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FEATURE

Tornado Victims Struggle to Cope with Damage





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Mayor Walter Maddox of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, describes the deaths, destruction and injuries following the direct hit on the north side of their city during last Wednesday's swarm of tornadoes across the Southeastern United States.


Tuscaloosa lost a 5.9 mile stretch of their city of 100,000. They lost their city services. President Obama arrived today. He expressed his heartbreak at the loss of life and pledged emergency funds, full support with FEMA, and ways to coordinate through HUD to rebuild.

Officials are calling the tornado swarm to hit the Southeast, US, the 'worst national disaster since Katrina.' Jack Hayes, the director of the National Weather Service is not calling this climate change. He cited prolonged flow of more humid air from the Gulf with a strong Jet Stream from Canada. Heated air was the triggering catalyst.

Massive tornadoes hit populated cities head-on. Forecasters had warned of an "insane" storm system for days, so it's unlikely that the tornadoes caught many by surprise. But with few basements in Dixie Alley, not many places were safe in the paths of tornadoes that had nearly 200-mph (322-kph) winds. Even solidly built houses were swept away. Many entire neighborhoods were completely obliterated.

Though rare, extreme tornadoes have touched down in the southeast in the past. Hayes could not rule out climate change as a factor in the severity or sheer number of tornadoes. April has been one of the worst for tornado deaths in U.S. history. The deciding factor will have to be established over a period of years (climate vs. weather patterns) to determine if the warming of the climate was the catalyst in this extreme event and whether they will continue to grow in frequency.

Some of the storms were a mile wide with wind speeds for over 200 miles per hour (EF5). The people of the Southeast don't have to wonder whether the climate has become unstable. They are at effect of it. Whether it will continue, their need is now. Red Cross Link.

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