Super Tuesday will be remembered by most as the decisive day in the U.S. election campaign that was actually pretty indecisive, at least so far as the Democrats were concerned.
But for the families of the 50+ killed by unseasonal tornados in America’s south, Tuesday will certainly not be remembered as ‘super’. Ripping through Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee (which alone suffered 26 deaths), a trail of destruction that will take months and years to clean up was left by the deadly twisters. (map)
Fortunately America seems to be learning from the past about how to save lives: thanks to improved weather forecasting and the greater use of TV and radio to get the warnings out, countless lives were saved. Peter Dykstra does a nice analysis of how the media saved lives over on his CNN blog.
So what exactly causes tornados? It’s all down to air currents: when warm humid air collides with cold, dry air, the cold air is pushed above the warm air. This starts to create an updraft, and as this intensifies, a swirling motion begins. If the storm gets powerful enough, a funnel will touch down on the surface. Next, utter destruction. (Click here for America’s 10 deadliest tornados)
UPDATE: These tornados were the deadliest in the U.S. in 20 years, according to CNN.