Tornadoes are a type of severe weather that can cause significant damage to homes and businesses. They are also a common cause of deaths and injuries in Louisiana.
Residents in Tangipahoa Parish, near New Orleans and Baton Rouge, are recovering from a tornado that hit Wednesday night. The twister tore a path of destruction through the community, ripping roofs off mobile homes and injuring people.
When you hear the term tornado, it can be easy to think of large twisters sweeping through places like Tornado Alley. But the truth is that even though Louisiana is not on the edge of this famous tornado belt, it still sees many twisters throughout the year.
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that can form as the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. They are a major threat to life and property.
They can last no more than a few minutes, but they can cover miles and miles of ground.
Tornadoes are often accompanied by tropical storms and hurricanes. These powerful storms draw energy from the warm tropical ocean waters.
While the number of tornadoes in any given year varies, the average number over a ten-year span has been steadily increasing in Louisiana since 1950. Some experts believe this increase is due to better technology used to report tornadoes as well as warmer Gulf water.
A tornado is a powerful storm that causes a great deal of damage. They are the result of a process known as rotation, which occurs when cool, dry air reaches the surface and interacts with rising hot, moist air.
Tornadoes have been increasing in areas of the country where they are most common, and some scientists believe that the increase could be due to climate change. Researchers are still trying to understand why, said Todd Moore, a geosciences professor at Fort Hays State University in Kansas.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning Tuesday for parts of Louisiana and the southern part of Mississippi, as well as Alabama. A powerful storm system is expected to bring strong tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds to the area later Monday night into Tuesday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tracks tornadoes, allowing you to see where they occurred and how much damage was caused. You can even click on a specific tornado and learn more about it, including damage estimates and whether someone was injured or killed.
Tornadoes are rare in New Orleans, but they do occur. While a surface feature analysis tells us that tornadoes are likely, it is the actual setup of the weather system itself that will determine how severe the threat may be for an area.
A low pressure system, such as the little red L above, is a classic setup for producing tornadoes. Other features that can help create a severe storm are a surface trough or dry line, which connects the low to a surface high, and a warm front (red lines with half-circle bubbles), which can shift winds away from the low.
Fortunately, most of the storms that hit Louisiana Tuesday through Wednesday did not produce tornadoes. However, a powerful storm moved through the state on Wednesday and caused damage in New Orleans and other parishes. A couple of tornadoes touched down in the city and one killed a person in St. Bernard Parish, which abuts New Orleans.
While it’s true that tornadoes are a natural part of the weather system, their frequency isn’t always predictable. Scientists say that there are several factors that can affect how often these powerful storms occur.
Among them are surface features such as low pressure systems (little red L), warm fronts and wind shift zones. They help provide the wind shear that’s necessary for tornado formation.
However, it’s also important to look at the timing of these events. The spring season in the United States is when we typically see the most severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
This is partly due to the fact that the Gulf of Mexico’s seawater temperatures are typically warmer than they would be during the rest of the year. This allows more moisture to build up in the region’s atmosphere and increase severe weather activity.
As a result, scientists say the overall number of tornadoes is increasing in the South. This is especially true in places like Alabama, where an EF3 tornado recently ripped off the roof of a church and killed six people.