Tornadoes occur in every state in the Union, and each region of the nation has its unique "tornado season." The most intense tornadoes can carry automobiles a half-mile and level a well built home. Some tornadoes have crossed mountains, seemingly unimpeded. Some have lasted more than an hour, scouring the earth with wind speeds of 250 miles per hour. Nor are tornadoes unique to the United States. In Bangladesh, for example, they have killed a thousand people in a single swath.
Filled with dramatic accounts of tornado touchdowns, this book addresses the whirlwind of questions surrounding the phenomenon of the tornado. How often does a tornado hit a particular location? How fast are the winds? Do tornadoes really seek out trailer parks? Can they actually defeather a chicken? How many tornadoes hit the United States every year? How big can tornadoes grow?
Thomas P. Grazulis, a tornado research meteorologist and founder of the Tornado Project, has been a consultant for television specials, including Cyclone (National Geographic), Target Tornado (The Weather Channel), Forces of Nature (CBS), and others, helping provide answers to these questions for the general public. Here he sets the record straight about tornado risk, the Fujita Scale, and the number of tornadoes occurring annually. He also sheds light on misconceptions and contradictory theories about tornadoes. Recreating the incredible drama so often accompanying interactions between people and tornadoes, The Tornado: Nature’s Ultimate Windstorm provides detailed meteorological and statistical information on these marvels of nature, among the most fascinating scientific puzzles on the planet.
"At about 4:25 P.M. on June 9 , fishermen on the north end of the Quabbin Reservoir in western Massachusetts watched as an unusual boiling and tumbling cloud took the form of an enormous, revolving cylinder. Minutes later the end of the cylinder reached down like an enormous finger and trees began to snap in the woods of Petersham. . . . For the next eighty-four minutes, that funnel would cut a damage swath of unprecedented size and intensity in the northeastern United States. People died in the open, in cars, in lakes, and under homes in what would be called the Worcester tornado. It lifted and carried tons of debris eastward; tar paper, shingles, sheet metal, and plywood rained down onto two dozen towns in eastern Massachusetts. . . . Photographs and a piece of waterlogged, frozen mattress were found floating in the Atlantic Ocean. Trousers with a wallet were taken from the second floor of a home in Shrewsbury and dropped in Westwood, 25 miles east-southeast. . . . A Social Security card was returned to its owner from Hyannis on Cape Cod, 90 miles southeast of Worcester."--from the Preface