Saturday, 6 June 2015

Severe damage to homes and businesses after tornado hits Hawthorne, Nevada.

Six homes and five businesses have reportedly suffered severe damage after a tornado touched down in the town of Hawthorne in Mineral County, Nevada, at about 3.15 pm local time on Friday 5 June 2015.  The storm created a trail of damage through the town about 30 m wide and 3 km in length, with most of the damage in the area where it first touched down. No-one was injured during the storm, but residents had to be temporarily evacuated from part of the town due to the hazard presented by downed power lines.

Damage to the Monarch Motel in Hawthorne, Nevada, following the 5 June 2015 tornado. Susan Frank Cooper/My News 4.

Damage caused to buildings over the first 500 m of the tornado's path has been estimated to be consistent with a tornado scoring an EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale; such a storm will produce windspeeds of 117-180 kilometers per hour, and is capable of peeling roofs off buildings, moving mobile homes off their foundations and even moving cars. The remainder of the storm's path is consistent with an EF-0 event, suggesting the storm lost energy as it passed over the town. An EF-0 tornado will produce winds of 64-116 kilometers per hour, causing minor damage to buildings, such as toppling chimneys and ripping off signs, and often pulling branches of trees.

Damage to a home in Hawthorne, Nevada, following the 5 June 2015 tornado. Susan Frank Cooper/My News 4.

Tornadoes are formed by winds within large thunder storms called super cells. Supercells are large masses of warm water-laden air formed by hot weather over the sea, when they encounter winds at high altitudes the air within them begins to rotate. The air pressure will drop within these zones of rotation, causing the air within them so rise, sucking the air beneath them up into the storm, this creates a zone of rotating rising air that appears to extend downwards as it grows; when it hits the ground it is called a tornado. 

The location of Hawthorne, Nevada. Google Maps.

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