Tornadoes: Background and Forecasting [December 13, 2021]   [open pdf - 851KB]

From the Background: "Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes affect communities across the United States every year, causing fatalities, destroying property and crops, and disrupting businesses. Tornadoes [hyperlink] are narrow, violently rotating columns of air that extend from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground, sometimes producing winds that exceed 300 miles per hour [hyperlink]. Tornadoes have been reported on all continents [hyperlink] except Antarctica; however, they occur most commonly in North America and particularly in the United States, which reports approximately 1,200 tornadoes per year [hyperlink]. Tornadoes occur across the United States [hyperlink] but form most commonly in three regions, shifting seasonally: (1) southern Plains (e.g., Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas), (2) Gulf Coast, and (3) northern Plains and upper Midwest (e.g., North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota). Depending on geographic location, tornadoes occur mostly during spring and summer [...] and usually during the late afternoon or early evening. However, tornadoes can occur at any time. For example, a deadly storm system [hyperlink] with several reported tornadoes, including a 'significant long track tornado,' touched ground overnight in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee between December 10 and 11, 2021. Preliminary estimates [hyperlink] report that peak winds of the long-track tornado reached between 158 and 206 miles per hour. Aspects of the event were rare, such as its timing, potential track length, and geographic location."

Report Number:
CRS Insight, IN11826
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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