It’s true that hurricanes can be predicted and watched as they form and grow. Their path is monitored, and the direct path and place of landfall can be fairly accurately predicted. It would seem then, that people should have more time to protect themselves from these killer storms. The danger of the hurricane comes from the fact that, when it arrives, it is likely to last for days, while the tornado may be over in a matter of minutes.
Both hurricanes and tornadoes are deadly forces of nature. Both destroy property, change the landscape, and take lives. However, a hurricane has the potential to impact more people when it arrives. By virtue of its overall size, the length of time it remains in an area, the population of the areas it covers, and the after effects, this storm is more likely to take a higher toll in lives.
The loss of life with hurricanes, is potentially greater due to the fact that coastal areas are, for the most part, congested. Towns, cities, resorts, and vacation homes, occupy most of this waterfront zone. Fishing boats, recreational boats and other water vehicles may also be affected. In less developed countries, the population may be just as great, coupled with the fact that housing is not strong enough to withstand the force of the wind, and warning systems are often not available.
Tornadoes are storms that often strike in less populated areas, open fields, farmlands, and small towns. Overall, they pack higher intensity winds, often over 300 mph. But, while just as deadly, they have a tendency to hit and skip, and may not maintain a hurricane style course.
The hurricane may reach land as a massive storm, covering hundreds of square miles. Its winds can reach well over 150 mph, and if the wind isn’t damaging enough, storm surge, torrential rains and tornados are spawned by the hurricane, further devastating the area and putting even more lives in danger. A tornado is a brief storm in comparison. It can pack the same wind velocities, and much higher, but, while just as deadly at the moment, seldom includes massive amounts of rainfall and life threatening after effects.
Both of these storms have taken their toll in lives over the years, and both are frightening and dangerous. If you live in the Midwest, and have had experience with tornadoes, then you know that they are capable of completely wiping a community from the map within minutes, and with very little warning. Overall, however, historically, a hurricane may well cause thousands of deaths since it affects more territory, and involves more potential dangers.