Mississippi Tornado: Why was it so destructive?


Cha Cha Chavez

        An unusual and powerful tornado in Mississippi has left storm chasers and meteorologists in shock at the sadness it has caused. Officials said that 25 people have been killed as a result of the storm. The tornado looked huge as it was headed for the small town of Rolling Fork, with some calling it a “wedge tornado”.

The National Weather Service estimates the storm lasted more than an hour. The NWS estimates the tornado, which began hitting western Mississippi on Friday night after it formed over the Mississippi river, travelled 59 miles (94 kilometres) with a width of three quarters of a mile, and lasted about an hour and 10 minutes.

        It developed from a supercell storm, a rotating storm where the updraft and the downdraft are separated. It is caused by warm, unstable air near the ground and changing speed and direction of the wind at increasing heights. These storms are some of the least common but among the most destructive, according to the NWS.