Tornadoes touched down Sunday in three U.S. states -- Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa -- according to CNN, which cited multiple National Weather Service advisories. Twitter has been buzzing about the twisters that are supposedly moving at 30 mph, ravaging homes and destroying trees in Kansas and Oklahoma.
“It’s tearing up everything,” a pilot in a video produced by CNN affiliate KFOR said about a tornado in Wellston, Okla. “Just ripping everything up in its sight.” The pilot estimated the funnel cloud to be about a half-mile wide.
“Mobile homes will be heavily damaged or destroyed. Significant damage to roofs, windows and vehicles will occur. Flying debris will be deadly to people and animals. Extensive tree damage is likely,” the National Weather Service in Wichita, Kan., wrote when issuing its tornado warning at 7:57 p.m. CDT (8:57 p.m. EDT).
In addition to being blasted by high winds, areas in the Midwestern states are being pelted with hail. “Overall, the threat is similar for the region: strong supercells that will have the capability to produce hail baseball-size or larger, strong wind gusts and tornadoes,” CNN meteorologist Melissa Le Fevre said. “It will ultimately depends on how warm the region gets today.”
Supercell thunderstorms are dangerous storms that could last for hours. “They are responsible for nearly all of the significant tornadoes produced in the U.S. and for most of the hailstones larger than golf ball size,” according to the National Weather Service. “Supercells are also known to produce extreme winds and flash flooding.”
Warm temperatures are an aggravating factor, Le Fevre said. “Warmer temperatures allow for the air in the atmosphere to mix, which causes it to be unstable,” she said. “Sunny days are essentially more unstable, which allows thunderstorms to develop and become strong to severe.”
Check out the CNN footage of one of the twisters in Oklahoma below: