Deadly Mississippi Tornado: Not Climate Change

No, the deadly Mississippi tornado that tragically claimed the lives of 25 people was not caused, or enhanced, by global warming or climate change.

I’ll put on my American Meteorological Society cap for a moment…

The powerful tornado was somewhat typical of winter twisters, which are not uncommon in the deep south. It hit western Mississippi Friday night after it formed over the Mississippi river, and then travelled about 60 miles into Rolling Fork. The base of the twister had a width of three-quarters of a mile, and lasted about an hour and 10 minutes.

Preliminary findings have registered the tornado a 4 on the scale known as the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, meaning it had gusts, lasting at least 3-seconds, from 166 to 200 mph.

The tornado developed from a huge thunderstorm, often called a supercell, which can spawn some fiendish twisters. Such tornadoes are not as frequent as their summer cousins, but they can be particularly destructive. The tornado ascended and then hit ground again about 76 miles away, near Black Hawk, Mississippi, where it was downgraded to an EF-3.

Mississippi has actually had some bigger and deadlier storms than this, including a couple of EF-5’s.  Back in 1971, two EF-4 tornadoes hit on February 21, 1971. One claimed the lives of 58, and injured 795 people. The second storm took 46 lives, and injured 496.

Oh, and by the way, back in 1971 some were saying the earth had entered a period of global cooling.

“Lord, we pray for the people of Mississippi. May you comfort their losses, strengthen their faith, and remind them that You give life, and life eternal.”

Brian Sussman

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