2011 – The Year of The Tornado

Lately, it seems like every evening news broadcast starts with “a tornado touched down in                          today”.  Springfield, Massachusetts is not a place that would normally have to worry about tornadoes until now.  Like so many other cities in the past two months, Springfield was added to the list of devastation and destruction.

This year has been the deadliest year for tornado outbreaks since 1953.  More than 500 people have lost their lives by twisters in 2011.  The high death toll has led many to ask if tornadoes are becoming more frequent – and more deadly.  NPR spoke to a meteorologist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory about trends in tornado activity.  The outcome of the conversation “April certainly had historic tornado tallies, but before the tornado outbreaks on May 24 and 25, May was one of the slowest months on record”.  What stands out most about this year’s twisters is the number of related deaths.  Urban areas like Birmingham, Ala., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Joplin were all hit this year.

Scientists don’t really know why the conditions that spawn tornadoes have been happening more frequently this year.  It’s not clear what role, if any, climate change is playing.

So when you think you’re having a bad day, remember all of the tornado victims.  Suddenly, your day’s not looking too bad!

Author: Gail Miller

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