Black Immigrant Daily News
Discussion surrounding climate change and how it is causing a number of mysterious weather development across the world continues to rage in all sectors of society.
Even on the small island of Jamaica weather experts have explained that climate change has caused spikes in temperature and even an increase in rainfall in a number of parishes, all of these developments have triggered moments of anxiety for many.
This was the case in the Corporate Area recently when a motorist spotted a mysterious weather system and became not only curious but concerned and as a result recorded a video and posted it on social media.
After watching the one-minute video a number of Jamaicans were left making a number of interesting claims.
“Was in a taxi when someone announce it over the radio, that if they look over Riverton side they see a tornado a form,” said one social media user.
“Here is something you don’t see every day,” another user posted.
“That’s not a tornado that’s a wind typhoon that actually turns into the form of a twister then forms into a tropical tornado get the information correct mi amigo and yes ur correct,” another user posted.
Weather experts reported that the Caribbean island of Cuba was in 2019 hit by a devastating category EF-4 tornado (the enhanced Fujita scale where the lowest rating is EF-0 and the highest rating is EF-5).
This tornado crossed through the capital city, Havana, with 300 km/h winds, leaving four people dead and 195 people injured.
That was the first time that something like this has happened in the Cuban capital’s nearly 500 years of existence, experts had reported at the time.
A report in the Havanna Times in Cuba explained that with a tornado of this nature hitting Havana, the question arises: are tornadoes moving to the warmer Caribbean area?
The answer is no; tornadoes are very rare in the Caribbean and in Cuba too, but they do happen, the report stated.
“There are slightly different conditions in Cuba than there are in the rest of the Caribbean because it is found on the northern border of this tropical area, an article in the media outlet stated.
In Cuba’s winter, cold winds come from the continent and conditions are created that are similar to those in the US, although a lot more tempered.
Which means to say that tornadoes form in Cuba during the time of year when there are conditions favorable to their creation, which rarely happens, like the formation of extratropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico and cold fronts that move towards western Cuba.
If before this happens, a flow of damp and warm Caribbean air comes, with the great instability needed to form a tornado, then something similar to what happens in the US Midwest takes place, where the flow of damp and warm wind comes from the Gulf of Mexico and meets with the winter climate further up north.
The situation above is what has led to tornadoes forming occasionally in western Cuba.
The only tornado known in Cuba to hit the island with the same devastating force as Sunday’s Havana Tornado was the one that hit on December 26, 1940 in the town of Bejucal, 20 kms away from Havana. The town was destroyed and 13 people died. On March 16, 1983 seven tornadoes formed in Mariel at the same time resulting in several deaths. But, they always occur because of the same reason: extratropical storms in low latitudes, cold winds and warm and damp air from the Caribbean.
However, this bears no relation to other Caribbean islands, as they are located further to the East and these strictly winter climates that affect western Cuba (because of its proximity to the mainland) don’t reach them.
Yet, tornadoes do form on other Caribbean islands, although they are formed under different conditions, and are also very rare.
These tornadoes form as part of electrical storms on summer afternoons, as a result of heating during the day. This especially happens in the larger Antilles islands, such as Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Jamaica.
The large land mass provides a surface that heats up a great deal during the day, especially plainlands. The morning is normally sunny and then clouds begin to form after noon because surface air heats up and rises until it reaches great heights and can result in an electrical storm. These conditions can be heightened under the influence of a tropical wave or a tropical hurricane.
For example, in certain conditions, a very cold wind (temperature between -5 to -10 degrees centigrade, or lower) in places approximately 6 km above sea level, and weak winds 10-12 km high, create great instability, and the storm becomes a severe local storm and as well as heavy rains that are short-lived, there are strong winds, hail and sometimes also… tornadoes.
The formation of this kind of tornado is even more rare on smaller islands with smaller land masses, such as those in the eastern Caribbean, but there you can find the strange phenomena of waterspouts, which are very similar to tornadoes on land, but they form out at sea, are weaker and sometimes break on land, resulting in damage.