Interesting Facts about Tornado
What is a Tornado?A Tornado is a column of air violently rotating across the earth's surface. The column of air most frequently attached to a cloud or thunderstorm overhead, which then extends down to the ground. Tornadoes can form into any shape, but generally form the shape of a tunnel, narrow near the bottom and larger at the top.
What causes a Tornado?The most common cause of a tornado is from a thunderstorm. Tornadoes form when warm, moist air or air from a thunderstorm meets cooler, dry air creating an unstable atmosphere. After creating an unstable atmosphere, changes in wind direction and wind speed creates a spinning effect near the earth's surface, eventually forming a tunnel of wind that rapidly grows and violently rotates along the earth's surface, destroying homes and uprooting trees that are in it's path.
Where are they most likely to occur?Tornadoes are likely to occur anywhere in the world, but most tornadoes occur in "Tornado Alley," which stretches from Texas to Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas and into the Dakotas. The reasoning for "Tornado Alley," is because warm, moist air from the gulf of Mexico mixes with the cooler, dry air from the north creating dangerous tornadoes. Tornadoes can occur during any time of the year, but typically happen during the spring.
What to do in case of a Tornado-If you find yourself in danger of a tornado, it's important that you take shelter to protect yourself. The safest place to be in the case of a tornado is in the basement of your house or the building that you are in.
Do not go near the walls that face in the southern or western directions, this is generally the direction tornadoes move in. You should seek shelter under a stair case, inside a closet or under a heavy table. You should also use a heavy blanket or trash can for protection against debris.
You may also seek shelter in the bathtub, in many homes that have been destroyed by tornadoes, the bathtub plumbing is the only thing left standing. This is because the plumbing is anchored into the ground. If you driving near a tornado, you should leave your car and find shelter inside, you should not keep driving, you may not know what you may encounter on the road. It's also important to realize that a car cannot outrun a tornado.
15 Facts About Tornadoes
1. In order for a vortex to be classified as a tornado, the violently rotating column of air must be in contact with both the cloud above and the ground below.
2. Though tornadoes do occur on other continents, North America’s geography makes it more vulnerable to them. Bradley Smull, an atmospheric scientist at the National Science Foundation, explained yesterday in a Washington Post online chat: “In particular, the proximity of a major north-south mountain range…and the Gulf of Mexico…all in a latitude range frequented by strong upper-level jetstreams amounts to something of a “perfect storm” for severe (supercell-type) thunderstorm formation.”
3. Tornadoes are rated on the Enhanced F (EF) Scale (the old scale was called the Fujita (F) Scale), which assigns a number (0 to 5) based on estimates of 3-second wind gusts and damage. There have been more than 50 F5/EF5 tornadoes recorded in the United States since 1950.
4. Rain, wind, lightning and/or hail may accompany a tornado, but none of them is a reliable predictor of an oncoming tornado.
5. A tornado can last from a few seconds to more than an hour. On average, they persist for about 10 minutes.
6. It is a myth that a tornado cannot pass over features like valleys, mountains, lakes and rivers. When it passes over a lake or river, a tornado becomes a waterspout.
7. Tornado alley is the region in the middle of the United States where tornadoes are most frequent. However, every U.S. state and every continent (except Antarctica) has experienced a tornado.
8. A tornado watch means that conditions are ripe for a tornado; a warning means that a storm has been spotted on the ground or via radar (and you should take cover immediately).
9. Since the first tornado forecast was made in 1948, tornado warning lead times have been increasing and now average 13 minutes. However, they have a 70 percent false alarm rate, which may lead some people to take them less seriously than they should.
10. Mobile homes aren’t more likely to get hit by a tornado than any other type of building, but their flimsy structure provides little protection against strong winds and flying debris.
11. It’s also a bad idea to take shelter in a car—which can be easily tossed about—or under a bridge, where a person would be vulnerable to flying debris or a bridge collapse.
12. The single deadliest tornado killed 695 people in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana on March 18, 1925. The series of tornadoes that struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama and other Southern states in April 2011 set a new record. According to NOAA, there were 312 recorded tornadoes that touched down from 8 a.m. on April 27 through 8 a.m. on April 28. The death toll these storms was over 250 people, and did not break the 1925 record mentioned above.
13. A tornado that struck Washington, D.C. on August 25, 1814, is credited with driving the British invaders out of the city and preventing them from carrying out further destruction. They had burned the White House and much of the city the day before.
14. The city of Greensburg, Kansas was flattened by a tornado in 2007, but instead of abandoning the town, the people are rebuilding with an emphasis on green technology.
15. In 2009 and 2010, more than 100 scientists participated in VORTEX2 (funded by the National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), which set out to track tornadoes as they formed and moved across the landscape. The V2 researchers are trying to answer many basic questions about tornadoes, such as how, when and why they form, how strong the winds get near the ground, how they do damage, and how predictions can be improved. During the two years, they collected data from dozens of storms and tornadoes. In order for a vortex to be classified as a tornado, the violently rotating column of air must be in contact with both the cloud above and the ground below.
The Forbidden City
There are 9,999 rooms in this series of exquisite palaces inside the City. Nine is a lucky number for the Chinese. (Some books quote 8886 rooms — but this does not include antechambers.)
The walls are 32 feet high (10 meters). The surrounding drainage moat is 165 feet wide (50 meters). The main part of the city was constructed over 14 years (1407-1420) using 200,000 laborers. Building materials were shipped over thousands of miles from all parts of China using the network of canals constructed in the 6th and 7th centuries.
All of the buildings are made from painted wood. To deal with the fire risk, giant bronze cauldrons filled with water were placed at intervals throughout the Palace.
At the end of the 18th century approximately 9000 people lived within the Forbidden City, composed of guards, servants, eunuchs, concubines, civil servants and the Royal Family.
The inner sanctum rooms were forbidden to women except to the Empress on her wedding day.
The tradition of castrating male servants dates back over two thousand years. The Qing Dynasty started with 9000 eunuchs, reducing to about 1500 in 1908. Their testicles were mummified and stored in jars, to be buried with them after their death. Many eunuchs were harshly treated, or executed at whim. Corruption, power struggles and personal vendettas flourished.
Emperors were entitled to several wives and many concubines. (Qianlong had two official wives and 29 concubines). Concubines were well-educated women selected from the best Manchu families. Nightly, the Emperor would decide which concubine would visit him that evening. She would then be stripped, bathed and depilated before being carried to his chamber. The wife or a concubine that was chosen by the emporer was brought into his room naked all the way from her room. This was not done to make her horney bu8t to make sure that she is not carrying a weapon. The number of times a concubine was chosen secured her social standing.
Depending upon status, each rank would dine from "color-coded" plates, cups and bowls. Only the Emperor and Empress were entitled to use real gold or "radiant yellow" porcelain. Over 3000 pieces of gold and silver plate were held in Qing kitchens during the 18th century.
The Emperor's choice of successor was usually kept secret until after his death, when it was verified by bringing together a document held by the emperor with a document previously concealed in a sealed box.
Ministers and officials had to prostrate themselves on the floor before reporting to the Emperor.
No one was allowed to see the emporer's face in the whole dynesty except from a very few people. The panelty for seeing the emporer's face was none other than death.
The Supreme Harmony Hall of the Forbidden City was attacked by fire and struck by lightening many times.
There were alot of shemales in the Forbidden City who worked there. At one time there were 70,000 shemales in the forbidden city. They were not shemales naturally but males used to get themselves operated to live in the Forbidden City. Sometimes parents also turned their boy into a shemale by getting him operated without his consent. Though with the passage of time number of shemales kept on reducing and the last emporer had just 1500 of them in the Forbidden City.
Instead of jousting with lances, Chinese courtiers took part in the competitive sport of poetry composition.
Portraits have a special significance in China because of the widespread practice of ancestor worship.
"The Last Emperor", familiarly known as Puyi, succeeded to the throne when he was not even three years old. He was forced to abdicate in February 1912, but was held in the Forbidden City until 1924. During those years he had a British tutor, Reginald Johnston, who gave him his first bicycle.
Puyi once said that he was weeping when he first sat on that huge throne. People in his palace whispered that weeping is a bad omen and it proved to be a bad omen as he was forced to abdicate three years later. This ended the 2000 years old rule.
Puyi was imprisoned for a total of 15 years, first in Russia and then in China.
The forbidden city might have still been forbidden for the general public if the last emporer Puyi would not have planned to go back to the forbidden city. It was converted into The Palace Museum by the government to stop him from going back to the forbidden city.
The Palace Museum holds close to 50,000 items of paintings. Of these, more than 400 date from before the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). This is the largest such collection in China and includes some of the rarest and most valuable paintings in Chinese history.
The Palace Museum has one of the largest collections of mechanical timepieces of the 18th and 19th centuries in the world, with more than 1000 pieces.
The articrafts of the Palace Museum were moved away from the museum because of the Japanese invasion on China in 1933. Later they were restored to the Palace Museum and surprisingly it is claimed that none of the articrafts were lost or destroyed, though some of them are now in taiwan but not destroyed.(Some historians disagree with this and they are of the view that some articrafts were lost.)
The Palace Museum holds 340,000 pieces of ceramics and porcelain. These include imperial collections from the Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty, as well as pieces commissioned by the Palace, and, sometimes, by the Emperor personally. This collection is notable because it derives from the imperial collection, and thus represents the best of porcelain production in China. The Palace Museum holds about 320,000 pieces of porcelain from the imperial collection. The rest are almost all held in the National Palace Museum in Taipei and the Nanjing Museum.
The Palace Museum has one of the largest collections of mechanical timepieces of the 18th and 19th centuries in the world, with more than 1000 pieces. The collection contains both Chinese- and foreign-made pieces.
The first mechanical clock was brought to the Forbidden City by a priest in 1601.
The biggest time piece in the Palace Museum is more than 2 meters long.
9 Gigantic Hearts From AboveSo you've got some spare airmiles and want to impress on a date but you're struggling to think of a place to go which is unique and romantic at the same time. Well you can't go wrong with a visit to one of the many heart-shaped features of our planet. Heart-shaped forests, lakes, islands.... provided you can find the right vantage point when you arrive, these spots can't be beaten when it comes to romance.
1. Heart-Shaped Forest, Cantabria, Spain
2. Heart-Shaped Island, Gutierrez Lake, Patagonia
3. Heart-Shaped Wetland, Guandu Nature Park, Taiwan
4. Tavarua Island, Fiji
5. Galesnjak, Croatia
Another beautifully shaped island can be found just south of Zadar in Croatia. Called Galesnjak, this little gem measures just 1/2 kilometre at its widest point and must be reached by boat. See the island on Google Maps here.
6. Heart-Shaped Lake, Ohio
A perfectly heart-shaped lake can be found near Columbia Hills Corners in Ohio, but not much else is known about this curious feature. It seems to be part of a private residence. See the lake on Google Maps here.
7. Heart-Shaped Mangrove, Voh, New Caledonia
Probably the most well-known heart-shaped piece of land is this incredible mangrove in New Caledonia, made famous by aerial photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand and featured on the front cover of his book, Earth From Above. See the mangrove on Google Maps here.
8. Heart-Shaped Lake, Chembra, India
Itself a major tourist attraction, the lake near the top of Chembra Peak in India is said to have never dried up. Apparently over 150 people pass the lake every day during the 3km journey to the top. See the area on Google Maps here.
9. Heart Reef, Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays
Heart Reef is a naturally formed, heart-shaped collection of coral in Australia. Obviously the reef can only be appreciated from the air, but the view is definitely worth the cost. See the area on Google Maps here.