Day_174: (Revised) Unraveling the Twister Mysteries: A Captivating Dive into the Science of Tornadoes


Tornadoes rank among nature’s most formidable forces, with potential wind speeds exceeding 300 miles per hour and wreaking havoc on homes, businesses, and communities. This piece delves into the atmospheric dynamics leading to tornado formation and the ongoing research enhancing our comprehension of these violent weather phenomena.

Formation and Conditions

Tornado genesis stems from specific atmospheric conditions—namely, the collision of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico with cold, dry air from Canada, fostering unstable conditions ripe for severe thunderstorms. Within these storms, varying wind speeds and directions at different altitudes (wind shear) play a pivotal role, promoting the air column’s rotation and eventual condensation into a tornado.

Structure and Measurement

A tornado’s anatomy features a rotating air column, or vortex, visible as a funnel-shaped cloud laden with debris. Their intensity is gauged using the Enhanced Fujita Scale, ranging from EF0 (weakest) to EF5 (strongest), based on inflicted damage and wind speed within the vortex.

Tornado Watches vs. Warnings

Understanding the distinction is crucial for safety: a *tornado watch* signals potential tornado conditions, whereas a *tornado warning* indicates an imminent or occurring tornado, urging immediate shelter.

Safety Protocols

Preparedness involves staying informed, having a shelter plan, and knowing protective actions if caught outdoors or driving during a tornado.

Historical Impact

Historic tornadoes, such as the 1925 Tri-State Tornado and the 2011 Joplin Tornado, underscore the critical need for preparedness and awareness due to their devastating impact.

Research and Climate Change

Tornado chasing and research have enriched our understanding of tornado dynamics. Meanwhile, the potential influence of climate change on tornado patterns—including frequency, intensity, and geographic shifts—warrants ongoing study to adapt preparedness and response strategies effectively.

The intricate science behind tornadoes reveals the significance of continued research and preparedness in mitigating the impact of these awe-inspiring yet destructive storms. As our knowledge evolves, so too does our capacity to predict, prepare for, and protect against the formidable power of tornadoes.


Day_158: Disaster Warning (2)

I will update a column of the NIED e-mail magazine which I wrote a long time ago because the content is not faded with time. (I will do this step by step in Japanese and English) I will also add comments to update the situation.

Sorry, now I am revising this post because of the difficulties of the translation. This post will be revised again. Thank you.

Published June 4, 2010
NIED-DIL e-mail magazine: Disaster Warning (2)

■ Disaster Warning (2) ■

Following the tornado that hit Saroma in Hokkaido in November 2006, I was given the opportunity to visit Oklahoma in the United States in February 2007 for a survey on tornado disaster response, especially tornado disaster alerts. In particular, I visited mainly the NWC (National Weather Center) built inside the University of Oklahoma. At there, Professor Emeritus Yoshikazu Sasaki helped us. He is very famous for being a model of the Hollywood movie “Twister.” I learned that U of Oklahoma, especially a climatological course rapidly became competitive in the U.S. after the movie was released. In the movie “Twister,” there was a scene where cows were flying in the air, at NWC, there was a coffee shop called Flying Cow.

The most impressive thing about the visit was the recognition that the NWC needed a wide range of cooperation on tornado response and put emphasis on community awareness. Regarding multi-disciplinary collaboration, the reason behind this is that even if we increase the accuracy and speed from tornado prediction to warning by science and technology, it will be human beings that will respond to it. Also, there is an organization called the Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) <Warning Judgment Training Center> inside the university. The existence is based on the fact that the decision of warning (Warning Decision) is not only radar data, but also specialized in model guidance and mesoscale analysis in combination with the human mind. People, the Emergency Manager, make decisions based on a variety of factors, including technical knowledge and reports from spotters (registered volunteers who inform the situation on the spot). The local factors and political conditions are also overlapped. The knowledge of meteorology expertise alone could not attain the purpose.

As for local enlightenment activities, as a contribution to the community, create and publicize many brochures, open a center, for example, tie-up with McDonald’s in a program called McLeady and give educational advertisements was doing. In this way, the NWC recognizes that disaster alerts are based on various factors such as understanding of human behavior, bonding with society, and political situations, and it is common sense that meteorology alone cannot respond. It was impressive that it was done.

Issued June 4, 2010-Issue 5

Day_126 : World Disaster Chronology-1989

The accuracy will be improved with citing some data sources.

Date Place Disaster Type Situations
1989.01 USSR, Central (Tajikistan Inland Earthquake M5.3, Over 270(DM)
1989.04.20 China Hail Damage Over 150(DM)
1989.04.26 Bangladesh Tornado The Daulatpur–Saturia Bangladesh tornado*.1300(D)The deadliest tornado disaster in history. 
1989.05- Viet Nam Tropical Storm, Flood Over 740(DM), Tropical Storm Cecil
1989.05- Bangladesh Cyclone, Flood Over 200(DM)
1989.06- China Sichuan Torrential Rains, Flood Over 1,300(DM)
1989.06- Sri Lanka Torrential Rains, Flood 300-500(DM) 
1989.07- India Cyclone, Flood Over 2,700(DM)
1989.07- China Torrential Rains, Flood Over 1,500(DM)
1989.07- Bangladesh Torrential Rains, Flood Over 200(DM)
1989.07- Viet Nam Typhoon, Flood Over 200(DM)
1989.08.01 Iran, West Inland Earthquake M5.8, 120(DM)
1989.09- China Typhoon, Flood Over 520(DM)
1989.10.17 US, West (Calfornia) Inland Earthquake Loma Prieta earthquake **(M7.1) 62(DM), Damage cost 7bill.US

DM: The number of dead and missing.

*The Daulatpur–Saturia, Bangladesh tornado occurred in the Manikganj District, Bangladesh on April 26, 1989. There is great uncertainty about the death toll, but estimates indicate that it killed around 1,300 people, which would make it the deadliest tornado in history. The disasters in Bangladesh indicate natural disaster is not natural.                        Can refer Day_117.

**The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred in Northern California on October 17 at 5:04 p.m. local time. This earthquake happened in the northeast of Santa Cruz on a section of the San Andreas Fault.The death toll was relatively not high compared to the economic damage. This can be explained with developed countries, especially US disasters characteristics.  Can refer to The Day_119.


Day_50 : NWC and Univ. of Oklahoma

Do you know the disaster movie, twister*? This is a very nice movie to recognize the tornado disasters and scientific perspectives. The one of the model location is Oklahoma.

I had an opportunity to visit the National Weather Center (NWC) **and University of Oklahoma to study on disaster information process in 2007, sorry long long time ago. The NWC is located in the University campus. The NWC is the core of not only research activities, but also for contributing to the general public. The University has a lot of shelters inside the buildings***.

The University was active to disseminate the information to the general public. Especially, I learned a lot about the university’s social role for local communities.

There were some shelters in front of the houses in the areas****.




*** University’s auditorium (Can be transformed to a shelter during the time)




I will write more……