The Tornado: Nature's Ultimate Windstorm

Overview

Tornadoes occur in every state in the Union, and each region of the nation has its unique "tornado season." The most intense tornadoes can carry automobiles a half-mile and level a well built home. Some tornadoes have crossed mountains, seemingly unimpeded. Some have lasted more than an hour, scouring the earth with wind speeds of 250 miles per hour. Nor are tornadoes unique to the United States. In Bangladesh, for example, they have killed a thousand people in a single swath.

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Overview

Tornadoes occur in every state in the Union, and each region of the nation has its unique "tornado season." The most intense tornadoes can carry automobiles a half-mile and level a well built home. Some tornadoes have crossed mountains, seemingly unimpeded. Some have lasted more than an hour, scouring the earth with wind speeds of 250 miles per hour. Nor are tornadoes unique to the United States. In Bangladesh, for example, they have killed a thousand people in a single swath.

Filled with dramatic accounts of tornado touchdowns, this book addresses the whirlwind of questions surrounding the phenomenon of the tornado. How often does a tornado hit a particular location? How fast are the winds? Do tornadoes really seek out trailer parks? Can they actually defeather a chicken? How many tornadoes hit the United States every year? How big can tornadoes grow?

Thomas P. Grazulis, a tornado research meteorologist and founder of the Tornado Project, has been a consultant for television specials, including Cyclone (National Geographic), Target Tornado (The Weather Channel), Forces of Nature (CBS), and others, helping provide answers to these questions for the general public. Here he sets the record straight about tornado risk, the Fujita Scale, and the number of tornadoes occurring annually. He also sheds light on misconceptions and contradictory theories about tornadoes. Recreating the incredible drama so often accompanying interactions between people and tornadoes, The Tornado: Nature’s Ultimate Windstorm provides detailed meteorological and statistical information on these marvels of nature, among the most fascinating scientific puzzles on the planet.

"At about 4:25 P.M. on June 9 [1953], fishermen on the north end of the Quabbin Reservoir in western Massachusetts watched as an unusual boiling and tumbling cloud took the form of an enormous, revolving cylinder. Minutes later the end of the cylinder reached down like an enormous finger and trees began to snap in the woods of Petersham. . . . For the next eighty-four minutes, that funnel would cut a damage swath of unprecedented size and intensity in the northeastern United States. People died in the open, in cars, in lakes, and under homes in what would be called the Worcester tornado. It lifted and carried tons of debris eastward; tar paper, shingles, sheet metal, and plywood rained down onto two dozen towns in eastern Massachusetts. . . . Photographs and a piece of waterlogged, frozen mattress were found floating in the Atlantic Ocean. Trousers with a wallet were taken from the second floor of a home in Shrewsbury and dropped in Westwood, 25 miles east-southeast. . . . A Social Security card was returned to its owner from Hyannis on Cape Cod, 90 miles southeast of Worcester."--from the Preface

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What causes tornadoes? How accurately can they be predicted? How large can they grow? The University of Oklahoma Press indulges the curiosity of those fascinated by these whirling scourges in two books. In The Tornado: Nature's Ultimate Windstorm, meteorologist Thomas P. Grazulis authoritatively conveys the science and thrill of tornadoes. His stories of "storm-chasing" and stats about "Individual Tornadoes Causing $200 Million or More in 1999 Inflation-Adjusted Damage" lend weight and immediacy to his accessible book. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Accounts of tornado touchdowns add human interest to this explanation of the tornado phenomenon for general readers. Tornado formation and lifecycle, forecasting, and wind speeds are addressed, as well as tornado myths and safety, tornado records, tornado risk, and tornadoes outside the US. A list of the deadliest US tornadoes is included, along with b&w photos of tornadoes and their aftermath. The author is director of the Tornado Project and fellow of the American Meteorological Society. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806135380
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,413,906
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas P. Grazulis is Director of the Tornado Project and Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

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Read an Excerpt

"At about 4:25 P.M. on June 9 [1953], fishermen on the north end of the Quabbin Reservoir in western Massachusetts watched as an unusual boiling and tumbling cloud took the form of an enormous, revolving cylinder. Minutes later the end of the cylinder reached down like an enormous finger and trees began to snap in the woods of Petersham. . . . For the next eightyfour minutes, that funnel would cut a damage swath of unprecedented size and intensity in the northeastern United States.

People died in the open, in cars, in lakes, and under homes in what would be called the Worcester tornado. It lifted and carried tons of debris eastward; tar paper, shingles, sheet metal, and plywood rained down onto two dozen towns in eastern Massachusetts. . . . Photographs and a piece of waterlogged, frozen mattress were found floating in the Atlantic Ocean. Trousers with a wallet were taken from the second floor of a home in Shrewsbury and dropped in Westwood, 25 miles eastsoutheast. . . . A Social Security card was returned to its owner from Hyannis on Cape Cod, 90 miles southeast of Worcester."from the Preface

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Preface
1 Tornadoes Past and Present 3
2 In the Wake of a Tornado 15
3 Tornado Life Cycle 27
4 Tornado Formation 50
5 Tornado Forecasting and Warnings 77
6 Tornado Wind Speeds 117
7 Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity 130
8 Tornado Myths 146
9 Tornado Safety 159
10 Approaching the Unapproachable 174
11 Tornado Numbers and Records 194
12 Tornadoes by Decade 215
13 Tornadoes Outside the United States 251
14 Tornado Risk 264
15 Final Thoughts 283
App Deadliest U.S. Tornadoes 291
Suggested Further Reading 303
References 305
Index 315
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2001

    Outstanding Effort!

    This book is an excellent introduction into the whole phenomenon of tornadoes. Grazulis presents an extremely well-written and researched work which is a superb primer for anyone who is fascinated by severe weather and tornadoes. I have all his books and this one is a terrific addition. keep 'em coming Tom!

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