Day by day we, the Humans, are advancing in various fields. Technologies, we had discovered, makes our life simple. Despite of all these technological advancements we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Natural calamities like tornadoes, earth quakes, volcanic eruption etc . proves this statement.
Tornado, also known as cyclone or twisters, occurs due to the clash between the cold dry air moving in one direction and wet winds moving in opposite direction. As a result of this clash, a violent rotating air column which is in contact with both the earth surface and the clouds is formed. This is the formation of tornado. To measure the extent of tornadoes, we had developed a scale recently. It is known as Fugitive Scale. This scale is used to measure the intensity of tornadoes based on the damages caused by them to buildings and vegetation. The data will be collected from the people who witnessed them, with the help of radar and ground swirl patterns. In the Fugitive scale, the ratings given to the tornadoes would be F0, F1, F2, F3, F4 and F5. F0 marking denotes very less wind speed and the damages caused by it would be the least. On the other hand, F5 marking denotes the wind travelling at a speed of 419 kilometers per hour or more than it. It could be one of the worst tornadoes. Both F4 and F5 tornadoes could cause severe damage to the people, buildings and farms.
Then a question arises. In which part of the world tornado occurs? It occurs in every part of the world expect Antarctica. We should remember that U.S. is the home of tornadoes with thousands of tornadoes occurring every year. Most of them would occur in the month of April, when wet winds from Gulf of Mexico clashes with dry winds from Canada. Only 2% of these 1000 tornadoes would be of F4 or F5 type which causes worst fatalities.
Now one may expect that this top 10 list would be filled with the tornadoes that occurred in U.S. To your surprise, this list compromises only 3 tornadoes that occurred in United States. This is due to the advancement in research and early detection of tornadoes before they occur.
Here is the list of top 10 deadliest tornadoes.
10. St. Louis & East St. Louis Tornado:
This was reported on May 27, 1896 and occurred at United States. It was expected to be at six miles west of Eads Bridge. But it shifted its direction and entered inside Missouri. It caused heavy damage to the buildings by laying waste on them and taking the death toll to more than 250. Moreover this count does not include the death on the other side of Mississippi river.
9. Natchez Tornado:
This was another twister happened at U.S. and caused damages to the people in its own way on May 6, 1840. It happened on the banks of Mississippi and Louisiana. Many people who were on the boats were killed because they were not intimidated earlier. Due to the lack of warning system in those days, the death toll rose to 320 and many hundreds of people were injured. It was said that this count does not include the count of slaves. Including them would have rise death toll to 1000’s.
8. Belanitsky, Ivanovo & Balino Tornado:
Details about this tornado could not be collected because it happened before the break of Soviet Union. It occurred on June 9, 1984. Few of the tornadoes were F5 on the Fugitive scale killing more than 700 people and covering a vast area of four hundred thousand square kilometers. This is one of the three worst tornadoes that occurred in the modern Russian history. Not forget to mention that one of the F5 tornadoes occurred here lifted an object of weight 320,000 kilograms. They will be pages of dark spots of U.S.S.R. forever.
7. Sicily Tornado:
Generally tornado occurs rarely in Italy. Even if it occurs, the intensity of them would be very low. People too would have thought the same during the beginning of December, 1851. But it turned out to be different. To their worse, it was one of the deadliest tornadoes in the history of European continent. The tornado attacked the Marsala country side which is on the western side of Sicily. Due to not much advancement in technological field, the genuine data could not be collected. But it was estimated that 500 persons were dead and hundreds of them were injured.
6. Valletta Tornado:
Not sure about when it happened either in 1551 or 1556, it caused damage to the people of Malta. It attacked the Grand Harbor of Malta. Few of the achievements of this tornado were killing nearly 600 people and causing damage to the ships waiting for the battle field on the shore line.
5. Magura and Narail Tornado:
This is one of the tornadoes that attacked Bangladesh in the recent years. Magura and Narail were located in Bangladesh. This incident happened in the month of April, 1964. It wiped seven villages completely of the map. The village of Bhabanipur was the residence for 400 people. Not even one of them was reported alive after this tragedy. Nearly 1400 people were dead as per Media’s estimation. But the data conflicts with the number of death reported by the government. Most of the buildings and trees were also destroyed.
4. Manikganj, Singair & Nawabganj Tornado:
Another scar on the face of Bangladesh happened on April 17, 1973. If it was Bhabanipur in the previous case, here it was Balurchar. Along with Balurchar, nearly eight other villages were also destroyed. This deadly tornado was the result of two cyclones. Debris was found 30 miles away from the sea of Bay of Bengal. These were the words from the mouth of a government official who visited Manikganj and Singair district after this tragedy “No amount of words could aptly describe the damages caused. Tragedy was harrowing”.
3. Madarganj & Mirzapur Tornado:
Just imagine a scene in which nearly 700 people were dead and 30,000 homes were destroyed. Most of the corpses were lying on the branches of trees and the debris which were thrown nearly 0.9 mile away from their places. Can you imagine any scene which is more disgusting than this? This tornado affected Madarganj and Mirzapur districts of Bangladesh on May 25, 1996. Most of the tornadoes were of F5 type on the Fugitive scale. After this tornado nearly 9000 people were in the critical condition and suffering from severe injuries.
2. Tristate Tornado:
Usually tornado occurs to be a family. But this one is a tornado which ‘single’ handedly attacked 10 towns. It was an F5 tornado travelling nearly at 350 kilometers per hour. These were the records hold down by this tornado “Longest Duration tornado” (nearly 3.5 hours) and “Fastest Moving Wind speed”. It roared through Mississippi, Indiana and Illinois on March 18, 1925. It also serves as the tornado which has covered the longest path. It is also the costliest tornado till 1950’s. But now it is surpassed by another tornado. Now after normalizing process, it is the second costliest tornado that affected the world. More than 700 people were dead and this is the highest record for U.S.
1. Daulatpur & Saturia Tornado:
Some families have no one to mourn. This was the state of Daulatpur and Saturia after the tornado attacked them on April 26, 1989. The wind speed of tornado is nearly equal to that of Tristate, even then death toll is reported to be more than 1400 which is twice the death toll of previous one. The major cause of death was by flying debris, corrugated steel and other materials. These materials became airborne and caused the death of people. The towns of Saturi and Manikgank were made grave yard with 80,000 people were homeless and more than 7000 people were injured.
From this top 10 list, we can come to know that most of the worst tornadoes happened at Bangladesh. Besides Bangladesh, U.S. is also prone to the attacks of tornadoes throughout the year. But U.S. government has taken necessary steps to overcome the effects of this natural calamity by forecasting it. While Bangladesh should take necessary steps like employing more efficient radar system and storm spotting. So that it could avoid fatalities in the near future.
However technologically we improve, there is no way we can avoid such natural calamities. Therefore it would be better if we opt for the remedial measures. This is the lesson Tornado wishes to teach us.