Students Unaffected by Storm
The worst wind storm since 1978 tore through the Midwestern and Southern United States over the past two days, but students from the region said that their families were only minimally affected.
Winds—which reached up to 81 miles per hour—severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes were among the natural disasters that ripped through the region, leading to power outages and flight cancellations.
According to Indiana resident Daniel E. Golliher ’14, thousands in his home state lost power, “but losing power is common,” he said.
Lynelle T. Chen ’14, who spoke to her sister about the storm, said that “in Indianapolis, it wasn’t that bad. There were warnings, and there was some flooding, but it wasn’t that bad.”
Although tornadoes frequently occur in the southern Plains and have earned the region the title of “Tornado Alley,” yesterday’s tornadoes hit further north than they usually do.
Meteorology Professor Brian F. Farrell said that the storm was a “rare combination of upper and lower atmosphere disturbances [that] combined much like the famous ‘Perfect Storm.’”
Wind storms are caused by an area of warm, moist air that moves over a cold front; the difference in the low air pressure and high air pressure creates strong winds and leads to the formation of storm clouds.
The air pressure reading taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was among the lowest ever for a non-tropical storm in the 48 states.
Farrell said that the barometer, an instrument that measures air pressure, read 28.2 inches of mercury, making the storm equivalent to a category 3 hurricane.
But the winds in yesterday’s storm were weaker than those of a hurricane, which can reach up to 130 miles per hour.
Though the wind storm did not lead to any recorded deaths, it will go down in the record books as “one of the most intense ever recorded” in the history of mainland United States, Farrell said.