Tornadoes worldwide
Texas A&M University’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences

Q: You never hear much about tornadoes happening in other countries. Do they occur all over the world?

A: The answer is yes, said Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University.

“The reason you hear so much about tornadoes in the U.S. is because we have so many, by far the most in the world,” he pointed out. “Each year, there are about 1,200 tornadoes that form in the U.S., and a record 226 were reported recently in the Southeast in a 24-hour period alone. That compares with only about 80 per year in Canada and only about 20 per year in Australia.”

“There are documented reports of tornadoes occurring in every continent except Antarctica, he said. “Oddly, The Netherlands has the greatest incidence of tornadoes anywhere on Earth when you consider relative land size.”

Q: What are some other places in the world that have tornadoes?

A: There have been some strong tornadoes reported in South America, McRoberts added.

“In 1973 a tornado hit Argentina that killed 54 people and was unusually strong for that part of the world,” he reported. “Also that year, a tornado did some heavy damage in Brazil. A series of tornadoes hit Bangladesh, located near India, in 1996 that killed more than 600 people and injured 12,000. And Germany has reported more than 500 tornadoes since 1900.”

“There are probably more tornadoes worldwide than we know about because in many countries, the actual confirmation and reporting of a tornado tends to be very sketchy,” he concluded.

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2011-06-09 digital edition

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