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Tornado corridor: why the United States is the country in the world with the highest risk of suffering these storms

“I’ve never seen one so violent or heard one make that roar, which sounds like a train horn coming straight at you.”

With these words Stephanie Cox, a storm chaser, described the devastating tornado that hit the state of Mississippi last Friday (USA) causing 26 deaths and numerous damages.

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“I still can’t get over what I saw,” Cox told the BBC about the weather phenomenon, which has been described as a “monster.”

And this storm chaser has probably seen a lot since she’s based in Oklahoma, a state whose capital, Oklahoma City is considered the city that has been hit by tornadoes the most times.

There have been more than 170, according to estimates by the Storm Prediction Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (SPC – NOAA).

A devastating tornado hit the state of Mississippi. (GETTY IMAGES)

As this institution explains in a section of frequently asked questions about tornadoes, although it is difficult to measure the number of phenomena of this type that occur in the world, among other things due to methodological differences, “the United States remains the main place where they occur tornadoes”.

In that country, on average, about 1,200 are registered each year.

Other places where these phenomena frequently occur are the prairie provinces of Canada (Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan), northeastern Mexico, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, northern Argentina, southern Brazil, and southwestern Russia.

But what makes the United States so prone to tornadoes?

Location and conjunction of factors

Although scientists point out that the causes that lead to the formation of tornadoes are not fully known, it is known that tend to occur when cold, dry air collides with warm, moist air.

And it turns out that it’s in the mid-latitudes, right where the 48 states of the contiguous US lie, that this contrast is often exacerbated.

Add to that the cold air flowing freely from the north across the Great Plains, the proximity of the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the dry air coming from the Rocky Mountains, and you have all the ingredients for this to happen. freak.

Experts point out that It is no coincidence that the regions of Mexico and Canada where the most tornadoes occur are those adjacent to the United States.

In the United States there has usually been talk of the so-called “tornado corridor” to refer to areas of the country considered to be most at risk for these events, including the area east of the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, the Midwest, and the South.

However, experts point out that recent trends indicate that there is a second risk zone that extends from the southeast of the country in a northerly direction through the mid-Atlantic region.

SPC-NOAA advises that the “corridor of tornadoes” only represents a map of the places where there has been a greater occurrence of this type of phenomenon.

“Violent or killer tornadoes occur outside of this tornado corridor every year. Tornadoes can occur almost anywhere in the US, including west of the Rocky Mountains and east of the Appalachians, and even in Canada and abroad.

Source: Elcomercio

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