Tornado education courtesy of an ignorant American

5 Mar

The other day I made a stereotypically ignorant American comment.

“Is the US the only country that gets tornadoes?” I asked Stephen as we watched the BBC’s coverage of the recent devastation in Indiana. (Side note: Why is it we say “the BBC” (the British Broadcasting Corporation) but we would never say “I watched Dancing with the Stars on the ABC” (American Broadcasting Company)? /end side note)

“What? No!” Stephen replied. I asked him to name another country that experienced a tornado recently. He thought for awhile then settled on South Africa.

I was so intrigued by this thought that I’m actually researching it days later. You always hear about earthquakes and tsunamis across the world, but have you ever seen reports of a devastating tornado that wasn’t in the US? This could be because most of my news sources are US-centric, but I’ve become a regular BBC watcher (hmm no “the” necessary there) and can’t remember seeing any tornadoes in the UK or South Africa.

So I checked Wikipedia. Here’s what they say:

“Tornadoes have been observed on every continent except Antarctica. However, the vast majority of tornadoes in the world occur in the Tornado Alley region of the United States, although they can occur nearly anywhere in North America. They also occasionally occur in south-central and eastern Asia, the Philippines, south east Asia, like Malaysia, northern and east-central South America, Southern Africa, northwestern and southeast Europe, western and southeastern Australia, and New Zealand.”

There’s even a handy map!

So maybe my question wasn’t so stupid after all — it’s called Tornado Alley for a reason. But Wikipedia also says the UK experiences more tornadoes than any other European country. Hmm. There has been some serious wind going on all day today — my trolley full of food and a slow cooker that I felt compelled to buy because it was less than half price and I want to make ribs and soup almost went airborne on my walk back from the store today. The wind has also managed to work its way through the double pane windows, making my bedroom ridiculously cold and drafty now. (Fun fact: they spell it “draught” here. How do you get an “F” sound out of that? Phonics, you bugger.)

I can’t think of a proper way to end this random post, so here’s a photo of a panda riding a rocking horse:


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