11 Positive and Negative Effects of Tornadoes

The effects of tornadoes can be very destructive even rendering people homeless and crippling economic systems. Nevertheless, there are positive effects of tornadoes. In this article, we will discuss the positive and negative effects of tornadoes.

A tornado is a severe weather condition and like other natural disasters, it has enormous destructive capacity. They occur in different shapes and sizes and are visible because of their condensation funnel, tornadoes can appear in many forms in nature examples are the dust devil, steam devil, fire whirl, and gustnado tornadoes.

What is Tornado?

A tornado is a funnel-shaped formation of powerful winds rotating around a central point with wind speed reaching up to 300miles per hour, they are also known as called whirlwinds, twisters, cyclones, etc. Tornadoes occur mainly in North America and the southeastern region of the United State.

Tornadoes are known to form during the spring and summer seasons and mostly occur late in the afternoon and early evening. Tornadoes also can be observed in South Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, Asia, and South America.

The destructive ability of tornadoes is rated using the Fujita scale which has been further modified and is now called the enhanced Fujita scale, the weakest tornado is rated at F0 or EFO it can damage trees but has no severe impact on buildings whereas the strongest category of tornadoes is found in the F5 or EFO5 range and this kind of tornado affect skyscrapers.

Another scale used to measure the strength of a tornado is the TORRO scale range, To indicate a very weak tornado and T11 for that which is most powerful. Most tornadoes develop quickly and dissipate just quickly, tornadoes are accompanied most often by hail as the atmospheric condition that precipitate tornadoes would very likely make hail.

The formation of a tornado can be detected before its occurrence by using the pulse-Dopler radar. The velocity and reflective data generated by this instrument are effective in foretelling the region where the tornado would be formed.

Also, observers called storm spotters to watch for the formation of tornadoes by patrolling the environment to see where it occurs and then a broadcast is sent warning people in that location of the danger.

What causes Tornadoes?

The formation of Tornadoes is quite predictable as certain sequences of events if observed do lead to their formation.

Its occurrence starts with the formation of the cumulus cloud. When sunshine heats the earth’s surface and surrounding air, heated air parcels rise, whereas cooler air is displaced in their rise, if the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere decreases rapidly with an increase in height, the heated parcel of air rises to greater heights resulting in stronger currents of ascending air thereby forming the Columbus cloud (thunderstorm).

A strong updraft of air as described would cause an increase in atmospheric rotation or swirling column of air, thunderstorms with persistent deep spin are called supercells, Supercells present the right conditions for the formation of Tornadoes.

Tornadoes are formed when descending currents of cold-dense air torches the ground, when the rotation becomes so strongly focused in an area a narrow column of violently rotating air forms.

Positive and Negative Effects of Tornadoes

Positive Effects

The positive effects of tornadoes include

1. Seed Dispersal

Seed dispersal is a positive effect of tornadoes. Tornadoes are not thought to be of any positive effect on the environment but the study shows that they are a good medium for seed dispersal as they can disperse seeds a great distance from one location to another, thereby creating room for plant diversification in an area.

2. Renewal of Vegetation

Most often the destructive effect of tornadoes is seen as negative but its ability to be a tool for the renewal of vegetation is one of its positive effects, out of the destruction would rise the newness and freshness of nature.

Negative Effects

The negative effects of tornadoes include;

1. Scarcity of Food

One of the negative effects of tornadoes is their ability to destroy acres and hectares of farm crops as they move, this causes a shortage in harvest leading to a shortage in food production and distribution. Tornadoes can destroy warehouses where farm harvests are stored, and provision stores and retail shops in communities are likely to be affected by tornadoes thereby causing a scarcity in the food supply.

2. Transfer of Homeless Victims to Refugee Camps

The event of a tornado can leave hundreds of persons’ homes, thereby resulting in them being moved into refugee camps, this is one of the recurrent effects of tornadoes in areas where tornadoes develop.

3. Pressure on Health Facilities

The pressure on health facilities is a negative effect of tornadoes. Tornadoes can leave a trail of destruction behind them both lives and properties are threatened by their occurrence. The event of tornadoes could result in lots of incidents thereby putting pressure on the health care system to provide treatment for affected victims. Shortage in medical supply is one of the aftermath effects of tornadoes, often external health bodies like WHO, Red Cross, and NGOs provide support to affected areas to ease pressure on hospitals

4. Halt in Economic Activities

Tornadoes can stop economic activities in the region where they occur as they destroy offices, shops, and places of business. This is one of the effects of tornadoes that leads to a decline in production thereby affecting the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in the long run.

5. Damage to Public Infrastructure

One of the destructive effects of tornadoes is that they can take down public infrastructure like electric power lines, water supply pipes, street lights, tarred roads, etc. at their advent. This makes them a huge threat to maintaining public infrastructure and public welfare

5. Inflation of Prices

Inflation is one of the major negative effects of tornadoes as prices of goods and services increase exponentially because the demand for limited commodities would increase and with increasing demand and shortage in supply comes inflation, victims that have experienced the loss of invaluable assets would increase the cost of their services.

6. Economic Loss

Economic loss is one of the negative effects of tornadoes. Tornadoes can destroy buildings on impart, public infrastructure like light poles, electric power lines, water supply pipes, Business offices, warehouses, provision stores, agricultural farmlands, etc. Thereby generating financial losses going into billions of dollars. In 2011, Damages caused by tornadoes in the United States cost about 23 Billion dollars.

7. Psychological Effect

People that were victims of the destructive effects of tornadoes and survived its carnage could experience traumatic flashbacks of the event and many never recover from regret and depression caused by the loss of valuable assets. Anxiety, fear, withdrawal, and restlessness during rainfall are prevailing signs that traumatized victims experience.

8. Loss of Lives

One of the major negative effects of tornadoes is the loss of lives. The event of a tornado can cause death in many circumstances because of its unexpected occurrence and lack of safety strategies enacted to protect oneself and family. In 2011 a super outbreak occurred in the southeastern part of the United States, between the period of April 22 and April 28 at least 354 people died, killing around 250 in Alabama.

9. Increase in Unemployment

The number of unemployed is known to increase after the occurrence of tornadoes making it one of the significant negative effects of tornadoes. Many business owners would be placed on the list of job seekers and employed staff would return to being unemployed due to the destruction done by the tornado, this is one of the major effects of tornadoes on economic development.

Facts about Tornadoes

  1. A tornado is a turbulent rotation of fast-moving winds
  2. Tornadoes are formed by a supercells cumulus cloud
  3. Tornadoes have a high-speed rotation of up to 110 miles per hour
  4. Most tornadoes dissipate quickly lasting only 5 to 15min but can last up to 3 hours
  5. Tornadoes have different names based on their shape for example multiple vortex tornado, water spout tornado, rope tornado, etc.
  6. Tornadoes can travel a few miles before they exhaust themselves.
  7. Only 2% of tornado occurrences happen under the F-4 to F-5 category
  8. A major number of tornadoes are formed from late April to May.
  9. Most tornadoes are known to strip off asphalt pavement
  10. A good indicator of a coming tornado is a rotating thunderstorm
  11. Tornadoes occur more frequently in the Tornado Alley.
  12. Tornadoes mostly occur during the periods of 3 pm and 9 pm
  13. Tornadoes may be hidden by dust and rain making them difficult to detect and more dangerous.
  14. Tornadoes can have different colors based on the season they form, in dry seasons swirling debris at the base of the funnel is observed, whereas while moving on water tornadoes could either be white or blue. Also, the tint of the soul can affect the color of the tornado for example, on the Great Plains of tornadoes, the color would be red

Effects of Tornadoes – FAQs

What happens after a tornado?

The aftermath of tornadoes could be quite devastating therefore caution must be taken in managing possible risks arising from the damage it leaves. Tornadoes are caused by thunderstorms hence flooding is probable even though times there will be no rain during the ravaging activity of the tornado, care should be taken when walking through places with big drainage paths to avoid being swept off by strong water current.

Electrical power lines are broken, roofs are blown away, buildings are destroyed, glass shattered and gas leaks are observed in houses are observed after the event of a tornado. Hence, caution should be taken when walking the street to avoid injury from debris or becoming a victim of building collapse because its strength has been compromised.

Rescue missions to salvage any hope of life from disaster sites are a consistent protocol undertaken after the event of tornadoes.

Short-term effects of tornadoes?

Tornadoes can cause both short and long-term effects, amongst their short-term effects include loss of animal life, broken trees, and disorganization in the location’s economic and daily activities.

Long-term effect of tornadoes?

The havoc caused by tornadoes does not stop with the immediate damage it creates, it can create long-term effects that can be felt for years by its victims and the nation at large.

  • It can reduce or stop a nation’s economic growth. Many poor nations have not been able to recover from the effect of natural disasters and tornadoes can deal a big blow to public infrastructure and resources that have been put in place to galvanize economic development.
  • Tornadoes can generate billions of dollars of loss which would take a long time to recover from.
  • Victims of the destructive effect of tornadoes may never recover in their lifetime from the financial damage done to their businesses
  • Millions of dollars worth of assets can be swept away in a moment and without proper insurance, the owner is unlikely to recover from the loss incurred.
  • Tornadoes can create psychological trauma in their victims. Regret, depression, and anxiety are common psychological effects of tornadoes and for some, the scar never heals as they lost a loved one, business venture, etc.
  • The outbreak of diseases at refugee camps is a highly probable effect of tornadoes which can lead to further loss of lives.
  • The destructive effect of tornadoes can render jobless hundreds of persons thereby increasing the poverty rate as many would not be able to pay for the demands of their daily utilities increasing.
  • Vegetation that has taken centuries to grow could cause lond


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