Powerful storms and tornadoes have ripped through many parts of the U.S. in the recent days. In Tennessee, high winds, lightening, and heavy thunderstorms destroyed at least 10 homes and knocked down several power lines and trees on Sunday. There were no immediate deaths or injuries, authorities said.
On Monday, powerful storms blew through Massachusetts, causing extensive damage in the coastal city of Revere. The storms destroyed homes, and knocked out power for thousands of people. There were also no reports of immediate injuries.
A Stormy Season
It has been a very stormy week in many parts of the U.S.
On Thursday, two people in Cape Charles, Virginia were killed from a tornado that ripped through their campsite without warning. At least 20 others were injured. “It came in real quick,” Easterville volunteer firefighter Brittney Eder told the AP, “The sky turned jet black.”
On Sunday, some areas of Kentucky were hit with softball-sized hail. Hail was also reported in Michigan, and thousands in that state lost power following severe thunderstorms. There have been flooding and high winds in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
In Connecticut, a small tornado touched down in the town of Wolcott on Sunday. There was extensive storm damage in other parts of the state as well.
Tornadoes are nature’s most powerful storms. They can produce winds of up to 300 miles per hour, and often form suddenly. Typically, more than 1,000 tornadoes strike the United States each year. The National Weather Service has already recorded more than 185 twisters for 2014.
Tornadoes often form during giant storms called supercells. Inside a supercell, a spinning wind mass, called a mesocyclone, forms when warm air rises through cooler air that is blowing in a different direction. Tornadoes form out of mesocyclones—but not every mesocyclone creates a tornado. Many tornadoes are black or brown from the dirt and dust they suck up through the vortex, or center.
Tips on Safety
The National Weather Service has issued these tips to help people prepare for a tornado:
• Have a supply kit and action plan ready
• Pay attention to weather forecasts
• Take action when warnings are issued
• In a tornado, go to a basement or the innermost room on the lowest level of a building
• In a thunderstorm, go inside a building or car