News Stories

Sprawl Causes Storms

A city my be a world unto itself, but what happens if it is located in an area where it rains a lot? We assume that the rainy countryside surrounding some cities is that way because of where the areas are located. But there may be another factor: Sprawl.

Researchers think that a city's sprawl may have an influence on the amount of rain the area around it receives, which is consistently more rain than the urban center. As large urban areas continue to expand, they appear to influence tornadoes and other severe weather. Cities could be even more at risk if located in a region experiencing a wet fall or winter.

A study by climatologists Dev Niyogi and Marshall Shepherd found that drought in the fall and winter appears to decrease the number of spring and summer tornadoes in the US Southeast. It is possible that particularly wet fall and winter seasons may lead to more tornado activity. Does this mean that drought can sometimes be a GOOD thing? Phsyorg.com quotes Niyogi as saying, "As we become more urbanized, we will probably start to see tornadoes in more urban areas."

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Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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