What are Tornados and what causes them

Tornadoes are the most powerful, unpredictable and destructive weather systems on Earth.

The National Weather Service (NWS) defines a Tornado as a violently rotating column of air in contact with the earth’s surface (land or water) and commonly associated with a severe thunderstorm. A tornado generally occurs when high winds within a low-pressure system (such as a thunderstorm) cause water vapor in the air to condense into a condensation funnel cloud. Many less severe tornadoes are not even visible to the human eye.

Major tornadoes usually become more visible when the strong winds within the funnel lift up dirt and debris off the Earth’s surface. Tornadoes are generally classified as either a landspout (a tornado on land), a waterspout (a tornado that forms over water) or a gustnado (a small tornado caused by a strong downburst of wind from a thunderstorm). The average tornado has maximum wind speeds of about 112 mph or less, measures around 250 feet in width and travels approximately one mile before falling apart.

Some of the most catastrophic tornadoes in recorded history have had winds in excess of 300 miles an hour (twice that of a category 5 hurricane), have measured more than 2 miles in girth, and have carved devastating paths of destruction miles and miles in length.

When Mother Nature strikes, she shows no mercy regardless how high-tech new equipment can be. While disaster preparedness is taught to many, natural disasters like tornadoes can wreck havoc on whatever comes along their path and fatalities often occur. The United States alone experiences several tornadoes in a year. Just recently on the fateful day of May 20, 2013, the suburban town of Moore in Oklahoma had witnessed a massive twister and was the hardest hit among the rest of the Oklahoma City suburbs where the storm carved a trail. Thanks to new technology, the world has seen just how destructive a tornado can be. Disaster preparedness is a proven way to help save lives and minimize deaths.

History shows that tornadoes are a natural phenomenon. Elsewhere in the world, countries are not spared from Mother Nature’s wrath. There are places in different countries that have seen and experienced the worst and deadliest in terms of twisters. Due to their regional topography, these areas are hotbeds for tornadoes. This is especially in the country of Bangladesh, which holds the most records of deadly tornadoes.

10 most deadliest tornadoes

10. The 1977 Madaripur-Shibchar Tornado

Number ten on the list happened on April 1, 1977. A deadly tornado hit Madaripur-Shibchar in Bangladesh, which resulted an estimated 500 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The tornado leveled the area, trees, homes and other structures were entirely damaged as the tornado passed through the villages of Madaripur and Shibchar.

9. The 1951 Comoro Tornado

The archipelago of Comoros of the eastern coast of Africa was struck by a deadly tornado in 1951. The twister started as a waterspout and gained strength and intensity as it struck land and killed an estimated 500 people. Other details concerning the incident are not known since the island nation was still under foreign rule. Hence, getting the exact location and statistical data wasn’t feasible.

8. The 1964 Narail-Magura Tornado

The rest of the world went mourning over the disaster that hit Bangladesh. About 500 people either perished or went missing when a fatal tornado hit the cities of Narail and Magura in Bangladesh. Seven villages were devastated by the tornado’s wrath. Four hundred people from the village of Bhabanipur were never found and were presumed dead. Other details of the incident were rather vague and only estimates were given. Only one thing was crystal clear; it was one of the most destructive tornadoes to ever happen.

7. The 1851 Sicily Tornado

Just like the 1951 Comoro Tornado, the tornado that struck Sicily started out as a waterspout. Because the disaster happened during a time of very limited technology, few details were recorded although it is believed that an estimated 500 people died on that fateful day. There were theories about the tornado. One, that two waterspouts merged as they reached onshore and transformed into two massive and powerful tornadoes. Two, a multiple-vortex tornado was formed that destroyed the properties and lives along its path.

6. The 1951/1956 Valetta Tornado

 Landing in sixth place, one of the most deadly and disastrous tornados to ever occur in history was in Valetta, Malta. It claimed over 600 lives when it hit the Grand Harbour where the shipping armada was stretched in the bay, entirely destroying it as the great tornado moved along the path.

Although there are conflicting sources concerning the actual tornado, one fact is clear, the tornado first started as a waterspout before it became a full-blown tornado when it reached land.

Bangladesh is one of the most tornado-affected countries in the world. In 1973 the major areas of Manikganj, Singair, and Nawabganj were destroyed when a wide tornado hit their path. The whole large village of Balurchar was wiped out along with major parts of nine other towns. The confirmed death toll was at 681. This incident remains to be the fifth deadliest tornado in world history.

4. The 1925 Tri-State Tornado

Although this happened where a lot of tornadoes have hit the United States in recent years, the Tri-State Tornado remains to hold the record for being the worst and deadliest tornado to ever happen in the U.S. It hit the highest rating on the Fujita scale of F5. What seemed likely to happen only in movies, the colossal tornado lasted for 3.5 hours and generated 8 more tornadoes. The main tornadoes caused the most deaths in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, while the smaller ones struck Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee which totaled to almost 750 deaths. This record more than doubled the numbers compared to the 1840 Great Natchez Tornado which had 317 deaths.

3. The 1996 Madarganj to Mirzapur Tornado

On May 13, 1996, an estimated 700 people perished in Bangladesh when a massive single tornado reached land from the areas of Madargani to Mirzapur, which includes the districts of Madarganj, Gopalpur, Kallhati, Basail, Shakipur, and Mirzapur in Jamalpur and Tangail. The incident left 30,000 homes totally damaged

2. The 1969 East Pakistan Tornado

At the second spot is the East Pakistan (now called Bangladesh) Tornado of 1969. An estimated 660 people were killed and a total of 4,000 were injured on April 14, 1969 after a huge tornado struck Dhaka in East Pakistan where most people were living. That same day, another tornado hit Homna Upazila, also in Bangladesh where 223 people perished. That gives a total of 883 deaths, making it the second deadliest tornado to ever happen in history.

1. 1989 The Daulatpur-Salturia Tornado

The most deadly tornado known to humankind is the April 26, 1989, Daulatpur-Salturia Tornado. Again, these areas are found in Bangladesh. The already drought-affected areas were smacked by another natural disaster. The estimated size of the tornado according to sources was 1 mile wide. In just a matter of minutes, the horrific twister claimed the lives of 1,300 people and left 12,000 others injured. The towns were completely destroyed and 80,000 were left homeless.