Tornadoes
On May 30, 1879, Irving, Kansas experienced one of the most violent storms ever, in history, to cross the state. The horror from this tornado was one of the reasons that people started calling Kansas, "The Cyclone State". The list of fatalities and property damage for this particular tornado does not rank high statistically, but for this meagerly settled area, it does. Few, if any, of the people that were in the path of this tornado have ever seen anything more terrifying or more massive than this one. Irving was struck by two tornadoes, the second followed only a few minutes after the first. The first tornado was clearly visible, with its funnel shaped cloud, and struck at 5: 30 P.M. coming from the southwest. It rained destruction and killed several. The power, and force of this tornado was so tremendous that it lifted a large iron bridge, across the Blue River, off of its piers and abutments. It wrenched and contorted it until it could no longer be identified as once being a bridge. As this immense storm passed over the river it consumed such an enormous amount of water that the bed of the river was barren and naked for a substantial distance. The violent vortex then sprayed the water up over the tops of the tallest trees.
The people of Irving had just begun to emerge from their places of refuge and recover when the second tornado was hurled down upon them. Coming from the west, was a colossal, coal black cloud that seemed to cover the entire horizon. This massive cloud was two miles wide and almost completely perpendicular to the ground. Many of the people watching this cloud believed that "Judgment Day" was upon them. Many people then got down on their knees and prayed for forgiveness, and for their lives to be spared. With a bellow "like that of a thousand cannons" the cloud engulfed the meek, little town with malice. In the blink of an eye everything was annihilated, and people and animals experienced death in its most vile forms. All was gone, life, property, and happiness, all ravished and shattered by this tremendous force. The intensity and vigor of this tornado had accomplished what disease, famine, and accident had done in many, many years. People still left alive recollected the storm to say that "the air was filled with fumes like sulphurous smoke, the sky had a reddish tinge bordering on purple, and the ground was rocked as if by an earthquake".
The disturbance and horror of this tornado was not forgotten for years. Many people could not go to sleep at night for a good time after the storm. They sat by their windows watching and looking through the darkness, in fear, for a reappearance of another violent tornado to come their way ( Flora 103 ). As people can see, tornadoes are vicious storms and can cause trauma, and strike fear into their hearts.
Tornadoes are powerful forces created in nature that have always affected manís life, in one way or another. To thoroughly understand them, one needs to consider their causes, characteristics, effects, and the people who study them.
There are a variety of causes as to the makeup of tornadoes. In order to find these causes, it is essential to consider the atmosphere and the geography of the earth over given distances. David Etkin said "With global warming, our( Canada ) climate would become more like that of the United States, increasing warmth would create more unstable air masses, a precondition for the formation of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes" ( Lanken 24 ). The primary cause of all storms is the sun, unevenly dividing its rays of heat to different areas, not only over land , but water as well. Then, when cold air masses and warm hair masses clash, they often cause rain or snow, or are sometimes the cause of violent storms. This is when a tornado can develop. The movements of these air masses and cold fronts are major causes of tornadoes ( Flora 20 ). Tornadoes are also usually associated and connected , in some way, with thunderstorms and hail ( 186). Hurricanes are also causes of tornadoes. Hurricane Beulah was the