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This image made from video provided by KWTV-KOTV shows two funnel clouds formed in Crescent, Okla., May 20, 2019. VOA

Hundreds of tornadoes and widespread floods have ravaged the U.S. Midwest and Great Plains states over the past couple of weeks. The flooding is breaking some weather records, and at least 38 people have been killed by tornadoes in the United States so far this year.

Blame climate change?

Scientists have been studying possible links between climate change and the frequency and ferocity of tornadoes.

Villanova University professor Stephen Strader says it is not yet clear how much influence the warming atmosphere and other changes have on these deadly storms.

In a VOA interview, the extreme weather scientist said, “We’re not there from a scientific standpoint, yet.” He said it does seem likely, but not certain, that we will see more severe weather of various kinds in the future.

Helen McKoy walks down a flooded street in her neighborhood as Florence continues to dump heavy rain in Fayetteville, N.C., Sept. 16, 2018. VOA


National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Andy Foster in Kansas City, Missouri, says there has been “major record flooding” across much of the central U.S.

He told VOA that heavy snow cover melted and combined with large amounts of rain from “multiple storm systems” saturated the ground and caused river flooding. Foster said when still more major storms brought “copious amounts” of rain, there was nowhere for the water to go, sparking flash floods in several states, inundating roads, towns and farmland.

Storms that led to flooding also included an unusual flurry of tornado activity.

Repair and cleaning efforts begin on a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and cutting off access to utilities, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. VOA


U.S. records show that destructive and deadly twisters are common during the spring months, particularly in an area called “Tornado Alley,” which covers several Midwestern states. The midsection of the United States is where cold air from the Rocky Mountains collides with warm, moist air flowing up from the Gulf of Mexico — prime conditions for tornadoes to form.

The mixture is part of the complex recipe for compact but powerful storms that tear roofs off buildings, toss huge trucks across farm fields, uproot trees and shred multistory brick buildings, all of which produce flying debris that can kill people.

Research scientist Harold Brooks says clusters of tornadoes occur every five or 10 years, but “the second half of May is going to go down as one of the busiest two-week periods on record.”

In a phone interview from the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, Brooks said the clearest trend in the data is not more or stronger tornadoes, but more days each year with multiple storms.

Villanova professor Strader said scientists currently have a hard time predicting tornadoes even “a few hours before the event,” so making projections about how many deadly storms may erupt years or decades from now is a daunting task.

Shaun Vaine, left, and Michele Thrash, right, stand in their destroyed home at the River’s Edge apartment complex, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. VOA

Saving lives

As the annual death toll from tornadoes dropped significantly from the 1920s to the 1990s, the value of predicting violent storms has become more apparent. Brooks and other experts say lives have been saved through better forecasting, improved building codes and more effective warnings.

Strader said those improvements “stalled out” in recent years, prompting officials to seek better ways to educate the public and communicate timely, effective warnings. He said some people stay in mobile homes and other vulnerable places even after they get warnings in time to move to shelter.

ALSO READ: Prime Farmland Across Midwest Continues to Struggle with Flooding and Weather Issues

As a start, weather experts are teaming up with social scientists to craft warnings that people will heed to find safety, either in a sturdy building or other safe place, Strader said.

“We’re bridging the physical science with social scientists to really look at what we can do to continue to solve this tornado issue,” he said. (VOA)


Photo by Martin de Arriba on Unsplash

Diwali is known for gifting and jewellery tops the list, with the focus on buying gold and diamonds.

Diwali is known for gifting and jewellery tops the list, with the focus on buying gold and diamonds. ORRA jewellery, a trusted diamond jewellery brand is gearing up for the festive and bridal season. As they open their 50th store in the country, IANSlife caught up with Dipu Mehta, Managing Director, ORRA, to find out how the company plans to ramp up its now 50 company-owned and operated stores, expanding its retail presence in Tier-1 and 2 cities and target the millennial segment.

Read Excerpts:

Q: The brand is expanding in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, is brick and mortar the way forward to create a presence in this segment?

A: ORRA currently is expanding in metros plus tier-2 cities. But we aren't opening stores in any new markets. We are only opening in markets where we are already present. We are increasing the number of stores within cities as the demand for jewellery buying has also increased. Currently, we are present in 25 cities with 50 stores, and by the end of the month, we would be launching another seven stores.
Also with a category like jewellery, it is important to have brick and mortar stores as the customers like to see and hold higher value jewellery before purchasing. Jewellery buying is an important decision to the customers and having a store gives them that assurance.

ORRA logo ORRA currently is expanding in metros plus tier-2 cities. | Wikimedia Commons

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Wikimedia Commons

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Even though sports betting has existed since the ancient era, it was not until recently that it became increasingly popular among the youth. This happened due to the legalization of the activity and the rise of online sports betting. The technological revolution has expanded the sports betting industry, offering the bettors new markets and ways to bet. The only major difference between online bookmarkers and traditional brick-and-mortar venues of sports betting is that now you can place bets online from your mobile devices, laptops, computers etc.

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