10 Facts and Statistics on Extreme Weather We Guarantee You Didn’t Know

We all experience different weather conditions on a daily basis and in general, they are quite mild. But the weather is not always very predictable; some kinds of weather may be so severe and destructive. In this post, we take a look at 10 facts and statistics about extreme weather you probably didn’t know. Enjoy!

1. Tornadoes Are Generally Weak

Movies may have you believe that tornadoes reduce towns to nothing, but 76% are gale or moderate tornadoes, moving at speeds of 40 to 112 miles an hour on the Fujita Scale, the Tornado Project reports. They can break tree branches, overturn mobile homes, destroy chimneys, or push moving vehicles off the road.

On the other hand, are devastating and incredible tornadoes. Devastating tornadoes throw cars and flatten houses, while incredible tornadoes destroy steel-reinforced concrete and lift houses. These account for just 1% of tornadoes.

2. Lightning Can Reach You Even Indoors

Most people mistakenly assume that they’re safe once they get indoors. But lightning can reach you inside, and not only by setting your house ablaze (although that is an all too real danger). Windows and doors with metal frames, plumbing, cords, and telephone lines can all conduct electricity. Therefore, you should not touch your door and window frames, use a landline phone, take a shower, or use a computer until the storm is over.

3. St. Elmo’s fire

This is a phenomenon that happens when there’s a spark from a pointed or sharp object in a powerful electric field usually during a thunderstorm. As the electric field ionizes the air molecules, blue flame-like light is produced. The phenomenon can be spotted on tall pointed items like a ship’s mast or church steeple. However, it’s also been seen on the tips of horns in cattle and blades of grass. St. Elmo’s fire is often visible only in low light.

4. Getting Under an Overpass or in a Ditch can Be Dangerous During a Tornado

For ages, people have been told to get under an overpass or in a ditch if they’re caught driving in a tornado. However, these perceived tornado shelters  can actually be more dangerous than you thought. During a tornado, overpasses basically create tunnels that can significantly intensify tornado winds. Ditches usually fill with flung debris, water, and even downed electricity lines, making it an extremely risky place to stay.

Instead, if there’s no secure shelter nearby, it’s recommended that you remain in your vehicle with your seatbelt on and the engine running. Put your head below the window level, and cover it with your hands. You can also cover it with a blanket if you’ve got one.

5. Don’t Open Windows during a Tornado

If a tornado is coming your way, get away from your windows. For years, people have assumed that opening windows will prevent damaging, dangerous changes in pressure. This not only doesn’t help, but it leaves the inside of your house vulnerable to flying debris and dangerous winds. As a result, you may be left standing in an extremely dangerous place like a tornado approaches—near your windows!

Instead, get away from your windows and immediately look for shelter in an underground or interior room without windows.

6. America’s Dust Bowl (Black Sunday)

A dust storm that swept through several states in the US on April 14th 1935 was extremely severe that many individuals suffocated from the dust. The worst hit states were Oklahoma and Texas in an area known as America’s Dust Bowl. The storm was later named Black Sunday and had occurred due to a chain of events—high winds, drought, and over-cultivation that had left the land exposed. The giant dust cloud is estimated to have blown away 300 million tons of soil from the region.

7. Snowy Weather Facts

The largest snowflake on earth was 20 cm thick and 38 cm wide and was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records. The snowflake fell on 28th January 1887, at Fort Keogh, Montana, US.

With trees for arms and tyres for the mouth, the tallest snowman—“Angus”, was created by the people of Bethel, Maine, US. Measuring a staggering 34.63 meters, the snowman took two weeks to create and was finished on 17th February 1999.

The biggest snowfall recorded happened in 1972 on Mt Rainier, Washington, US. More than 30 meters fell in the winter.

8. Thunderstorm Facts

At any given time, approximately 2,000 thunderstorms occur all over the world.

The US experiences more than 100, 000 thunderstorms annually, with more than 16 million occurring all over the world each year.

About 10% of thunderstorms in the US are serious enough to create high winds, tornadoes, and flash floods. They cause about 700 injuries and 200 deaths every year.

Nine out of ten lightning bolts strike dry land instead of oceans.

A storm called John went on for 31 days. It was the longest recorded hurricane in the Pacific. As it twice crossed the dateline, the hurricane turned into a typhoon and then back to a hurricane.  The longest-lasting tropical storm in the Atlantic was “Ginger” in 1971. It spun around the ocean for 4 weeks.

9. Extreme Winter Weather Facts

To survive the biting Antarctic cold, emperor penguins notably huddle together. And the jackrabbit has big ears that help her keep cool in the heat of the desert.

But North America’s wood frog freezes during the winter! Despite its breathing and heart actually halting and the body temperature drops to 20 degrees, its blood contains lots of sugar and doesn’t freeze. This supports the frog’s cell structure so it’s able to recover from several freeze-thaw cycles each season.

10. One Weather Phenomenon with Three Names

Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are all one and the same thing.  The name of each event is determined by where it happens. Hurricanes occur in the North Pacific and Atlantic Oceans while typhoons take place in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. Cyclones occur only in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans.

These are 10 facts and stats about extreme weather you probably didn’t know. Now that you know, you can share them with your pals, but they could also help save your life.