The states of the American Midwest have been ravaged by extremely violent tornadoes, with winds exceeding 300 km / h according to meteorologists.
On December 10, the United States was caught cold by a meteorological episode of impressive violence. Several dozen tornadoes swept through American lands, wreaking havoc in their path. The most destructive of them killed several dozen people; the passage of this meteorological monster is now etched into the landscape, and its visible trace from space is believed to be the second longest in US history.
The National Weather Service, the meteorological agency of the United States, measured winds of extreme violence, ranging from 254 to 332 km / h. These measurements and the damage report place this phenomenon in category 3 on the Fujita Enhanced Scale, which classifies the violence of tornadoes.
On the satellite images published by NASA two days after the incident and spotted by Futura, we can clearly see a line which corresponds to the passage of this tornado. The phenomenon was of such magnitude that it traveled over a distance of more than 300 kilometers through four different states.
Enough to resurface the specter of the famous “Tri-State Tornado” which ravaged the Midwest in 1925. As its name suggests, this episode saw a monstrous tornado travel more than 350 kilometers – a record that still stands – at across three states. The human toll was terrible, with 695 people dead. An impressive figure, which allows us to measure the extent of the progress made in prevention over the past century.
An off-season episode
What is less reassuring, however, is the timing of these two events. Unlike the Tri-State Tornado which hit in March, the current episode all the more disturbing as it occurs outside of tornado season. This usually runs from March to June; it is the very first time that such a devastating episode has occurred outside of this critical period. “No tornado has ever killed more than 80 people outside of the heart of tornado season”, Worries Bob Henson, meteorologist at Yale University.
A good opportunity for NASA to recall the link between human activity and the increase in extreme climatic phenomena. The link between global warming and tornadoes is ultimately quite tenuous, but they are far from the only ones that can cause such damage. The authors of the report point out that tropical cyclones and other extreme storms are likely to become increasingly frequent and violent over time, especially in already threatened regions such as the American Midwest.