2 Kentucky Tornadoes Outline Domonique Anderson American Public University ERSC 180 Prof.


Kentucky Tornadoes Outline

Domonique Anderson

American Public University

ERSC 180

Prof. Michael Simpson


Kentucky Tornadoes Outline


The paper seeks to evaluate the management policies in the disastrous Western Kentucky tornado.

The tornado occurred on 10th December 2021.

A heavy storm moved across the central US, resulting in intense weather.

The storm occurred in areas such as Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Missouri.

Currently, there are approximately 66 tornadoes identified by the National Weather Service (NWS).

It moved at a speed of 160 miles per hour (National Weather Service, 2021).

This led to grievous impacts in Kentucky, such as:

Damage to a factory situated in Mayfield.

It also led to damage to people’s homes and roads.

Many individuals lost their lives:

Approximately 57 people were killed, and about 508-533 were injured.

Studying about the tornado helps to draft effective emergency preparedness, recovery, and response actions such as training, planning, and preparing the necessary equipment.

It further aids in understanding how tornadoes form and enhance their speculation and warning to save people’s lives.


Weather Events

During the event, a long-trailed tornado moved over the Western part of Kentucky, which led to thunderstorms.

2 thunderstorms progressed over a hundred miles each (National Weather Service, 2021).

They created tornados along the way before vanishing after dark.

The identified storms moved from Arkansas, progressing towards the Great Lakes.

Eight states reported a tornado during its occurrence to the NWS.

In addition, there were damaging winds across the region.


A tornado happens in a place that favors an occurrence of a thunderstorm.

For a thunderstorm to develop, three conditions are involved:

A mass of unsteady air.

The force to circulate the cold and hot air.

Moisture in the airspace.

Surface heating is among the primary factors that can lead to its occurrence.

The vital conditions for the storm are the presence of dry and cool air at the tropopause covering the moist unsteady air on the earth’s surface.

The wobbling air is caused by cold air in the upper atmosphere and warm air in the bottommost atmosphere.

The rising of unsteady air leads to the liquefaction of water vapor, releasing heat warming the water, and accelerating its rise.

O’Hare et al. (2013) pointed out that the contraction of energy responses between the sea and the land and the solar radiations results in differential heating.

The turbulence creates massive clouds often related to tornadoes and thunderstorms.

Front convergence.

A thunderstorm occurs in the boundary between air masses that have distinct temperatures.

The dense cold air displaces their warm aid, making it rise.

High moisture and temperature difference on the front creates instability in the atmosphere.

It creates the possibility of having an intense tornado.

Tornadoes develop when intense warm air spins into a whirling air column.

Wind Shear

When the wind changes speed and direction, it can develop serious thunderstorms, producing tornadoes.

The vertical wind speed creates a spinning impact on the atmosphere.

The effects make a thunderstorm spin when leaned upward by warm air.

The integration of shear direction and speed generates supercells. It is a thunderstorm attributed to a deep and spinning current.

Supercells facilitate the development of tornadic activities.

Societal impacts

The tornadoes facilitated negative short- and long-term effects on the Kentuckians. Some of the short-term effects include:

Death tolls

There were 78 individuals confirmed dead from the incident and 12 of whom were children. The deaths included a child aged two months and a senior citizen aged 98 years.

Choi and Wehde (2020) assert that disasters in a region cause serious damage to people’s lives and their properties. Coordinating with the authorities can help alleviate the associated risks.

Buildings and homes were destroyed.

Approximately 75 percent of homes were confirmed to be destroyed by the tornado.

Also, businesses and worshipping places were destroyed.

For example, in Mayfield, homes and shops that had been there for around 100 years were destroyed (Collins et al., 2021).

People with no power.

Approximately 3 280 individuals were left without power. About 2 000 of the people could not be restored for weeks. Most of the individuals resided at Dawson Springs and Mayfield, the places most struck.

The long-term impacts include:

Economic impacts

The destruction of agricultural farms facilitated increases in food prices in the region. The agricultural minister indicated that food prices started to rise even before the event occurred.

Two poultry incubators that were distributed to approximately 200 producers were damaged. Also, around thirty chicken houses were destroyed completely (Patton, 2021).

Also, grains such as wheat, corn, and soybeans were destroyed.

In addition, many cattle were killed, and others went missing. The research center in the region where farmers could go for research was also damaged.


Over 600 individuals were left without homes, while some lived at the seven state parks.

The people depend on well-wishers for donations and help.

Weather readiness:

People should be safe from similar tornadoes by preparing with items such as:

Having weather applications and battery-functioning radios to keep updated with the current weather emergencies in their regions.

Emergency plans include having safety shelters for themselves, their families, pets, and people with special needs.

Possess emergency kits like long-term foods, water, and medications.

They should have emergency numbers and know whom to contact in case an emergency occurs.

Tornadoes are among the disastrous hazards in the US (Hansen et al., 2022). It is, therefore, imperative for citizens to remain prepared for any occurrence.

The local authorities should educate the communities on the need to remain prepared. They should help people differentiate between a tornado warning and a watch.

Creating a tornado response team.

The government should be responsible for saving lives in an emergency.

Alkema (2018) notes that knowledge about a disaster would occur, making it more essential to effectively and adequately manage disasters.

It should create a team responsible for responding to a tornado and adequately train them to search and save missions. Alkema (2018) pointed out that disaster response is critical in providing humanitarian relief.

The local governments should hold tornado coaching and training conferences for the community. People of all ages need to know what to do in case such an event strikes.

Building infrastructures that are resistant to tornadoes:

The building should withstand intense tornado forces.

Creating shelters that can be accessed easily in case a tornado strikes.

When caught by a tornado, it can ensure the safety of all people, such as the elderly and students.

The government should store its data in its cloud.

Data is a critical element in planning a quick response during an emergency.

On-site servers can easily be destroyed and lost permanently.


Tornadoes are adverse realities that upend a society within a short time, such as the tornado in Kentucky.

The tornado occurred on 10th December 2021, leading to the loss of lives and the destruction of properties.

It further resulted in agricultural losses and the death and disappearance of animals.

In the future, state governments should plan ahead on ways to control and respond to emergencies that will positively affect people’s safety.

They should encourage their communities to create safety plans such as evacuations, recognizing tornado alerts, and developing emergency kits.

Learning about tornadoes helps to understand how, when, and why they occur, their impacts, and mitigation strategies.


Alkema, V. (2018). Increasing situational awareness in the golden period of the response phase of sudden-onset disasters by mapping community reachability. Delft University of Technology.

Choi, J., & Wehde, W. (2020). Trust in emergency management authorities and individual emergency preparedness for tornadoes. Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy, 11(1), 12–34. https://doi.org/10.1002/rhc3.12185

Collins, K., Williams, J., & Lu, D. (2021, December 17). Before and after the tornado: Devastation in a historic neighborhood. The New York Times – Breaking News, US News, World News, and Videos. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/12/15/us/mayfield-kentucky-tornado-damage.html

Hansen, N., Lorentzen, S., Widell, S., & Janicke, S. (2022). Tornado visualizer: Analyzing the destructive impact of tornadoes in the United States. Visualization in Environmental Sciences, 11-17. https://doi.org/10.2312/envirvis.20221054

National Weather Service. (2021). Dec 10-11 2021 tornado event. https://www.weather.gov/pah/December-10th-11th-2021-Tornado

O’Hare, G., Sweeney, J., & Wilby, R. (2013). Weather, climate and climate change: Human perspectives. Routledge.

Patton, J. (2021). Kentucky tornadoes: Could shoppers feel the impact on prices at the grocery store? Lexington Herald-Leader. https://www.kentucky.com/news/state/kentucky/article256625131.html