Black Friday: Tornado in Canada

"The roof was caving in and I thought I was going to die. It was like
your worst nightmare!" said Mary Grandish. Most people think they will die when
they see,or hear of a tornado heading their way.
Although all the details of the formation of a tornado are not yet
understood, it is known that tornados are the result of great instability in the
atmosphere and often appear during severe thunderstorms (see appendix #1 for a
scientific explaination on how it really starts). Strong updrafts present in
severe thunderstorms result in a rotational momentum. Falling rain and/or snow
probably drags air from aloft when it comes falling down. The combination of
severe thunderstorms and sweltering heat are the breeding grounds for a
tornados\' formation. The first sign of a tornado is a strong dust whirlwind
along with a funnel growing from the storm cloud. A more organized funnel
descends farther from the cloud, sometimes even touching the ground. Funnel
winds generally move counterclockwise and the funnel can move slowly or at about
100/ft per second. Eventually the tornado becomes fragmented and dissipates
causing the end of the tornado.
Tornados are the cause of great destruction and devistation in the area
in which they occur. For example the Tri-State Tornado of 1925 occured in the
Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas States. This tornado was one of the largest
tornados recorded in history. It killed nearly 625 people. However, the
tornado which strikes closest to home has occured on what Canadians have come to
know as "BLACK FRIDAY".
The tornado of "Black Friday" touched down on July 31st, 1987 at 2:59 pm.
(See appendix #2 for the torndo path). (See appendix #\'s 4&5 for maps locating
the disaster sights). 27 people were killed; 25 people died during the tornado
and 2 died later in the hospital. Hundreds of other people were injured and
thousands were left homeless. Edmontonians faced a horrible natural phenomenon
which destroyed homes, farms, and businesses. (See appendix #3 for a picture of
what it looked like after the tornado struck up the street). More than 25 auto
dealers faced a loss of more than $100,000 worth of cars, which were struck by
hail measurihg at up to 10 inches in circumference. Not only were auto dealers\'
cars affected, but many other privately owned cars were damaged to varying
degrees. The Kennedale storm sewer overloaded and outfall collapsed, which
caused many people to call in complaining of flooded basements. Damage
estimites were listed at between $150-$300 million dollars. $20 million dollars
damage was done to Evergreen Mobile Home Trailer Park; $50-$70 million dollars
damage to residential areas across the Millwoods and Clareview areas; $6-$8
million dollars damage to the Transalta Utilities power equipment consisted of:

49 - 240,000 volt double circuit steel towers
17 - 138,000 volt double circuit steel towers
134 - 138,000 volt single circuit wooden structures

Although there is no way to stop a tornado, there is a way to prevent
death and limit personal loss. People should get into the lowest level in their
home, apartment, or trailer. The reason for this is that if you go into your
basement when the tornado hits you will have less of a chance of getting sucked
up into it. People should tune into all radio, T.V. and other forms of
communication to recieve warnings of the tornado and its movements so people can
be prepared and take cover until it passes. We should ensure that all the
schools and community buildings are open for people to seek shelter if they are
caught out of doors when the tornado threatens.
Tornados affect tens of thousands of people and cause wide spread
destruction to any thing they come in contact with. "Black Friday" will be
remembered in the hearts and minds of most Edmontonians as the greatest, tragic
event ever to occur locally. The power of nature continues to astound us and
makes us aware of how fragile mankinds existance really is.

Category: Social Issues