Why Tornadoes are So Difficult to Predict and Understand
Tornadoes are vertical columns of air that are generated in supercell storms and come in contact with the ground. They are classified as weather events and often minuscule compared to other more universal events, making them highly specific in their nature.
It’s challenging to study and gather information on tornadoes and to understand exactly what causes them, why certain areas like Oklahoma and Texas are more affected than let’s say New York or Boston, and how we can learn to predict them.
In truth, despite the vast amount of knowledge out there, tornadoes remain one of the most challenging weather events to understand for several reasons:
They’re highly unpredictable
We’ve already talked about this, but sometimes tornadoes can occur without any warning, signs, or signals, and cause immense destruction. Texas has seen many such tornadoes in the past, including the Nashville tornado, which caused a lot of devastation to the region. Sometimes they may appear almost out of nowhere, with little to no time for experts to issue warnings and alerts. This is especially tragic, given how much effort, time, and risk goes into understanding their patterns and conditions that cause them.
They can be destructive and devastating
And speaking of the destruction they cause, gathering data on tornadoes is a challenge in and of itself as many researchers and storm chasers have lost their lives in the process. It requires a lot of skill, training, stealth, and security to be able to place instruments, record data, take photographs, and maintain a safe distance and get away in time too. The devastation they cause, as well as the varying nature and intensity, can make them lethal.
We still don’t know what factors affect them
Scientists have learned to understand conditions that contribute to tornadoes, but we still don’t know exactly what causes them. Moisture levels, wind direction, temperature, cell formation are all factors, but not all conditions look the same each time.
Sometimes you can have supercell thunderstorms, but there isn’t enough heat or humidity, or the tornado doesn’t stay on the ground for longer than a few seconds. Other times, the conditions can be unfavorable, but a raging EF5 tornado can destroy the region in minutes.
It’s incredibly challenging to know exactly when it will strike, and how far-reaching its effects will be. This is precisely why we need to invest in protection for ourselves and our loved ones. Our steel safe rooms have been developed using the most stringent tests and retesting before they reach you.