With the early spring weather seeming more like early summer, the danger of tornadoes is increasing. Read on:Tornado Warning: "One of These Days a Single Tornado Will Claim Over 1,000 American Lives"Tuesday's 13 large, violent tornadoes in the Dallas were a wake-up call for America. With camera-ready smartphones -- it may have been the most-photographed and filmed tornado outbreak in history -- dramatic video that convinced many locals to take the warnings seriously and take cover. Had the Arlington tornado tracked just 19 miles farther east it would have struck downtown Dallas.
A convergence of meteorological and socioeconomic trends has left America more vulnerable to a catastrophic tornado; a single long-lasting tornado hitting a major urban center -- potentially putting thousands of lives at risk. It's too early to know if it's an aberration or a trend -- but in recent years some of the largest, most destructive tornadoes have struck east of the Mississippi River, hitting more densely populated cities and suburbs. There's no clear-cut evidence we're seeing more violent tornadoes, but "Tornado Alley" appears to be expanding north and east. People in Dallas know what to do. Baltimore? Not so much.
2011 brought six EF-5 tornadoes, as big and violent as they get. The movie "Twister" described an F5 as "the finger of God." They are beyond words. Dazed tornado survivors from Joplin to Tuscaloosa are still picking up the pieces of their lives. Their trauma has lessons for the rest of us. Tornadoes bulldozing the eastern U.S. present a unique problem. They're much harder to track (more hills and haze; highways that make chasing tornadoes all but impossible). Many homeowners don't have safe, underground options. Bedrock and high water tables can make it prohibitively expensive to excavate for a basement; the only thing that makes a 200 mph EF-5 super-tornado survivable. LOTS OF MORE GOOD INFO AT THE LINK!