Winter Tornadoes: The United States Suffers From This Unusual Phenomenon | The Window | Present

There is a ‘Tornado Alley’ in the United States (Tornado Alley in English), an area that makes up several states in which it is normal for these atmospheric phenomena to occur each year, usually between April and September. What is not normal, experts warn, is that they occur in winter.

In Kentucky and Tennessee, also part of Tornados Alley, neither had made landfall in a December between 1991 and 2010. This trend, however, has radically changed in recent years.

A devastated area

A tornado in winter is “extremely rare”, as explained in La Ventana Ruben Del Campo, meteorologist and spokesperson for the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET). And yet this year at least 90 people have died as a result of an unprecedented series of tornadoes in this area of ​​the United States, specifically in six of its states.

“Suddenly we have there, not just any tornado, but a series of tornadoes that also sweep almost 400 kilometers. This is very unusual at any time of the year, but we are talking about what happens in December, in the cold season ”, he assured.

“It is still too early to know if it has been the most devastating or not, but one of the most devastating of course yes, and in terms of the distance covered we are probably talking about a record ”, he added.

Climate change, the culprit?

Tornadoes occur when there is great atmospheric instability, when there is a contrast between the temperatures of the surface, which are warmer, and those of the upper layer of the atmosphere, which are much colder. Del Campo explained that in this case, “a key ingredient was the high temperatures that were seen in the eastern United States in the previous days, also very unusual for the time of year.”

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Such a phenomenon in winter, caused in part by the increase in temperatures, could lead to think that it is another consequence of climate change, of the warming that the earth’s surface has suffered for decades. Del Campo, however, warns that we do not know for sure if there are really more violent meteorological phenomena now than in the last century.

Are there more tornadoes now than before?

A tornado, the meteorologist explained, is usually a much smaller phenomenon than the one observed these days in the American country, normally at most four kilometers long, and occupying an area of ​​five kilometers.

“These phenomena of such a small scale escape a little from climate models and their observation is difficult. So, if we are observing an increase in their number and now more are observed, it is worth wondering if it is because we observe better, because the number is really increasing or both ”.

Of course, he warns that regarding large-scale atmospheric phenomena “we have to get used to and prepare, because really on an increasingly hot planet, the ingredients for this type of violent phenomena to occur are increasingly favorable.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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