The unexpected tornadoes that landed in Springfield, Massachusetts on June 1, 2011, one of which sucked water from a local river and was declared an EF-3 (on a scale of 5), took the public and the media by surprise. Yet, the stereotype that only Oklahoma or Kansas are regularly affected by tornadoes is just a myth. Massachusetts, as many other north eastern states, has known several violent and destructive tornadoes in the last 60 years. The 1953 Worcester tornado was one of the most
destructive in the nation, killing many people and wounding thousands. Assumption College was completely devastated. As indicated by the table below, Worcester is next to many southern and western cities in terms of historical tornado impact. The table (UPDATED) lists the counties most affected by tornadoes in the last 6 decades (the impact column multiplies average tornado intensity, number of casualties and area of destruction). The data for the table was provided by the National Atlas and the methodology is explained in a previous post.
1950-2008 TORNADO IMPACT AT COUNTY LEVEL (US)
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US Historical Tornado Map: Counties most impacted by tornadoes (1950-2008)
The map below sets the Massachusetts tornadoes in perspective. It depicts in shades of color how much was each county in each US state was impacted by tornadoes over the past 60 years. The numbers reflect three intensity factors (casualties, tornado intensity, and area of destruction) multiplied by the number of tornadoes that afflicted each county. (0 represents no impact and the higher the negative number, the lower the impact.).
As can be seen, Massachusets had its fair share of tornadoes. In fact, several counties in the north east, including upstate New York have seen intense tornadoes in the last sixty years. Zoom in to view more details and match the color with the legend to the left. The most impacted area of the United States remain, however, the south-central region of the country.
You can also see the map of overtime tornado impact in 3d. Click “Earth” button in upper right corner of map.
The map of tornado overtime impact also reveals that the most affected areas are more likely to be in the Midwest and South than in the proverbial Kansas/Oklahoma tornado alley. 10 of the 20 most affected counties are in Southern states. Impact is a calculated score, as discussed above (Scale x fatality x area x number of tornadoes). “Destruction” = average square miles destroyed by tornadoes. Deaths, injuries, and scale reflect 60 year averages. Count represents how many tornadoes hit the county in the last sixty years. According to the the National Atlas data, Jefferson County, Alabama was visited by 70 tornadoes and Jones County, Mississippi was hit by tornadoes 49 times in sixty years.
Download the raw data for the tornado map. Includes ArcGIS compatible files and dbf tables for over 50,000 torando events. Also included are US county maps, and city/town locations.
Related articles from Zemanta blog network
- ‘Incredible surprise’: Tornadoes kill 4 in Mass. – msnbc.com (news.google.com)
- Tornado Damages Buildings in Springfield, Massachusetts (businessweek.com)
- ‘Incredible surprise’: Tornadoes kill 4 in Mass. (msnbc.msn.com)