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Old 13-06-2018, 18:27   #1
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Need Info regarding Tornados

We are looking to buy a liveaboard, we would like to be able to cruise the Mississippi, but are concerned about tornadoes, is there places in that part of the country that are safer than other and less likely to get serious damage to your boat I know this sounds paranoid but we are from the pacific NW and not had to deal with this worry before
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Old 13-06-2018, 18:46   #2
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

asteria,

I haven't done this, but you might try googling on Tornado Paths since 2008 or some such, and see if you can find charts that shows the areas, months, and paths. You might be able to go far enough north to avoid the tornadoes.

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Old 13-06-2018, 19:10   #3
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Need Info regarding Tornados

Being struck by a tornado is very much less likely than being struck by lightning.
I have a video of a waterspout around somewhere when we were out on our little Dive Boat.
Iím sure it happens, but I have never heard of a boat being struck.

Our town, Albany Ga got hit last year by its first tornado in decades, since I think 1940.
It was in December, which is a month that tornadoes just donít occur in.
https://weather.com/storms/tornado/n...s-january-2017
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Old 13-06-2018, 21:30   #4
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

Even having grown up on and around the Mississippi River, I would have never associated tornados with it, but if you google "Mississippi River Tornados" turns out there have been some devastating ones along the river.

Even one in my home town (...but a bit before my time), in which boats were sunk:

http://andspeakingofwhich.blogspot.c...z-tornado.html

So, while this proves you are not totally paranoid, your risk is still very low. With today's forecasting technology you should at least have warning when conditions are favorable for formation.
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Old 14-06-2018, 08:37   #5
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
With today's forecasting technology you should at least have warning when conditions are favorable for formation.
You may get a watch (Favorable Conditions) an hour or more in advance, for all the good that does. Usually the entire area will be under a watch. By the time you get a warning (Actual Tornado) there is typically just a few minutes.


BTW: Very few buildings will survive a direct strike. The idea of a cellar or interior room is to avoid the flying debris. If you are concerned about tornadoes, try to find a marina or other area with a sturdy building with a basement. Also ask if it is unlocked at night. (We lived in an apartment complex in Jackson MS with an underground gym that was to be used as a shelter, but it was locked when the staff went home....)
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Old 14-06-2018, 09:27   #6
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

Never thought of a battery power angle grinder as tornado preparedness gear either...open locked doors fast! 🤣

I once spent some rather tense moments in the basement of a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska when a big tornado touched down nearby. Awesome forces of nature.
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Old 14-06-2018, 09:44   #7
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

While there IS an area referred to as "tornado alley" I really don't think it is that big of a deal if you are cruising thru the area. All things considered tornados are kind of a infrequent thing.
Good old fashioned summer thunder storms, are a frequent thing and some do actually develop into tornados of some sort.
Their is a line sort of along Interstate 20 where the northern cooler fronts seem to bump into the warm moist fronts from the south and it can get really interesting on many summer afternoons/evenings. The same line that produces some interesting ice storms in the colder months.
I have seem more "water spouts" which are tornados over the water, along the Gulf Coast of Florida than I have personally seen tornados over land.
Somewhere, I have a photo of 3 (three) Water Spouts headed towards/thru Boca Grande Pass near Charlotte Harbor Florida.
I have also seen a Water Spout travel up the Caloosahatchee River in Ft.Meyers/Cape Coral area, all without damage, though a friend was motoring on the river in a Macgregor 22, and got ruffed up a little....mostly scared.
IMHO the challenge of learning the River Navigation Rules that are specific to the Mississippi River System, dodging barges going down stream nearly out of control, rapidly changing water levels, and weird currents, AND the huge amount of junk that is floating down the river, especially after hard rains, long stretches with no fuel availability, are more important than being concerned about tornadoes.
Yes.....they DO happen, but I also see where there was one in Wilkes Barre PA yesterday so go figure.
ENJOY!
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Old 14-06-2018, 14:10   #8
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

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Originally Posted by scottydaum View Post
...

I have seem more "water spouts" which are tornados over the water, along the Gulf Coast of Florida than I have personally seen tornados over land.
Somewhere, I have a photo of 3 (three) Water Spouts headed towards/thru Boca Grande Pass near Charlotte Harbor Florida.
I have also seen a Water Spout travel up the Caloosahatchee River in Ft.Meyers/Cape Coral area, all without damage, though a friend was motoring on the river in a Macgregor 22, and got ruffed up a little....mostly scared.

...
I caught a pic of two at the same time off Belize, there were up to 3.

Had friends hit by a water spout while at anchor. They were in a mono. A near knock-down, but no real harm done.

However, I dont think water spouts have anywhere near the force of fully developed tornados ashore.Click image for larger version

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Old 14-06-2018, 14:21   #9
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

Good graphic showing tornado activity. The Mississippi River is definately in the thick of it. Interestingly though "tornado alley" is W of the Mississippi.Click image for larger version

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Old 14-06-2018, 15:01   #10
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

Seriously, you probably have a better chance of hitting the Powerball jackpot than getting hit by a tornado even if your boat were smack dab in the middle of "Tornado Alley".

I lived in the Mid-West 40 of my 60 years, and the closest a Tornado came to me was about 2 miles. I'll bet there's thousands of people that have lived there all their lives and can't say even that.

Make sure the boat insurance is paid up (which you should do in any case), and if you're really, really worried, make sure you have access to a basement shelter near where you're docking your boat, in case a Tornado Watch or Warning is issued.
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Old 14-06-2018, 15:08   #11
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

One thing you have to remember about tornadoes is that they are VERY localized. This isn't like a hurricane where high winds cover large areas and last for many hours. They are usually very small in diameter (often 50 yards or less) and they have to be on the ground to do real damage. They rarely stay on the ground for more that a few hundred yards. I grew up in southern MN and my parents moved to Nebraska. I have seen many tornadoes and one touched down in the middle of our farm buildings while I was home. I saw it coming and got my little brother and sister into the basement in time. It blew up the corn crib but didn't even take shingles off any other buildings. Many times you can watch them come out of a cloud and they may not be real obvious until they touch down and suck up a bunch of dirt/trash. Several tornadoes touched down near Laramie Wy last week. I went out and watched the cells as they moved North of our cabin. I called my friends that lived NE of our place and told them that a really ugly cloud was moving their way. I watched the area of the wall cloud where a tornado would be likely to come out of the cell for over a half an hour but never saw any rotation. My neighbors 3/4 mile NE of our place got a picture of a tornado N of their place. For all that activity (Laramie made the national news for more than 7 tornados sited) there were no injuries reported and one garage was damaged.

They are to be respected but the odds of needing to take shelter in any given summer is very slim. The odds of incurring actual damage or injury is really astronomical .
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Old 14-06-2018, 18:19   #12
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

Not paranoid - just cautious.

Here's a map and story: Where Tornadoes Strike The US Most Often - Business Insider. The map is a 20 year average.

One other weather phenomenon you didn't get much of in the PNW is thunderstorms. I suggest giving thought to your lightning suppression strategy. Here's another map: http://lightningsafety.com/nlsi_info..._Lightning.pdf

The two sorta go together, and your chances of sustaining lightning damage or injury are IMHO greater than getting hit by a tornado.

I worked as a broadcast engineer in Nebraska where our tower was the highest point for a 100 mile radius. I have lots of respect for lightning.
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Old 15-06-2018, 05:51   #13
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

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Originally Posted by asteria76 View Post
We are looking to buy a liveaboard, we would like to be able to cruise the Mississippi, but are concerned about tornadoes, is there places in that part of the country that are safer than other and less likely to get serious damage to your boat I know this sounds paranoid but we are from the pacific NW and not had to deal with this worry before
Your concern is valid. We have lived in the south end of Tornado Alley for eons and, while younger, were storm spotters for the Weather service. Training, etc provided by them to learn what to look for. Every spring (or late winter) the NWS puts on free training. It's worth the 4 hours or so to learn about severe weather.

As others have noted, tornados are extremely localized events and the odds of being hit by one are incredible small. The bigger danger to a cruiser is the downdrafts, hail and lightning that come from thunderstorms. I have seen RVs with fist-sized holes in them from hail. In one neighborhood some people found hailstones on the floors of their houses after they tore through the roof.

That area roughly from just east of the Rockies eastward to the Appalachians is geologically and meteorologically perfect for producing severe thunderstorms. My advice is to get the storm spotter training so you can put your mind at ease and keep a supply of adult beverages to calm your nerves after you ride out those inevitable events. And carry good insurance.
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Old 15-06-2018, 11:34   #14
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

As Scotty mentioned, a tornado that is on the water, not on land, is a waterspout. So technically, a boat afloat can never be hit by a tornado. Only by waterspouts.

NOAA does issue warnings to mariners when waterspouts are spotted, but IIRC they tend to be rather small and concentrated when they are over the water, making it unlikely you'd get sucked in. And of course, being able to move gives you some chance to avoid them. Your odds of being knocked down by an ordinary squall line would probably be much higher.
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Old 15-06-2018, 13:10   #15
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Re: Need Info regarding Tornados

Thanks to all of you, It has given me a lot of information and food for thought, this process has become very confusing, every time I think I have found what we are looking for, there ends up a reason it can't be done, ie no liveaboards allowed in that area etc, but the look continues and thanks to you all we may actually find a new home
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