Both tornadoes and hurricanes are awesome displays of nature’s power that should be understood in an effort to protect lives. While they both have the potential to cause catastrophic damage, a tornado is more deadly for a few reasons.
First, lets look at hurricanes. They are massive tropical low pressure systems that have the power to produce winds in excess of 150 MPH, and drop rainfall on the order of feet in a short period of time. Coupled with a devastating storm surge, hurricanes are extremely destructive. The area affected by a hurricane is extremely widespread. Many people are killed from these storms because an amazing number of people are in the path. The most devastating result of a hurricane is the damage it occurs. Hurricane damage costs billions to repair. Flooding and winds tear homes apart and leave whole cities underwater. Anyone caught in the path of a hurricane, especially one of greater magnitude, stand a considerable chance of being injured or killed. With that being said, hurricanes offer a benefit. Their massive size and slow formation process allow for early detection. With advances in satellite imagery, tropical depressions can be spotted weeks before they threaten populated areas. Professional meteorologists are able to produce warnings well in advance, giving people ample time to evacuate and prepare. Any casualty that results from a hurricane is usually a consequence of the victims’ lack of adherence to warnings. Only property should be claimed by these tropical monsters. And the destruction of a house does not mean something is deadly.
Now a look at tornadoes. Yes tornadoes are MUCH smaller in size, and so is the affected area. However, if a tornado hits a house, it’s gone. There’s no what if involved. It’s a simple physics problem. If two storms with high amounts of energy are present, the one affecting the lesser area will deliver more force per area. If a person is exposed to the fury of a tornado with winds approaching 300 MPH, they stand little chance. There is also the element of surprise. While conditions favoring tornadoes can be detected, tornadoes themselves form fairly quickly. Then there is the problem of determining the path and strength of the twister. There is very little time to make a decision and warn those who could be caught in the path. It is this reason that makes tornadoes deadlier. While the odds of one hitting your house are slim, if it does happen the odds are now against your survival. Also, tornadoes usually occur in clusters from the same thunder cells. This makes the task of forcasting even more difficult.
The element of surprise, awesome power, and unpredictable lifespan of tornadoes make them extremely dangerous. While a hurricane is bigger, the damage is more spread out and there is a good chance of survival due to early warnings. When either of these storms threaten your area, take immediate precautions, whether it’s listening to evacuation orders, or seeking immediate shelter.