Although the average tornado that comes through Massachusetts is rated EF0 or EF1, the state is not immune to the tremendous powers of higher-rated storms. On June 9, 1953, an EF4 tornado ripped through Worcester County. The tornado lasted 84 minutes, tore through 10 towns, including Shrewsbury, Holden and Petersham before weakening and roping out in Westborough. That tornado killed 94 people and injured 1,250 more. The death total of that storm makes it the 20th deadliest tornado in United States history. It should be noted that a second tornado touched down that same day, leaving a path of destruction from Mendon to Mansfield in 67 minutes.
Tornadoes occur in every month, in every year since records have been kept on tornadoes. Each state in the Continental United States can experience a tornado during any season of the year, but the likelihood of a tornado lessens in the winter months. However, tornado season changes depending on what area of the country you are in. For example, Southern states are most likely to get tornadoes in the winter. This is because the warm air of the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t reach as far into the United States as it does in the summer. Tornado season migrates toward the South Midwest (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas) starting in April. The season migrates further north and west as the months pass ans tornado season starts for the Upper Midwest and Mid-Atlantic in June. New England and the rest of the Northeast face tornado season in July and fortunately for us, it only lasts about six weeks in New England. More specifically in Massachusetts, you can expect to see one tornado every two years on average.
Two of natures most mysterious versions of tornadoes is the firenado and snownado. In a firenado, a pocket of really hot air at the surface mixes with cold air aloft and a slight shift in wind direction and the vortex of fire spins up and creates the firenado. These particular meteorological phenomenon are incredibly dangerous as the fire in a firenado spreads quicker than that of your normal forest fire. The snownado has opposite conditions to that of a firenado. Cold air at the surface mixes with warm air aloft causing the cyclone. The danger of a snownado is the dramatic decrease in visibility.
In 1925, the Tri-State Tornado reeked havoc through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana on March 18. The tornado lasted nearly three hours, traveled 219 miles in that time, and was the deadliest tornado in history, killing 695 and injuring over 2,000. The Tri-State Tornado caused $18 million in damage in 1925, equivalent to $1.4 billion today.
What could be more terrifying than a space tornado that could envelop the Earth, how about a tornado made of liquidized hot gas capable of burning the Earth in seconds? NASA has video of tornadoes forming on the sun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN7I9KQjVG8 These storms are thousands of degrees hot and are capable of lasting over 48 hours. The speed of the winds measured in these storms can exceed 10,000 miles per hour.
Have you ever heard of or seen the Northern Lights? Well, scientists have discovered that the Northern Lights is actually a vortex of energy particles from the sun that spin down, interacting with the atmosphere of the Earth. Although these storms are no threat to damage Earth, they are capable of spinning over a million miles per hour and some are more than 44,000 miles long and as wide as the planet.
The popularity in chasing tornadoes has been growing ever since daredevil meteorologists have been chasing down these storms. These chasers are not your average meteorologists, they are super intelligent men and women who can predict who will be hit directly by severe weather in a given day. Storm chasers have been opening up their motor vecihles to any one willing to share the daring experience with them. Tours are now available for those willing to take on the dangerous storms. It was until last year, May 31, 2013, that the storm chasing community finally saw the dangers in their work. That day, three storm chasers lost their lives in the El Reno tornado, an F5 storm capable of winds exceeding 250 miles per hour.