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Saturday, 7 May 2011

Twister

Twister, quite arguably my favourite natural disaster movie, is currently on the television. It's the movie that first made me interested in Geography and it is the movie which made me realise just how powerful our planet earth really is. Its quite ironic that as I sit here watching a movie in which no one is seriously injured, hundreds of people across the ocean have recently felt the real affects of a tornado. Well not even just one...Hundreds!

Newspapers have reported April has been a devastating month for tornadoes. According to the Storm Prediction Centre there has been approximately 875 tornadoes reported throughout the United States which looks set to be the new record for April tornadoes records. The previous record was apparently set back in 1974 with a total of 267. Even I can tell that this recent activity is a huge increase to what this region usually has to deal with.

On 27th April a total of 226 of tornadoes were recorded by the Storm Prediction Centre causing significant damage in Alabama and several other states. Reporters in Birmingham, Alabama were filming one of the tornadoes and reported that "even from miles away the funnel was so wide that they could not zoom their cameras out far enough to get an entire image of the tornado".

© Storm Prediction Centre
Over 300 people were killed in this particular event where a twister is thought to have been a mile wide and recorded as a EF5 tornado with wind speeds exceeding 200mph. A local resident was reported as saying that all of the hospitals were full and people were being told not to go to them for non-life threatening injuries. As many as a million homes and businesses across Alabama are still without power and at this stage the total damage is still unknown as assessments may take weeks to complete due to the large amount of land and scale of the tornadoes.

After these tragic events President Barack Obama approved emergency assistance and search and rescue support where a state of emergency has been declared. He has also since visited communities in Alabama and said that Washington would do everything possible to help rebuild these communities.

Over the past few months alone there has been so many devastating natural disasters which really highlight how vulnerable the human species are to planet earth and although technology is increasing so we are better at predicting tornadoes, floods and hurricanes there is no way of eradicating them completely. We all need to act now to help prevent climate change.

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