For those of you who didn’t have a childhood, my title is from Winnie the Pooh, where Pooh and Piglet are walking around the 100 acre wood and it starts to get really windy and they blow away. That’s kind of how I’ve felt the past few weeks here at school. The weather seems fine, almost nice, and then all of a sudden the winds are at 20 miles per hour.
Strong winds are often scary, but I think they are more scary because they can be a sign of a tornado. A tornado is a column of violently rotating winds that extend down from a thunderstorm cloud and touch Earth’s surface and usually cause immense damage. Michigan experiences an average of 18 tornados a year, which is a lot considering it’s a natural hazard. Since 1950, 239 people have been killed due to tornado related incidents and there have been 782 tornados since then in Michigan. Most of them occur in the summer months; June, July, and August and typically occur in the late afternoon or early evening.
The impacts of tornados are not to be taken lightly. They can cause property damage, pressure drop, loss of livestock and human life, strong updrafts, flying debris, disruption of utilities and power, and so much more. A tornado can destroy a small town, leaving it’s citizens with little ways to make money for themselves and repair the damage that has been done. Michigan has a lot of small farm towns, and many of them have been devastated by the impact a tornado can leave. With the economic state the country and Michigan is in, we cannot afford to not be prepared for a tornado.
That being said, I think that tornado warnings need to be a lot more direct and informative. The only warning or watch I have ever seen has been on the TV, and that’s pretty much it. There should be interruptions on the radio and maybe even emails or text messages sent out to those who live in the area so that they have adequate time to prepare or leave.
We should also be teaching citizens to take these watches and warnings seriously and to always be prepared as much as they possibly can be so they can avoid devastating impacts. By showing examples of tornado damage in schools and maybe even work places, the community will have a better grasp on what can happen when a tornado hits.