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At any single moment in the world, there are more than two thousand thunderstorms in progress, observes the National Severe Storms Laboratory. As many as 100,000 thunderstorms hit the United States each year, 10% of which are likely to be severe and hence deadly and catastrophic.
Worldwide, there are an estimated 16 million thunderstorms each year, and at any given moment, there are roughly 2,000 thunderstorms in progress. There are about 100,000 thunderstorms each year in the U.S. alone. About 10% of these reach severe levels. Thunderstorms refer to rain showers that are accompanied by thunder and lightning which occur as a result of convection, hence most likely to occur during the afternoon hours of spring and summer. For a thunderstorm to be labeled server, it has to have winds of up to 50 knots, points out (). In this essay, of interest shall be the thunderstorm that wrought havoc in the Wood Dale area of Chicago, Illinois on August 2nd, 2015.
The Wood Dale Thunderstorm
In the summer of 2015, the Wood Dale area of suburban Chicago witnessed a thunderstorm caused by a freak weather pattern. According to Toppo (2015), one person was killed, and scores of others sustained ranging degrees of injuries. The thunderstorm blew up tents in the air at the Lollapalooza Music Festival, uprooted roofs of houses and blew away anything else light enough that was not firmly rooted in the ground. Winds gushed at more than 30 knots, spraying the rain across the Chicago area and forcing residents to take cover in houses and enclosures for the better part of the afternoon.
Amidst the storm, local authorities took several precautions. For one, the attendees of the festival in Grant Park had to be evacuated around 3 pm notes Toppo (2015) to keep them safe. County sheriff’s deputies were seen grounding mobile homes to prevent them from being blown away, and the storm warning issued by the authorities strongly encouraged residents who did not have any pressing business to stay indoors until the storm passed. Roads that are prone to the effects of storms, such as falling trees, and other weather extremities were temporarily closed, and the police, aided by the fire department had to go on overdrive, redirecting traffic onto much safer roads. The fire department helped in the rescue and evacuation of those injured during the storm, some of whom had been trapped by tarps blown into the air, or hit by flying objects such as chairs and tables at the festival. Rescue and emergency teams also led festival goers to downtown streets where it would be safer in the garages around the festival venue where the police led them into. Organizers, in conjunction with the Sherriff’s Department, the police and emergency crews had to suspend the festival as more storms had been predicted for later in the evening, points out Toppo (2015).
Through the efforts of the local, state and federal government officials, law enforcement agencies and rescue services, the thunderstorm that hit Wood Dale had a minimum impact though one life was regrettably lost and about a dozen and a half injured in the weather extremity.
- National Severe Weather Laboratories (2017). Severe Weather 101: Thunderstorms. NSSL. Retrieved from http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/thunderstorms/ on 07/02/2017.
- Toppo, G. (2015). Thunderstorms Kill One, Wreak Havoc around Chicago. USA Today. Retrieved on 07/02/2017 from www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/08/02/chicago-thunderstorms-havoc/31031299