Few things in this world are as terrifying as tornadoes. The wrath of Mother Nature just shooting from above in a whirlwind of destructive winds and debris is nothing to underestimate.
Such was the nightmare that descended this week on the Midwest, where forecasters believe some 53 tornadoes made landfall Monday night, injuring almost 100 and killing an 81-year-old man in Ohio when a tornado threw a parked car into his home, according to the BBC. Fourteen tornadoes are believed to have hit Indiana, 11 in Colorado, nine in Ohio, six in Iowa, five in Nebraska, four in Illinois, three in Minnesota, and one in Idaho, according to the Associated Press. At least one in Ohio was an EF-3, reports the National Weather Service (NWS), meaning wind speeds ranged from 136 to 165 miles per hour. This is a “severe” storm, as the NWS describes.
The damage has been extensive: The school year is over early for some students in at least one suburb of Dayton, Ohio, according to the AP. Elsewhere, entire roofs were lost, and power lines were scattered. Nearly 50,000 people remain without power as of Tuesday afternoon, per Dayton Power & Light, which provides electricity to the region near the city. Different areas of Ohio continue under flood warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings. Five counties in eastern Ohio remain on tornado watch.
While we are in tornado season, this year’s has been relentless. Last week, a tornado killed three on the eighth anniversary of our nation’s most deadly twister. All this was not even a month after we saw this perfect footage of an Oklahoma tornado cruising through the countryside. Since May 17, we’ve had multiple tornadoes every day, said Bob Henson, a meteorologist with Weather Underground.
“The pattern is related to a very cold upper low parked in the western U.S., a heat dome over the southeast U.S., and a strong jet stream in between the two,” he told Earther in an email.
The signs are pointing to a future where more of our tornadoes drop in clusters, Henson added. It appears we are seeing a dramatic difference between the busy periods and the calm periods; that’s scary news for the busy periods.
“It’s not fully clear how much of this is directly related to climate change,” he said. “There are also signs that wintertime tornadoes are increasing.”
Science still has some gaps to fill on that front, but photos tell no lies. And the damage this latest batch of tornadoes left behind is heartbreaking, to say the least.