Tornadoes Aren’t Just For Kansas, Toto

A year ago last week, a tornado tore through Atlanta causing lots and lots of damage and killing one person. I live in Chicago, and the thought of a twister tearing down Michigan Avenue just never really occurs to me, but maybe it should.

Sure, I grew up hearing tornado sirens and marching dutifully to the basement to seek refuge. But the city seems to varied, too dense to allow a tornado to get very far.

Turns out, my hunch is very wrong and cities might contain the forces that cause tornadoes to begin with. From a Wired article about the Atlanta tornadoes:

“As with any tornado, the causes were many, but the prime culprits were the drought, and the nature of the city itself. The findings are preliminary but disturbing. Atlanta is an archetypal modern sprawl city, and droughts are expected to become more common as Earth’s climate changes.”

I guess us city dwellers need to be hyper-aware of the tornado sirens, too. Sit back, relax, and watch an urban tornado develop on YouTube. While you’re at it, check out the Red Cross tornado safety tips.

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