of tornado season is the middle of May when cold air from Canada flows south over the Rocky Mountains and collides with warm moist air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico. The result can be explosive with some thunderstorms towering over 60,000 feet high in the sky. And it’s the huge thunderstorms or super cells that give birth to the deadliest of tornadoes.
Each year, scientists and tornado chasers alike race to the plains in search of these monster storms to gather valuable information and take amazing pictures. But it’s also a very dangerous job. In fact, several tornado chasers were swept up in the very storms they were chasing and lost their lives. The strongest of tornadoes will have wind speeds of over 200 mph, and there have been some estimates of winds over 300 mph. Winds from these storms are so powerful that not only do they destroy homes, toss trees like tooth picks, but they can actually suck up the pavement from the road. I call these tornadoes, “erasers,” because they remove everything in their path.
I can’t imagine the feeling when you hear the sirens blare, and you have to scramble to your cellar and pray the tornado passes without damage. But this is what people who live in tornado alley deal with every year. It’s just another part of life and they’re hopefully prepared for it.
It looks like some major storms are headed their way now, and tornadoes are very likely over the next few days. Ask your friends to download WeatherScope so they can share it with us and the world live!